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Dr Mary Richards
Divisional Lead / Reader


I am a Division lead for Transdisciplinary Studies in Global Change. I am the former Vice Dean (Education) for the College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences of Brunel University London (August 2014 – July 2017)

During my time as Vice Dean (Education) I led the development of the Bachelor of Arts and Sciences (BASc) degree programme in Global Challenges, working with colleagues from across the institution. I stepped down from my role as Vice Dean in order to take up the role of Programme Director of this new, but complex, provision. In 2022 I became the Division Lead.

The BASc Global Challenges degree includes strand pathways on planetary health, social cohesion, security, and global innovation: providing an opportunity for students to study in a more holistic manner through engagement with a range of natural and social sciences, as well as humanities disciplines. This is done in recognition that the complexities of the contemporary world do not necessarily respect disciplinary boundaries and graduates need the skills to met the demands of a rapidly changing global context as well as the climate emergency. Moreover, elements of the programme have been developed in partnership with local and international partners and we are members of United Nations Academic Impact and the Planetary Health Alliance. You can find out more about the programme here.

In November 2022, the BASc Global Challenges programme won the UK and Ireland Green Gown Award for Next Generation Learning and Skills:

Green Gown Award image

And in April 2023, we were informed that we were Finalists in the International Green Gown Awards for the same category and we subsequently Highly Commended:

Gown Gown International Award Highly Commended

In addition, the BASc Global Challenges degree programme was ranked 1st in the UK for Combined Studies in the National Students Survey 2022.

I am Principal Investigator for the Evaluating Student Knowledge Exchange project which commenced in September 2020 and runs until the end of 2023. A final conference and stake holder events took place in Kitwe, Zambia in September 2023.

The over-arching objective of the project is to investigate the student-derived benefits of international knowledge exchange activities for students and community members in the UK and Zambia.To achieve this we have been working closely with the Copperbelt Unversity and the University of Zambia, the Department of Resettlement and UNDP appointed refugee resettler scheme coordinators. This project is funded by Reseach England and the Office of Students, as well as by Brunel University. Find out more 

I was a Co-Investigator on the Royal Academy of Engineers project led by Dr Olwenn Martin (PI)

I have been a Co-Investigator on the Science and Technology Facilities Council (2015-2017) funded project to work with the particle physicist Dr Jo Cole (PI) from the College of Engineering Design and Physical Sciences. Together we developed a project entitled The Elusive Ms Higgs: a detective fiction of elementary truths which sought to investigate the use of immersive theatre practice as a tool to engage school pupils with the particle physics associated with the discovery of the Higgs boson. I have published papers and articles on live art and performance. Most recently, a article which considers, Tino Sehgal's approach to producing without producing objects:

A fully revised and updated second edition of my monograph on Marina Abramović (Routledge) was published in 2019 and is available here

Newest selected publications

Richards, M., Hussein, M., Schmidt Rivera, X., Bazzo, G., Hachoofwe, E., Munyaka, J. and et al. (2023) 'Research and Knowledge Exchange Across Borders: Building bridges, creating impact: a demonstration of effective practice'.Research and Knowledge Exchange Across Borders : 2023 Conference. Kitwe, Zambia. 21 - 22 September. [unpublished]

Conference paper

Martin, O., Schmidt Rivera, X. and Richards, M. (2022) 'Navigating the complex dynamics of 'reciprocal' and sustainable knowledge exchange: communities, students, researchers'.3rd International Humanities Congress. Izmir, Turkey and Online.Open Access Link

Conference paper

Richards, M. (2021) 'Evaluating Student Knowledge Exchange through immersive international experiences.'.Planetary Health Alliance Annual Meeting and Festival. San Paulo and Virtual. [unpublished]

Conference paper

Richards, M., Schmidt, X., Paterson, S., Martin, O., Sam, S., Syampungani, S., et al. (2020) 'The ESKE Project : a South-North educational and knowledge exchange framework to enhance food security and livelihoods'. [Poster] Exhibited at. 8th World Sustainability Forum 15 9 2020


Richards, ME. (2018) 'Marina Abramovic'. London/New York: Routledge. ISSN 10: 0815364229 ISSN 13: 9780815364221

More publications(18)