Personal profile

Research interests

My work is rooted in the disciplines of Social and Community Psychology, with a transdisciplinary ethos. During my PhD, I focused on group dynamics in the steering committees of grassroots social movements, namely the Transition Towns movement in Monteveglio (Italy). My PhD, and my work with local communities, focused on the communities’ actions to face the effects of the global crisis, particularly promoting economic and social resilience. By facilitating communities’ development and environmental sustainability, I studied and worked on a range of issues including: peak oil, climate change, people and environmental care, social justice and fair share, community engagement and social inclusion.

A major research focus of mine is Discursive Psychology. In particular, I have been studying the religious ideological discourse of the Roman Catholic Church on LGBT+ people. I have applied Discourse Analysis to detect and understand homophobia and heterosexism, and I have analysed its manifestations in different contexts, from religious documents to high school settings. This is enhanced by my simultaneous participation in national and international LGBT+ networks, through taking part in talks, workshops, and conferences.

Finally, I am interested in non-clinical approaches to mental health, and the value of space in shaping people’s social identities.

Approach to teaching

My specialist teaching areas are community psychology, social psychology, and qualitative methods. I am always motivated to find new ways to engage students, especially through active learning and critical thinking. I have been increasingly conceiving the classroom space as a community of practices formed of the students and the lecturer who mutually engage in a process of collaborative learning. Learning and teaching have long been acknowledged as dialogical, discursive and socially constructed activities in psychology; therefore, I conceive communication and learning as bidirectional processes that can empower students and lecturers.

A crucial concern in my teaching practice is to create a safe and inclusive environment for non-heterosexual and non-cisgender students, and constantly address equality and diversity issues within Psychology, and the socio-political context. I have done so in all the universities I have had the chance to teach in, and students’ responses and the reflections have always been extremely rewarding. In particular, I believe that, as future psychologists, communicators, and citizens, students will play an active role in arguing for inclusion in their workplaces and everyday lives.

Scholarly biography

I pursued a BSc, magna cum laude, in Mass Communication with a thesis in Social Psychology, and received the mention as “Best bachelor student of the University of Macerata 2008”. I subsequently obtained an MSc in Social and Business Communication, also magna cum laude, with a thesis in Educational Psychology. Both works were awarded a national prize: the former received the Union of Atheists, Agnostics, and Rationalists (UAAR) degree Prize 2009; the latter obtained the “Leo Birzoli” Prize 2011.

In spring term 2015 I was Visiting Lecturer in Psychology at York St John University, and Principal Lecturer in Current Issues in International Psychology at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw (SWPS), Poland. In the 2015/2106 academic year, I moved to York St John University where I worked as Lecturer in Psychology at the Faculty of Health and Life Science.

Since September 2016 I am a Lecturer in Psychology at the School of Applied Social Science (SASS) at University of Brighton.

Supervisory Interests

I am interested in supervising a number of topics rooted in the disciplines of Critical Social Psychology, Critical Community Psychology, and Discursive Psychology, with a transdisciplinary ethos. Broad areas are: non-normative sexualities, religious and ideological discourses, nature and sustainability. For example:

- Non-normative sexualities, LGBTI+ issues

- Sex work, sex workers, and intersectionalities

- Religious and ideological discourses on sexuality

- Transdisciplinary approaches to sexuality and gender

- Permaculture, Transition Towns, group dynamics, grass-root social movements

- Transdisciplinary approaches to environmental crisis, peak oil, and climate change

- Non-clinical approaches to mental health

- Values of space in shaping people’s social identities

- Critical Community Psychology

- Critical Social Psychology, and Discursive Psychology



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