About ISR


Welcome to the Institute for Social Responsibility.

Established in 2013, as the Institute for Public Policy and Professional Practice, its remit has grown to critically examine broad conceptualisations of social responsibility across the social sciences, arts and humanities.

Edge Hill has a long tradition of breaking the mould, which goes back to the 19th Century when it was established as the first non-denominational teacher training institution for women. We are therefore steeped in a tradition which encourages critical thinking, collaboration between the worlds of practice and Higher Education.

ISR is committed to continuing this tradition through the ongoing development of a sustainable and vibrant research culture at Edge Hill University, acting as an inter-disciplinary, cross-departmental hub. This hub co-ordinates and supports research, bringing together academics, practitioners and the wider public through a range of seminars, workshops and lectures. ISR also promotes practitioner and community engagement through knowledge exchange and assesses the effectiveness of public policy through a dedicated evaluation unit.

We are all living and working in a time of transition and change. ISR provides a ‘home’ to those of you who want to reflect and to think strategically and differently about conceptualisations of social responsibility in our changing world. We look forward to working with you.

Professor Jo Crotty
Director: ISR


ISR New Mission:

  • ISR will contribute to the ongoing development of a sustainable and vibrant research culture at Edge Hill University by acting as an inter-disciplinary, cross-departmental hub, co-ordinating and supporting research, promoting practitioner and community engagement and assessing public policy within the sphere of social responsibility
  • Embracing a range of conceptualisations of social responsibility from across the public, private and third sectors, the Institute will both initiate and support research, provides an interface for practitioners and academics to inform new ways of working and learning, create a platform for knowledge exchange, and assess the impact of UK public policy through the Policy Evaluation Unit (EPA). Learn more about the EPA.


ISR Aims to:

  • Assist in the generation of a vibrant and stimulating research culture at Edge Hill University
  • Make a positive impact on pressing issues in the realm of social responsibility by supporting and initiating independent, internationally recognised research.
  • Emphasise the co-production and exchange of knowledge both during and as an outcome of our research and public policy assessment with practitioners and academics alike.
  • Contribute to debates on social responsibility and enhance policy formation – regionally, nationally and internationally – through a range of public events and practitioner engagement.
  • Showcase interpretations and conceptualisations of social responsibility and citizenship within the public, private and third sector, and intersections therein.
  • Host Visiting Professors, Visiting Fellows, and to host Practitioners in Residence, to work directly with staff, students and our established networks.
  • Provide support for established and new research centres across the University that seek focus on specific areas of ISR’s remit.
  • Assist in the development of academic staff through the provision of research training


ISR Staff:

ISR Director, Prof Jo Crotty
Formerly Executive Dean of the Institute of Business and Law and Aberystwyth University and Head of Dept. at Salford Business School, Jo’s research interests lie in civil society development, corporate social responsibility and state-society-business relations, predominantly in former Soviet Union countries. Jo has worked on conceptualisations of CSR using both historical insights and theories from outside the traditional sphere of management. Jo has published circa 70 journal articles, conference papers and book chapters, including British Journal of Management, Sociology, Non-profit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly and Organization Studies. She has also presented papers at international conferences including Academy of Management Annual Meeting and the British Academy of Management where she has been nominated and won prizes. She has been awarded research funding from ESRC and the British Academy and sits on the Editorial Board of Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management Journal. Learn more about Jo.

ISR Associate Director (External Relations), Dr Victoria Foster
Victoria draws on her background in Fine Art to inform her work with marginalised groups with the aim of consciousness raising and providing a critique of current policy initiatives. She has carried out a number of research projects that have employed a range of arts-based and participatory research methods in order to achieve this aim. This approach to research enables a critical exploration of those elements of life that are often hidden or disregarded. These methods and their underlying theories are outlined in her book Collaborative Arts-based Research for Social Justice. Victoria has been the recipient of an ESRC CASE award for her doctoral research and an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship. She has worked on large scale NIHR-funded research as well as a wide range of smaller projects. She is currently leading a QR-SPF project, ‘Growing the Small Local Enterprise Sector in Skelmersdale’ which is using a participatory methodology to explore principles of community wealth building. Learn more about Victoria.

ISR Fellows (Research and External Funding)

Dr Ruxandra Trandafoiu
Ruxandra’s recent research projects have centred on the role of media and public discourse in Eastern European migration and diaspora politics; digital media initiatives that oppose populism and mitigate traumatic political change; diaspora visibility and representation in public discourse; prosumers and the role of online communities in dismantling the production monopolies of the traditional creative industries; digitally supported political engagements, micro-politics and new forms of agency and citizenship. As a former journalist, she has a lifelong interest in the role of media in representing diversity, media being used strategically by various political groups and media aiding processes of identity formation.  Ruxandra is writing a book entitled The Politics of Migration and Diaspora in Eastern Europe: Media, Public Discourse and Policy, which will be published by Routledge in 2021.  Learn more about ISR Fellows.

Dr Zana Vathi
Zana specialises in migration studies and has been doing interdisciplinary research in this field since 2005.  In Edge Hill she has established and runs the work of the Migration Working Group – North West (MWG-NW) a research and policy group that brings together academics, organisations and practitioners working on migration who are either based in the North West of the UK, or researching migration in this region.  Within the broad field of migration studies, Zana’s research has explored four interrelated research fields: International migration in Europe and mobilities towards receiving countries and return to the country of origin; Cross-generational comparative research at the intersection of (ethnic) identity, transnational ties and integration; Urban space, aesthetics of the physical environment and belongingness; Migration policies, migrants’ trajectories and psychosocial wellbeing. Learn more about ISR Fellows.

ISR PhD Student:

Frank Burke (Department of Social Sciences)

Title: Flourishing in Local Landscapes: Exploring the Transformative Potential of Engagement with Community Growing Projects

Francis has worked in the public/community sector for the last 20 years, primarily in social housing, where he held a number of community development positions.  His work centred on community engagement and capacity-building in some of the most challenging and disadvantaged wards in the UK – the goal being to assist people to access opportunities in terms of skills, employment and education, housing, greenspace and neighbourhood renewal.  He was also a voluntary board member of a local social enterprise for 10 years. Learn more about Frank.

His PhD research will explore to what extent notions and claims that active participation in community growing projects can lead to transformative outcomes for individuals and communities.  The view that being grounded or rooted in a ‘local landscape’ can also lead to individuals reaching some greater level of potential or ‘flourishing’, will also be examined.

Supervision team: Dr Victoria Foster, Dr Irene Dudley-Swarbrick.

ISR Fellows

ISR Fellows:

link to learn more about the Migration Working Group North West The directors of the Migration Working Group – North West,  Dr Zana Vathi and Dr Ruxandra Trandafoiu, will be affiliated with the Institute for Social Responsibility for 1 year, starting on the 1st of June 2020. A 0.4 secondment for 12 months, the role will focus on the generation of externally funded, inter-disciplinary projects, bringing together EHU academics and/or external partners to address major ongoing social issues in the UK and beyond. Following a competitive call for applications, this year the ISR offered two seconded posts, which will inevitably impact on the migration and media research carried out in EHU.

Dr Zana Vathi
Zana’s programme of research focuses on international migration, integrating ongoing research projects and interests with new, path-breaking ideas. She is particularly keen on projects that have the potential to bring together different, currently disparate, fields of research such as migration, environment and wellbeing. To this end, she plans to engage in multi-scale research activities that address COVID-19, starting with work in the North West with a focus on wellbeing and extending this intercontinentally with a focus on East Africa. Zana has longstanding interests linked to equality and diversity in the field of migration; one of the planned projects will look at the UK HE with the aim to broaden the focus on minority issues within the sector. With her ongoing work on return migration, physical environment and belongingness in cities, and psychosocial wellbeing in the context of migration, she plans to make the fellowship a time of networking and impactful interdisciplinary research endeavours. Learn more about Zana.

Dr Ruxandra Trandafoiu
Ruxandra’s ISR fellowship will focus on developing her current research interests that include enhancing the political engagement and communication capabilities of marginalised communities, citizenship and digital activism, and transmedia cultures, agency and authenticity. Ruxandra plans to advance her research networks in Eastern Europe and North America through initiatives that chart the role of media in the emergence of public discourse on migration and diaspora, media and communities of trauma, diaspora art and creativity. One of her projects will more specifically centre on borders and diasporas, which are gaining in relevance in the current international context. Learn more about Ruxandra.

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