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Professor Oakleigh Welply

Professor; Deputy Executive Dean, People and Culture

Professor; Deputy Executive Dean, People and Culture in the School of Education+44 (0) 191 33 48357
Deputy Executive Dean, People and Culture in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health


Oakleigh is Deputy Executive Dean, People and Culture in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health, and a Professor in the School of Education. She teaches on the MA courses Intercultural and International Education, Intercultural Communicatin and International Development and Education. Before joining Durham in September 2014, Oakleigh was a Lecturer in Sociology of Education at the University of Cambridge, where she lectured and supervised on the Undergraduate course and on the Politics Development and Democratic Education Masters and the Research in Second Language Education Masters programme. 

Oakleigh graduated with a sociology and politics degree from Sciences Po Paris in France, holds an M.Phil from the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences in Cambridge on the sociology and politics of European society, and completed her Ph.D in Sociology of Education within the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. 

Oakleigh was actively involved in the first two stages of the Bell Foundation funded project on Educational Achievement, Language Education and Disadvantage (EALead) at the University of Cambridge.

Oakleigh’s areas of research focus on the relationship of education to issues of language, religion, immigration, integration, globalisation, identity, gender and citizenship. She is interested in developing cross-national research and methodologies to conduct research with diverse communities in European countries. Theoretically, her work is mainly inspired by the works of Paul Ricoeur, Frantz Fanon and Pierre Bourdieu to investigate the intersection between wider structures and the subjectivities of young immigrants’ identities and experiences.

Another key area of Oakleigh’s work is Global Citizenship Education, which she has approached through a variety of perspectives, ranging from theoretically-based discussions to large scale survey data analysis. She was an invited speaker on the topic of Global Citizenship at Sciences Po Paris and the Palais de Tokyo, as part of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE). 

Interested in the theory and the practice of Global Citizenship Education, she has also been actively involved in Ustinov College’s Global Citizenship programme and in the development of the Global Citizenship component of the Durham Award. 

Her recent interdisciplinary research project, funded by the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), evaluates the impact of elements of Global Citizenship Education on young people’s attitudes towards diversity, tolerance, and political participation. This project brought together perspectives from sociology of education and economics to analyse data from the 2016 International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS). Using logit and multinomial logit type models, this research project analysed data across 23 countries, which included 2,500 observations for each country

Completed Supervisions

Intercultural communication: the perceptions of university students learning Chinese as a foreign language in China.

A Case Study of the Conception of Curriculum Internationalisation in a Secondary School in Kazakhstan

What do polyglots know about learning languages? Assessing the beliefs and perceptions of polyglots vis-à-vis language learning.

Playing with Snow, with Peace and Freedom - English on the Margins: The educational experiences of young refugees in Bangkok, Thailand.

Developing International Mindedness through the Arts in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP): An International Survey Design Conducted across all Continents.

Information for prospective doctoral research student supervisions

Oakleigh would be pleased to hear from potential students with research interests in the field of comparative and cross-national studies; immigration, diversity and integration; identity, gender, race, ethnicity, citizenship, language and religion; decolonising the curriculum; English as an additional language in schools; global citizenship social theory; intercultural and international education.


Research Interests

* Immigration, diversity, multiculturalism, political and social integration 

* Globalisation and citizenship 

* Identity, gender, race, ethnicity, language, religion 

* Decolonising the curriculum

* Intercultural and international education 

* Language, migration and social integration 

* English as an additional language in school 

* Comparative and cross-national studies 

* Social theory (Pierre Bourdieu, Paul Ricoeur, Frantz Fanon, Hannah Arendt)


Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article


Supervision students