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Dr Shelley McKeown Jones

Dr Shelley McKeown Jones

Dr Shelley McKeown Jones
BSc(Ulster), PhD(Ulster)

Associate Professor in Social Psychology

Office 1.15
Helen Wodehouse Building,
35 Berkeley Square, Clifton BS8 1JA
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 331 4389


I am a social psychologist whose research focuses broadly on understanding how to improve intergroup relations in diverse and conflict settings. I have expertise in quantitative methods and am particularly interested in applying social psychological theories to shape policy and practice in education and beyond. Influenced by my time spent growing up in Northern Ireland, my research centres around a number of key areas:

  • Segregation: Examining how and why individuals from different religious, racial and ethnic groups interact in everyday life spaces.
  • Reducing prejudice: Understanding how various forms of intergroup contact can be used to reduce prejudice towards stigmatised groups.
  • Pro-social behaviour and empathy: Understanding under what conditions conflict affected youth engage in pro-social behaviours, and to what extent empathy plays a role in promoting peace.
  • Identity: Based on social identity theory, investigating how identity strength and identity reminders influence intergroup atttiudes.
  • Time and history: Examining how time (living life based on the past, present or future), continuity, history and narratives are related to intergroup relations.

Research Grants

  • 2018-2019: ESRC Impact Acceleration Account Award (£13,996). Shared space: changing teacher practice, children’s attitudes and influencing policy nationally and internationally through the use of a teacher toolkit. PI: Amanda Williams, Co-PIs Janet Orchard and Shelley McKeown.
  • 2017-2019: ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (£155,152). The changing landscape: diverse friendships and the effects of contextual diversity on youth outcomes. PI: Shelley McKeown, Co-I's: Amanda Williams, Liz Washbrook and David Manley.
  • 2017-2018: ESRC Future Research Leaders award (£150,036). The diversity effect: intergroup interactions and the impact of diversity on young people's attitudes and academics. PI: Shelley McKeown. 
  • 2016-2017: ESRC Impact Acceleration Account Award (£19,991). Shared Space: teachers and researchers sharing space to improve their knowledge and understanding of how to promote inter-religious and cultural dialogue in classrooms” PI: Janet Orchard, Co-PI’s Shelley McKeown and Amanda Williams.
  • 2016-2017: Westhill Trust (£6000). Shared Space: Promoting inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue in RE classrooms. Funding in collaboration with the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education.
  • 2015-2017: BA/Leverhulme Small grants award (£9935). Altrusim Born of Suffering: Positive Development in a Post-Accord Setting. PI: Laura K. Taylor, Co-I: Shelley McKeown
  • 2015-2016: Richard Benjamin Trust (£9915). Altrusim Born of Suffering: Positive Development in a Post-Accord Setting. PI: Laura K. Taylor, Co-PI: Shelley McKeown
  • 2015: ESRC Impact Acceleration Account Award. Shared space: promoting community cohesion in diverse school classrooms”. PI: Shelley McKeown, Co-I: Janet Orchard.
  • 2015-2016: Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development ($58000). Patterns of Humanization and Dehumanization and the Development of Trust: Unity and Divisions Within and Between the Muslim World. PIs: Dan Christie and Noraini Noor. Co-Is: Cristina Montiel, Subramaniam Govindasamy, Shelley McKeow n, Reeshma Haji, Zahid Shahab Ahmed & Fatima Sajjad


  • 2018: American Psychological Association: Division 48 Ed Cairns Early Career award for substantial contributions to peace psychology
  • 2014: British Psychological Society: Social Psychology Section Ph.D award for contributions to social psychology
  • 2011: British Psychological Society: Northern Ireland Branch Postgraduate presentation prize

Areas of Research Supervision

I have expertise in quantitative methods (surveys and experiments) and am particularly interested in supervising quantitative or mixed methods Masters and PhD projects with a focus on evaluating diversity, segergation in everyday spaces, intergroup contact, intergroup relations, altrusim and empathy, intergroup conflict, prejudice, peace education, social identity, and stigma. Jo Rose and I supervise a number of students together: we bring complementary interests, and diverse expertise in a broad range of methodological approaches. Our shared focus on how differences in socio-economic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds can impact on the likelihood of positive trajectories and outcomes means that we offer potential students the opportunity to join an exciting and dynamic group of researchers.


Shelley joined the School of Education as a Lecturer in the Psychology of Education in August 2014 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology in 2017 and Associate Professor in Social Psychology in 2019. She previously worked as Assistant Professor of Psychology at Leiden University College (The Hague) in the Netherlands and as Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire.


Shelley completed her BSc. in Social Psychology in 2008 followed by a Ph.D. in April 2012, both at the University of Ulster. Working alongside the late Professor Ed Cairns, her Ph.D. focused on examining the micro-ecology of religious segregation in Northern Ireland. This involved examining behavioural segregation, using seating plans, along with measuring intergroup attitudes in integrated schools, a further education college and a cross-community intervention. In 2014, Shelley was awarded the Ph.D prize from the social psychology section of the British Psychological Society and in 2018, the Ed Cairns Early Career award for substantial contributions to peace psychology from Division 48 of the American Psychological Association. 


Shelley’s research focuses on how social psychological theories, such as social identity theory and intergroup contact theory, can be used to understand and improve intergroup relations amongst youth in conflict and diverse settings. She is currently working on a number of collaborative projects focusing examining youth pro-social behaviours in conflict affected areas and developing stategies to promote positive intergroup relations. 


Applied to education, Shelley is interested in how these social psychological processes can be used to understand the impact of diversity on educational outcomes as well as the role of education in building peace.


I primarily teach social psychology and research methods. I also supervise Masters and PhD projects. 



  • Diversity
  • conflict
  • peace
  • identity
  • segregation
  • religion
  • intergroup relations
  • behaviour
  • education.


  • I am a Chartered member of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and committee member and book review editor for the social psychology section. I am currently acting as chair elect for the Early Career Committee for the International Society of Political Psychology and executive committee member of the society for the contributions of psychology to peace.

Selected publications

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View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system


Dr McKeown Jones currently teaches 1 courses:

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