Interdisciplinary team to explore impact of COVID-19 on LGBTQI+ communities in Lambeth

The team have been awarded research funding from London Met’s Transformation Fund Awards to undertake this innovative research project.

Date: 01 December 2020

The Global Diversities and Inequalities Research Centre will lead a study to better understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on LGBTQI+ communities in Lambeth. The project will bring together researchers from the School of Social Professions and the School of Social Sciences, with a team comprising of Sociology’s Professor Louise Ryan, Social Work’s Donna Jones, and Social Psychology’s Dr Karyofyllis (Lakis) Zervoulis. 

Professor Ryan expressed her enthusiasm for the new project, saying: "As a long term resident of Lambeth and a new member of staff at London Met, I am delighted about this new project which provides a valuable opportunity to bring together researchers from the university, colleagues from the local authority and NGOs working with local groups in the borough. This research will feed directly into Lambeth's local work and future strategic plans and so gives London Met researchers an important role in developing real-life impact."

Lambeth has a large proportion of residents from LGBTQI+ communities including those from diverse ethnic backgrounds. In researching how the pandemic and the associated lockdowns have impacted on these communities, particular efforts will be made to include the voices of those who have been less represented in previous research, especially Black and ethnic minority LGBTQI+ people.

As well as conducting a survey and a focus group, the researchers will also use innovative visual methods. The team brings together research expertise in qualitative social research techniques including focus groups (Ryan), creative methods (Jones) and online surveys and statistical analysis (Zervoulis). They will work in close partnership with colleagues at Lambeth Council and local NGOs within the borough.

The project, which starts in January 2021, will contribute to the University’s Empowering London agenda and there will be opportunities for students to get involved in the research.

Donna Jones, Principal Lecturer and Head of Social Work said, "I am thrilled to get the opportunity to develop and reflect upon my research skills with esteemed colleagues as part of this important research project. I hope it inspires students, and social work students in particular, to think creatively about what research can be and the importance of the stories the participants share in making a difference."

As well as producing a report for use by the council, local NGOs and charities across the borough and beyond, the team will also organise an exhibition of the visual images produced in partnership with the research participants. Moreover, the team will write several academic papers based on the analysis of the mixed data.

Dr Karyofyllis (Lakis) Zervoulis, Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology shared his excitement in securing funding for this project, saying, "I feel extremely privileged to be involved in this new project and to work with a great London Met academic team and a valuable external partner, Lambeth Council. I have been conducting academic research on LGBTQI+ issues for some time, and this is a great opportunity towards putting theory into practice and having an impact on real-life communities. I would like to thank London Met and its Transformation Funding team for believing and investing in this project."

The team wishes to express their gratitude to the university for funding this important and innovative project.

A collage of three lecturers

L-R: Donna Jones, Louise Ryan, Karyofyllis (Lakis) Zervoulis