Prof Karen Henwood

Karen Henwood is a Professor in Cardiff University’s School of Social Sciences and Understanding Risk Group. She is a Flexis PI working with Professor Nick Pidgeon (WP17). Her research investigates how it is possible for people to meet the challenges posed to themselves and society by the dynamics of environmental risk and socio-cultural change, including ones connected to wider transitions in energy systems. She has extensive methodological expertise in interpretive research approaches within empirical social science, including innovative forms of stakeholder and public engagement. Her publications report findings from academic research conducted in the field of risk and identity studies. In 2013 she co-authored a foresight policy review with Pidgeon (2013) on Risk and Identity Futures as part of the wider UK Government Office of Science and Technology’s Future of Identities Project. She conducted multiple community case studies within the ESRC’s SCARR (Social Contexts and Responses to Risk) network (2003-2008), and led an in depth longitudinal investigation as co-investigator on the ESRC’s major qualitative longitudinal initiative (Timescapes) (2017-2012). She was PI for an AHRC network Homing in: Sensing, Sense-Making and Sustainable Place-Making (2013-4), collaborating with arts scholars and practitioners and local communities on issues of risk and environmental controversy. She led the Energy Biographies project (2011-2016) within the RCUK’s Energy and Communities joint venture ( This work is now being taken forward as part of Flexis. She is currently also co-lead investigator (with Pidgeon) on the social science work packages within the NERC funded Coastweb project.

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