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 range of smaller projects. Victoria is an advocate of a plant-based diet and is interested in sustainable, organic food production. She is a mother of two sons and, in what spare time she has, practises meditation and ashtanga yoga.


  • PGCTHE (with Distinction), Edge Hill University
  • PhD in Sociology/ Social Policy, University of Liverpool
  • MSc in Applied Social Research (with Distinction), University of Liverpool
  • BA Hons in Fine Art, Leeds Metropolitan University


  • SPY4001 Advanced Social Science Research Methods
  • SPY3031 Dissertations
  • SPY2034 Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences
  • SPY1107 Exploring the Social World
  • SPY1102 Introduction to Social and Developmental Psychology
  • SPY1103 Introduction to Early Childhood Studies


  • Collaborative and arts-based methodologies
  • Feminist methodologies
  • Poverty and inequality
  • Health inequalities
  • Child and family social policy

Professional Bodies

  • British Sociological Association Medical Sociology Study Group Committee Member
  • British Sociological Association
  • Fellow of the HEA



Foster, V. (2016) Collaborative Arts-based Research For Social Justice, Abingdon: Routledge.

Journal articles

Foster, Victoria (2021) Community wealth building: Stories of people, place and institutions. The Sociological Observer, 3(1): 165-172.

Foster, Victoria (2021) Beating time: Methodological questions arising from the evaluation of a school-based arts project. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 22(7): 1-21.

Foster, Victoria (2019) The return of the surreal: Towards a poetic and playful sociology. Qualitative Sociology Review, 15(1):148-164.

Foster, Victoria and Young, Alys (2015) Reflecting on participatory methodologies: research with parents of babies requiring neonatal care. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 18 (1): 91-104.

Foster, Victoria (2013) Pantomime and politics: The story of a performance ethnography. Qualitative Research, 13 (1): 36-52.

Carey, Malcolm and Foster, Victoria (2013) Social work, ideology, discourse and the limits of post-hegemony. Journal of Social Work, 13 (3), 248-266.

Foster, Victoria (2012) The pleasure principle: employing arts-based methods in social work research. The European Journal of Social Work, 15 (4), 532-545.

Foster, Victoria (2012) What if? The use of poetry to promote social justice. Social Work Education, 31 (6), 742-755.

Foster, Victoria and Young, Alys (2012). The use of routinely collected health data for research: a critical review. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, 16(4), 448-463

Carey, Malcolm and Foster, Victoria (2011) Introducing ‘Deviant’ Social Work: Contextualising the Limits of Radical Social Work whilst Understanding (Fragmented) Resistance within the Social Work Labour Process. British Journal of Social Work, 41 (3), 576-593.

Foster, Victoria (2009) Authentic Representation? Using video as counter-hegemony in participatory research with poor working-class women. International Journal of Research Approaches 3 (3): 233-245

Foster, Victoria (2007) “Ways of Knowing and Showing”: Imagination and representation in feminist participatory social research. Journal of Social Work Practice 21 (3): 12-27

Foster, Victoria (2007) The Art of Empathy: Employing the arts in social inquiry with poor working-class women. Social Justice 34 (1): 361-376

Chapters in books

Kelly, Laura, Foster, Victoria and Hayes, Anne (2015) ‘Evaluating drama-based crime prevention: problems, politics, and new directions’, in Joseph, Janelle and Crichlow, Wesley (Eds.) Alternative Criminal Rehabilitation: Arts & Physical Engagement, pp. 44-64. Houndsmills: Palgrave Macillan.

Foster, Victoria (2015) ‘Myths and Monsters: Challenging assumptions of poor working class motherhood through feminist research’, in Wahab, Stephanie, Anderson-Nathe, Ben and Gringeri, Christina (Eds.) Feminisms in Social Work Research, pp. 120-134. Abingdon: Routledge.

Foster, Victoria (2009) ‘“Ways of Knowing and Showing”: Imagination and representation in feminist participatory social research’, in Chamberlayne, Prue and Smith, Martin (Eds). Art, Creativity and Imagination in Social Work Practice, pp. 101-116. Abingdon: Routledge.

Foster, Victoria (2008) ‘Soulful Research’, in Ruth Desouza and Andy Williamson (Eds.) Researching with Communities, pp. 123-136. Aukland: Muddy Creek Press.

Reports and practice guides

Foster, Victoria (2020) A community of imaginations: an account of an ecological arts-based practice, A Feminist Adult Educator Guide to Aesthetic, Creative and Disruptive Strategies in Museums and Community, pp. 138-144. Canada: University of Victoria.

Modi, Nina; Ashby, Deborah; Battersby, Cheryl; Brocklehurst, Peter; Chivers, Zoe; Costeloe, Kate; Draper, Elizabeth; Foster, Victoria ; Kemp, Jacqui; Majid, Azeem; Murray, Joanna; Petrou, Stavros; Rogers, Katherin;, Santhakumaran, Shalini; Saxena, Sonia; Statnikov, Yevgeniy; Wong, Hilary; Young, Alys (2019) Developing routinely recorded clinical data from electronic patient records as a national resource to improve neonatal health care: the Medicines for Neonates research programme. Programme Grants Appl Res, Vol. 7, No. 6, p. 1-395.

Foster, Victoria (2018) ‘Barlows’ Cunning Little Vixen: An evaluation of the European Opera Centre’s first educational project’. Ormskirk: Edge Hill University.

Kelly, Laura, Foster, Victoria and Hayes, Anne (2017) ‘Evaluating Drama-based Crime Prevention: Young People’s Affective Engagement with Performance’. Liverpool: Centre for the Study of Crime, Criminalisation and Social Exclusion, Liverpool John Moores University.

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