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Katherine Quinn

Dr Katherine Quinn


School of Social Sciences

Glamorgan Building, Room 1.02, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA


I was appointed as a lecturer in social science in February 2022 having previously joined Cardiff in late 2020 as a post-doctoral research fellow in the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data (WISERD).

Using ethnographic methods, my research and writing concerns knowledge classifications and space. I am particularly interested in how classifications in 'places of learning' (like libraries and university spaces/campuses) are enacted and negotiated through everyday practices, built pedagogies, and institutional discourses, and in what these practices reveal about the state and status of higher education.

My PhD research (awarded in 2020) examined a public-academic integrated library in central England and explored how ideas of ‘academic’ and ‘public’ knowledge, goods, and space are developed, (re)classified, and negotiated through live practice. My current research concerns the development of initiatives (such as ‘Civic Engagement’, and public impact) and spaces (such as publically accessible campus buildings and programmes) which alter the physical and cultural porosity of universities in public life. 

My second key interest is in qualitative methodology. I enjoy writing, teaching and researching creative ethnographic methods including drawing and creative writing.





  • Quinn, K. 2021. Zoom time. Entanglements: Experiments in Multimodal Ethnography 4(2), pp. 19-20.






Book sections



For 2023/24 I co-convene and teach on the year two methods module ‘Social Research Methods’, and co-convene the masters module ‘Research Applications’. I also contribute to ‘Sociological Inquiries’ (y1), 'Ethnography and Everyday Life' (y2), 'Sociology on the move' (y3), 'Decolonising Social Science' (y2), and 'Social Science Research Methods' (Masters).


Academic background: My PhD was in Sociology, completed at the University of Warwick (2020, funded by the ESRC). Prior to that, I did an MA in Librarianship at the University of Sheffield, funded by the AHRC. My undergraduate degree was in history from University College London.

Academic appointments: I have previously held the positions of postdoctural research fellow at WISERD, Cardiff, and academic tutor at the University of Nottingham.

In between and sometimes alongside academic education and appointments I have worked as a librarian in research, school, HE, and FE settings.


Research themes


  • creative methods
  • ethnography
  • Library studies