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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr Peter Hemming is a sociologist of education, childhood/youth and religion. His research interests focus on religion/spirituality and education (including faith schools, collective worship and mindfulness), children's and young people's religious/non-religious lives and identities, schools and citizenship/diversity, and ethnographic and child-/youth-centred research methods.

He is currently co-investigator on a large-scale Leverhulme Trust funded project on understanding mindfulness in modern life (including in educational settings) and co-leads one of the School of Education's Research and Enterprise Groups: Voice and Participation in Childhood and Education.

Peter has written over 20 items in peer-reviewed journals and scholarly books. His monograph: Religion in the Primary School: Ethos, Diversity, Citizenship, was published by Routledge in 2015. Peter is currently a member of the editorial board of Journal of Beliefs and Values: Studies in Religion and Education, and was previously a co-editor of British Educational Research Journal and a member of the associate editorial board of Sociology.


Scholarly biography

Peter was appointed Reader in Education at the University of Brighton in May 2020, having previously worked at the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University as a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer from 2011-2020. Prior to this, he worked for two years as a Research Fellow at the Centre for Childhood and Youth Research, Brunel University and for a short time as an Associate Lecturer for the Open University in London.

Peter's academic background is in Sociology and Human Geography, and he completed his PhD and MA at the University of Leeds, and his BA at the University of Sheffield. He is currently a member of the British Sociological Association. Peter is also a former primary school teacher, having taught in Lewes, East Sussex, and holds a PGCE Primary (5-11 yrs) from the University of Brighton. He gained a PGCert in University Teaching and Learning from Cardiff University and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Supervisory Interests

Peter is interested in supervising PhD and EdD students on a broad range of topics in the fields of sociology of education, childhood/youth and religion. He has particular expertise in the following areas:

  • Religion/spirtuality and education (including faith schools, collective worship and mindfulness)
  • Children's and young people's (non-) religious lives and identities
  • Schools, citizenship and diversity (in relation to religion or more broadly)

If you are interested in undertaking doctoral study with Peter, please feel free to get in touch, preferably with a CV and a 1-2 page proposal outlining your ideas.

Peter has previously supervised the following doctoral candidates to successful completion, and has contributed to a range of other supervisory teams:

  • Amber Fensham-Smith: Online networks in home schooling (2012-17)
  • Elena Hailwood: Mindfulness in schools (2016-20)

He has examined a number of doctoral theses, including in an internal and external capacity.


Approach to teaching

Peter has undertaken a range of teaching roles at all levels, including course leadership, curriculum design and development, admissions, module convening, large and small group teaching, dissertation supervision, personal tuition, assessment and feedback, and e-learning activities.

His teaching philosophy is underpinned by values and ethics, and influenced by humanism and constructivism, leading to a student-centred approach and commitment to equal opportunities.

At University of Brighton, Peter is currently Assistant Programme Leader for the BA Education and also makes contributions to the following undergraduate and postgraduate modules:

  • KV506 Equality and Inclusion in Education (module leader)
  • KV602 Inequality and Education: Critical Approaches
  • KV601 Dissertation (supervision)
  • KV712 Designing your Research Proposal
  • MRes research methods: KZ700, KZ701, KZ702, KZ703

Knowledge exchange

Peter is currently leading a research impact and engagement project on diversity of religion and belief in schools, which includes a free guidance and resource pack for primary schools in England and Wales. He has also written about his research in a number of publicly accessible online blogs and made contributions to articles in professional facing publications such as the TES.


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