Bridgette Wessels

Professor of Social Inequalities at the University of Glasgow

Conference: Happy Homes, Happy Society?

I studied sociology and the sociology of culture at the Universities of Durham and York. I then went to the University of Sussex to undertake doctoral research in the innovation and use of telematics – one of the early community based developments of the Internet and WWW. The sociological study of the Internet and WWW was in its infancy and I was extremely lucky to be part of an innovative research environment that fostered interdisciplinary research into the WWW in social contexts. After undertaking two Post-doc research projects at the Universities of Durham and Newcastle, I took up my first lecturing post at the University of Sheffield becoming Reader in Digital Sociology in 2014. I founded and ran the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Socio-Digital Research at Sheffield (IRiS). I then was Professor of Sociology at Newcastle University before becoming Professor of Social Inequality at the University of Glasgow. At Glasgow, I founded the Glasgow Social and Digital Change Group – with Professor Andy Hoskins – and we both work with Dr Catherine Happer and Dr Justine Gangneux in co-ordinating that Group.

I have a strong track-record of research funding from UKRI and the EU as well as other research foundations, and I have extensive experience of managing large research teams nationally and internationally. Examples of my areas of research, which has impact embedded in it includes on social exclusion and digital divides, financial exclusion and the e-economy, social media and political inequality, health inequalities and telehealth, welfare services and (digital) identity, local journalism and inclusion and e-policing, ethnicity and communities. I have contributed to research policy by informing strategy, the development of research programmes, and providing recommendations to UKRI, EU and NSF funders. This also includes work on responsible research and innovation (RRI) and open data. My work has had policy impact in terms of inequality and e-inclusion at a global level in South East Asia, Australia, USA, and Europe. I also have a strong track record of civic partnership work that includes working with South Yorkshire’s e-services team, e@syconnects, Swedish regional press and media policy, public and social media communication strategy in Europe, and the development of local services centres in Newham (London).