Dr Rafe McGregor
Dr Rafe McGregor

A criminology expert at Edge Hill University is part of an international team that has been awarded funding to uncover how the art of storytelling can inspire unity and inclusivity in society. 

Dr Rafe McGregor is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Edge Hill and is part of a team of researchers who have received a £140,000 grant by the Croatian Science Foundation to investigate how stories and fiction can be used as a tool to encourage social cohesion. 

Dr McGregor said: “Working together, we will explore how stories can be used to promote political harmony and social inclusivity and to raise awareness of the power of storytelling and narrative art to influence thinking around the world.” 

Led by principal researchers from the University of Rijeka in Croatia, Dr McGregor will work with academics from Warwick University and Humboldt University of Berlin on the project, which will take five years to complete.  

He added: “In recent years we have seen major signs of public unrest around the world, with movements such as Black Lives Matter, Me Too and Extinction Rebellion inspiring radical change and pushing society to stop and reflect. 

“Statistics have shown that book sales have increased during the COVID-19 lockdown and that is a sign that more people are engaging with reading and art, potentially being exposed to fictional stories, and we are interested to find out whether these narratives leave a lasting impression and hold the power to inspire society.” 

The research will be divided into three strands; stories and knowledge, stories and ethical life, and stories and social cohesion. Dr McGregor’s book Critical Criminology and Literary Criticism, a guide to harnessing the transformative power of allegories, is due for publication in December this year. 

Edge Hill offers a variety of Criminology and Offending programmes that allow you to specialise in the areas you are most interested in. Students will be immersed in the philosophy, politics and representations of criminalisation, victimisation, criminal justice and punishment, while exploring the relationship between power, crime and social change.