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April-Louise Pennant

Dr April-Louise Pennant


Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow

School of Social Sciences

+44 29208 70911
Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA



My new book Babygirl, you've got this! Experiences of Black Girls and Women in the English education system  is AVAILABLE NOW to order !!


I am a sociologist working in the areas of education and social justice with a particular interest in how identities- social class, gender, ethnicity, culture and race- intersect to shape and influence individuals, the ways they interact with others and how they navigate within society. I have recently started to venture into history, heritage and memory research as a Leverhulme Early Career fellow, guided by my mentors, Professor Bella Dicks and Dr Kate Moles.

I have always been a firm believer in the transformative power of education and with my work, I aim to contribute to ensuring that the curriculum reflects and includes diverse narratives and histories so that everyone understands how they belong and appreciates the contributions of their communities, and others, to society. Another of my aims is to support all students to be equipped with the knowledge to understand the education system, and have access to resources to aid their journey within it.

In my research, I centre marginalised communities, employing their experiential knowledge to explore and document alternative narratives, using critical and creative methodologies to frame and make sense of them. These narratives act as a critique interrogating the unequal underpinnings and structure of the education system and society as a whole, in the hopes of advancing social justice.

More specifically, my research contributes to creating detailed understandings of intersecting barriers, social injustices and specific challenges faced by Black communities, especially girls, women, enslaved Africans and their descendants. But also, the triumphs, resilience and ingenious ways that they, both historically and presently, manoeuvre within the education system and society- despite the many odds.

Ultimately, my work questions who is (un)seen, who is (un)heard, who has the power and why that might be the case, while reversing it. 








Book sections


I am currently working on the Leverhulme Trust funded project : The source of the stream: centring the enslaved Africans who built Penrhyn Castle | The Leverhulme Trust

Previously, as part of my Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) postdoctoral fellowship, I worked on the project: Understanding to Overstand the education system: The educational journeys and experiences of Black British women graduates.

I am a Research Associate at the Chair for Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation (CriSHET) at the Nelson Mandela University in South Africa. I am also a Honorary Research Associate at Bangor University's School of History, Law and Social Sciences. Additionally, I am a member of the GW4/National Trust partnership's expert Community of Practice (CoP), working with specific National Trust properties under the theme of Colonial Connections.

My research interests include:

  • Social justice
  • Educational inequalities
  • Education policy
  • Workplace inequalities
  • Workplace policy
  • Race, ethnicity, culture, gender and social class / Intersectionality
  • Black Feminist Theory and Epistemology
  • Black Girlhood Studies
  • Black British and Black diasporic identities and intersections
  • Anti-Black racism
  • Bourdieu's Theory of Practice
  • Critical Race Theory
  • BlackCrit 
  • Memory
  • History
  • Heritage


Previous teaching 

  • Year 2 undergraduate module: Education Policy and Social Justice, University of Birmingham (2018)
  • The Birmingham Project, University of Birmingham (2017)

I am also an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA)


I attended the University of Kent where I earned a first class undergraduate degree in Sociology with a year in Hong Kong. Notably, during my year abroad at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (C.U.H.K.) and alongside my studies, I co-founded the Black International Community (B.I.C.) to educate others and to celebrate global Black cultures, creating cross-cultural dialogue and engagement. The success of this initiative resulted in me being awarded the ‘Outstanding International/ Multicultural Initiative of the Year’ as well as the ‘Student of the Year’ at the 2015 Kent Student Awards.

Directly after finishing my undergraduate degree, I received the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) 1+3 studentship which enabled me to complete both my Masters and Ph.D. studies, as well as to participate in additional courses as part of my research training at the University of Birmingham. I was also selected to be one of the Westmere Scholars to represent the College of Social Sciences (2018-2019) and thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, I completed my Ph.D. with a ‘virtual viva’ at the start of the global lockdowns in March 2020.

After being in education for most of my life, I decided to take some time out, opting to work at the Welsh Government before taking up a ESRC postdoctoral research fellowship at Cardiff University. Within my relatively short time at the Government,I held several roles as part of the teams involved in implementing the legislative framework of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act and developing the Anti-racist Wales Action Plan. I also used my expertise as a member of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group. Additionally, alongside my day job and as part of my roles in the workplace's staff diversity networks’ steering groups, I researched and co-authored the award-winning report- Running Against the Wind: Report on Black Lives Matter & staff experiences of race, gender & intersectionality in the Welsh Government. The impact of the report was far-reaching, and its findings and recommendations were incorporated into both internal and external strategy about how to promote and strengthen workplace equality, diversity and inclusion, leadership and anti-racism.

Outside of work, I am currently part of the management committee for Black History Cymru 365 (BHC365) and I enjoy visiting and ticking off destinations from my travel bucket-list .

Honours and awards

  • Honarary Research Associate in the School of History, Law and Social Sciences, Bangor University (2023)
  • The Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship (2022)
  • Research Associate at the Chair for Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation (CriSHET) at the Nelson Mandela University in South Africa (2022)
  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Cardiff University (2021)
  • Welsh Government 'Valuing Diversity' Award (2021)
  • WeAreTheCity and The Times and The Sunday Times 'Rising Star' Award in the Education & Academia category (2019)
  • Westmere Scholar for the College of Social Sciences at the University of Birmingham (2018)
  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 1+3 Award at the University of Birmingham (2015)
  • Outstanding International/Multicultural Initiative of the Year at the University of Kent's Student Awards (2015)
  • Student of the Year at the University of Kent's Students Awards (2015)

Professional memberships

  • African Carribean Research Collective
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA)
  • British Academy Early Career Researcher Network
  • Learned Society of Wales Early Career Network
  • Memory Studies Association
  • British Art Network (BAN)

Academic positions

  • 2023- present: Honarary Research Associate, School of History, Law and Social Sciences, Bangor University
  • 2022- present: Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Cardiff University
  • 2021 - 2022: ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Cardiff University

Speaking engagements

  • Exploring Histories of Labour: inclusive heritage and collaboration, Being Human Festival, Amgueddfa Cymru | Museum Wales (2023)
  • Centring the enslaved Africans who built Penrhyn castle: Curating with care, diverse histories and visitors in mind, National Trust Curating Our Cultural Heritage 2023 & beyond Conference, MShed (2023)
  • Black History Month Exhibition '50 Plaques & Places', The Tabernacle (2023)
  • Mapping race, anti-racism and legacies of empire in Aberystwyth, Online (2023)
  • Black Atlantic, BBC Arts & Ideas (2023) Listen here.
  • Dr April-Louise Pennant, The British Academy Early Career Researcher Network Research Cafe - Cardiff Special, sbarc|spark, Cardiff University (2023)
  • Centring the source of the stream & strengthening global connections in the heritage sector, INTO Global connections workshop, Bath Assembly rooms (2023)
  • A Work in progress: Centing the enslaved Africans who built Penrhyn castle, Memory Studies Association Conference, Transgenerational memory, education, museums and activism session, Newcastle (2023)
  • Research-in-progress- The Source of the Stream: centring the enslaved Africans who built Penrhyn castle, Amgueddfa Cymru | Museum Wales' lunchtime seminar series (2023)
  • Mapping Out the all the Black in the Union Jack: Being a Black woman scholar-activist in modern Britain, Black Europe Summer School, the Netherlands (2022)
  • How to be a Transformer in educational spaces and places, University of Kent (2022)
  • Penrhyn Castle & the Pennants - a Personal Journey by Dr April-Louise Pennant, Black History Cymru 365 (2021)
  • Promoting An Anti-Racist Wales: Lessons from Running Against the Wind, Race Council Cymru (2021)
  • Black women in education, Wales & reparations, Surviving Society Podcast (2021)
  • Stories of our times: The legacy of Penrhyn Castle (Pt 1, 2 and 3), The Times Podcast (2021)
  • Respecting Race in the Workplace, Llywodraeth Cymru / Welsh Government Podcast (2021) 
  • Black bodies in white educational spaces, Bristol Conversations in Education research seminar series (2021) 
  • #NavigatingInSilence: Black British Women in education and the workplace, Centre On The Dynamics Of Ethnicity (CoDE) webinar (2021)

Some of these speaking engagements, along with others are available to be listened to on my personal website here.

Committees and reviewing