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Image of Senior Lecturer Deanne Bell smiling in front of a white background

Deanne Bell

Associate Professor

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)


Dr Deanne Bell is an Associate Professor of Critical Psychology and Decolonial Studies.

Her research and scholarly commitments are to exposing and dismantling colonial systems of knowledge and exclusion. Her scholarship confronts coloniality in higher education and in historically marginalised communities in the global South and North. She approaches her commitment to the practice of social transformation primarily in two ways—through decolonisation of curricula within the westernised university and by working alongside communities, using participatory methodologies to explore phenomenologies of dehumanisation in modernity. This has included working with members of the Tivoli Gardens community in Jamaica in the aftermath of a historic, political atrocity in 2010.

Building on her inquiry into colonially produced indifference to racism and classism she is currently working to understand psychosocial mechanisms through which indifference becomes internalised. In response to the dearth of understanding how inequalities are structured and systematised in higher education, she is also exploring academic inequalities from the perspective of historically marginalised students.

Deanne’s scholarship finds application in epistemic justice in the westernised university. She has founded multiple ‘decolonial infrastructure’ projects in the academy including creating a new pedagogy for a university community to begin to understand systemic racism, creating opportunities for decolonial PhD research, and is the founding director of NTU’s Decolonial Research Collaborative.

Modules I teach:

  • Psychology of Social Realities
  • Social Transformation Lab

Career overview

Before joining NTU in February, 2019 Deanne was a senior lecturer at University of East London where she taught critical community psychology and supervised doctoral research. Prior to that she was an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Antioch College in the USA where she developed a decolonial psychology curriculum.

Deanne’s specialist areas are decolonial theory and methodologies, Black studies, critical community psychology and liberation psychology.

Research areas

Deanne’s work is interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary engaging in multiple fields of thought including Decolonial Studies, Black Studies, Critical Community Psychology and Psychosocial Studies. She expresses her work multimodally—in writing, film and multimedia art.

Deanne's research interests include:

  • Curricula decolonisation
  • Epistemic justice
  • Race
  • Social indifference
  • Phenomenologies of dehumanisation in modernity
  • Collective trauma
  • Social suffering
  • Structural violence

Deanne utilises qualitative research methods in order to prioritise historically marginalised people’s voices. Participatory Action Research, oral history and retrospective autoethnography (a method she has co-created) are modes of doing research she actively engages with. She has experience using analytic methods such as Voice-centred Relational Method of Analysis, Diacritical Hermeneutics and Micro Phenomenology.

External activity

    • Expert Advisor on Wellcome Trust’s Inclusive Research Design and Practice Project
    • Editorial Board Member of Studies in the Psychosocial Series
    • Steering Committee member of University of Westminster’s Pedagogies for Social Justice project
    • British Psychological Society Community Psychology Section Committee Member
    • Multi-year consultant and evaluator of YoungMind’s Find Your Feet programme
    • Board member Community Psychology in Global Perspective
    • BPS Practice Guidance Contributor on Guidance for Psychologists on Working in Partnership with Community Organisations

    Reviewer for:

    • Third World Quarterly journal
    • American Journal of Community Psychology
    • Journal of Community Psychology
    • Annual Review of Critical Psychology
    • Community Psychology in Global Perspective
    • Journal for Social Action in Counseling
    • Yale University Press
    • Palgrave Macmilla

Press expertise

  • Curricula decolonisation
  • Epistemic justice
  • Race
  • Social Indifference
  • Collective Trauma
  • Social Suffering
  • Structural Violence