Dr Katie McQuaid

Dr Katie McQuaid


Katie joined the School of Geography in 2014. She is an anthropologist with expertise on climate change, gender and sexuality, ageing, and human rights in informal urban settings. Her work creatively combines ethnographic and applied arts-based methodologies as tools for research, knowledge exchange and transformation in Uganda, Indonesia, India and Malawi.

She was awarded a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship in 2019 for her project 'Gender, Generation and Climate Change (GENERATE): Creative Approaches to Building Inclusive and Climate Resilient Cities in Uganda and Indonesia'. This research combines ethnographic and creative methodologies to investigate the 'gender-age-urban' interface of climate change. It will deliver new evidence on how gender, sexuality and age intersect and manifest in inequalities that shape (and inhibit) urban populations' ability to adapt to climate change. These findings will be used to co-develop, pilot and upscale arts-led interventions that challenge gender and generational inequalities in order to build more gender-transformative and climate resilient cities. Working in partnerships across multiple scales, the GENERATE project aims to raise the profile and participation of marginalised groups in urban and climate planning and policymaking.

Katie has collaborated with the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures on a series of projects. Most recently she worked on the project 'Promoting sexual and reproductive health education among adolescents through creative and youth-led practice in India, Malawi and Uganda' funded by the AHRC/MRC (2017-2020). In 2017 she worked on an AHRC-funded project entitled 'Performing Living Knowledge: Developing a replicable model for arts-based empowerment of marginalised urban communities in Uganda and Malawi'. She recently jointly-led an ESRC/Leeds Social Sciences Institute Impact Accelerator Award on girls' education in Jinja, Uganda (2017-18). These projects have creatively combined social science and applied arts methodologies to engage with and mobilise communities and local policymakers and practitioners to better recognise and challenge inequalities.

From 2014-16 she worked on the Uganda strand of an interdisciplinary AHRC-funded project entitled ‘INTERSECTION: Intergenerational Justice, Consumption and Sustainability in Cross-National Perspective’ in collaboration with the University of Sheffield. INTERSECTION also conducted comparative research in China and the UK, as part of the AHRC’s Care for the Future Programme. She conducted over a year’s ethnographic fieldwork (2015-16) drawing on a range of qualitative, social science and arts-based methods to explore intergenerational relations, climate change and sustainability.

Katie studied Social Anthropology (MA Hons) at the University of Edinburgh, before completing an MA in the Anthropology of Conflict, Violence and Conciliation (2008) and MSc in Cross-Cultural and Comparative Research Methods (2010) at the University of Sussex. Funded by the ESRC, Katie conducted two years’ ethnographic fieldwork in Uganda (2011-2012) for her PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex (2014). Her thesis, entitled ‘Another War: Stories of Violence, Humanitarianism and Human Rights amongst Congolese Refugees in Uganda’ explored how urban refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo engage with humanitarian systems, including a particular focus on the experiences of human rights defenders.


  • UKRI Future Leaders Fellow

Research interests

Katie currently leads on her UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship grant: ‘Gender, Generation and Climate Change (GENERATE): Creative Approaches to Building Inclusive and Climate Resilient Cities in Uganda and Indonesia’.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Student education

In the 2018/19 academic year Katie taught on Research Methods: Ideas and Practice in Human Geography, and Environment, Conflict and Policy.

Research groups and institutes

  • Social Justice, Cities, Citizenship