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Dr Rhys Kelly

Associate Professor

Faculty/Dept/School School of Social Sciences
(Faculty of Management, Law and Social Sciences)
Telephone +441274 235450


I am Associate Professor in Conflict Resolution in the Department of Peace Studies and International Development, and currently Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching for the Faculty of Management, Law and Social Sciences. Much of my work - my research, teaching and educational leadership - has learning as a central and connecting theme. For example, individuals, groups and societies who are dealing with conflict and its legacies are fundamentally engaged in learning processes - to understand what caused conflict, to understand others who have become enemies, to understand the impacts that conflict has on self and others, and to find ways to build trust and relationship after conflict. Similarly, communities that are having to adapt to climate change (the focus of more recent research) have to learn about the changes and risks they are facing, about what is possible (or not) in response, and how to make good decisions in conditions of conflict and uncertainty. In both areas, my research has concerned the kinds of processes - including peace education and community engagement - that can support individual and social learning.

Recent work on community engagement and climate adaptation for/with national agencies (Environment Agency, DEFRA, Natural Resources Wales) formed the basis of a successful REF impact case-study. The work contributed new knowledge and practice tools that have been adopted widely in a range of high profile projects, that influenced national policy and continue to generate interest and application. See: Working together to adapt to a changing climate - flood and coast - GOV.UK (

As an educator, I also have strong interest in learning processes/methods and what can support meaningful, lasting changes in understanding in our students. As an educator working in the field of conflict resolution, I'm particularly interested in how we can help to cultivate different kinds of learning - the  knowledge, professional skills, and personal qualities needed for this challenging area of practice. And in my roles as Director of Studies and now Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching, I am interested in supporting the development of effective, interesting and appropriate pedagogic practice in the different parts of the Faculty.


My background is in Conflict Resolution/Peace Studies. Over the last years the focus of my work has shifted to take account of the pressing challenges posed by ecological crises, including climate change. I have been engaged in a number of projects concerned with questions about what individual and social learning are needed and possible in the context of increasing global insecurity, which might support just and peaceful transitions to more resilient, ‘sustainable’ communities. I am currently working on an action research project with the Environment Agency/Natural Resources Wales, exploring how to engage communities facing long-term climate adaptation challenges in productive conversation and planning.

Date Role Title / Description Funder Award
01-FEB-18 - 01-JUN-20ResearcherWorking together to adapt to a changing climate: flood and coast
27-APR-21 - 31-JUL-21Principal Investigator (Joint)Using Simulation Methods to Engage Coastal Communities in Conversations about Climate Adaptation
06-JAN-20 - 31-JUL-20Principal Investigator (Joint)Understanding and developing ‘readiness’ for climate change adaptation planning in contexts of uncertainty.
01-APR-21 - 30-JUL-21Co-InvestigatorConnected Communities: understanding communities in their historical and cultural contexts and their role in sustaining and enhancing quality of life


Teaching interests

My teaching has mostly been in the area conflict resolution, and I make significant contributions to the current MA programme: Advanced Practice in Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution. I teach about theories of conflict, conflict analysis methods, different methods of conflict resolution / engagement, transitional justice and reconciliation, and environmental conflict resolution. I also teach on the MA Peace, Resilience and Social Justice, contributing to classes on climate change and ecological crisis, resilience thinking and practice, climate adaptation, and climate justice

I have had a longstanding interest in theories and processes of teaching and learning, going right back to my undergraduate dissertation (on the relationship between education and democracy). I have a teaching qualification (PGCHEP) and achieved recognition as a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2014. My approach to teaching has taken inspiration from 'critical' educators like Paolo Freire, Henry Giroux, bell hooks and Megan Boler, and from those that advocate for more active, applied and experiential learning. My classes often involve activities based around real-world problems or tasks, and which involve collaborative inquiry and critical reflection. With all the varied experience and perspectives that our students in Peace Studies bring, we can often have very rich and interesting discussions. 

Professional activities

  • 01-JAN-96:  University of Bradford - BA (Hons)
  • 01-JAN-99:  University of Bradford - Postgraduate Diploma
  • 01-JAN-03:  University of Bradford - PhD
  • 01-JAN-06:  University of Bradford - Postgraduate Certificate Higher Education Practice
  •  University of Bradford  - Associate Professor
  • 01-JAN-14: Senior Fellow
  • Environment Agency / Icarus - Senior Associate for Icarus, contracting with the Environment Ageny


TitleReadiness assessment in flood risk management and climate adaptation: A mechanism for social innovation? (2023)
AuthorsRhys Kelly, Ute Kelly
JournalJournal of Flood Risk Management
TitleAvoiding the Anthropocene: An Assessment of the Extent and Nature of Engagement with Environmental Issues in Peace Research (2021)
AuthorsRhys Kelly
JournalPeace and Conflict Studies
TitleResilience, Solidarity, Agency: Grounded Reflections on Challenges and Synergies (2017)
AuthorsKelly, Ute; Kelly, Rhys H.S.
TitleTowards Peaceful Adaptation? Reflections on the purpose, scope, and practice of peace studies in the 21st Century (2013)
AuthorsKelly, Rhys H.S.; Kelly, Ute
TitleAn education in homecoming: peace education as the pursuit of 'appropriate knowledge' (2013)
AuthorsKelly R.;Kelly U.
JournalJournal of Peace Education
TitleProductive Contradictions: dissonance, resistance and change in an experiment with cooperative learning (2008)
AuthorsRhys Kelly and Betts Fetherston
JournalJournal of Peace Education
TitleTestimony, Witnessing and Digital Activism (2008)
AuthorsRhys Kelly
TitleConflict Resolution and Transformative Pedagogy: A Grounded Theory Research Project on Learning in Higher Education (2007)
AuthorsFetherston, A. Betts; Kelly, Rhys H.S.
TitleMemory and Reconciliation in Post-Conflict Societies (2007)
AuthorsRhys Kelly
TitleBecoming vulnerable in the era of climate change: Questions and dilemmas for a pedagogy of vulnerability (2020)
AuthorsKelly, Ute and Kelly, Rhys
JournalPedagogy of Vulnerability
PublisherInformation Age Publishing
TitleAn Education in Homecoming: Peace Education as the pursuit of Appropriate Knowledge (2017)
AuthorsKelly, Ute and Kelly, Rhys
JournalPeace Education: Past, Present and Future
TitleNurturing social and ecological relationships: The contribution of conflict resolution education (2016)
AuthorsKelly R.
JournalEducation in Times of Environmental Crises: Teaching Children to Be Agents of Change
Publication NameRevisiting Adam Curle’s ‘Education for Peace’. (2016)
AuthorsRhys Kelly
Publication Name. ‘Where now for Peace Education?: Theory and Praxis for the 21st Century’ (2015)
AuthorsRhys Kelly and Ute Kelly
Publication NameCambridge Peace and Education Research Seminar (2015)
AuthorsKelly, Ute and Kelly, Rhys
Publication NameReconstructing Peace Studies: Assessing New Knowledge and Outcomes (2014)
AuthorsRhys Kelly, Ute Kelly
Publication NameWorkshop on the Radical Reductions Agenda and Implications for Peace Studies (2014)
AuthorsRhys Kelly, Ute Kelly
Publication NamePolitical Action, Resilience and Solidarity (2014)
AuthorsKelly, Ute and Kelly, Rhys
Publication NameDisciplines of Peace Conference (2012)
AuthorsReflections on teaching ‘disciplines for Peace’.
Publication NameBeyond Current Horizons: New Challenges and Opportunities for Education (2009)
AuthorsRhys Kelly
Publication NameMapping Conversations on Resilience and Vulnerability in the Context of Future Uncertainty (2008)
AuthorsRhys Kelly
TitleWorking Together to Adapt to a Changing Climate: Review of Project Learning (2023)
AuthorsUte Kelly, Rhys Kelly
PublisherEnvironment Agency
TitleUsing future scenarios to inform engagement planning (2023)
AuthorsRhys Kelly, Karen Saunders
PublisherEnvironment Agency
TitleReadiness Assessment: Tools and Techniques (2023)
AuthorsRhys Kelly, Ute Kelly, Karen Saunders
PublisherEnvironment Agency
TitleDeveloping a simulation: review of learning (2023)
AuthorsUte Kelly, Rhys Kelly
PublisherEnvironment Agency
TitleDeveloping Tools for Readiness Assessment: Review of Learning. (2023)
AuthorsRhys Kelly, Ute Kelly
PublisherEnvironment Agency
TitleCommunity Engagement on Climate Adaptation: An Evidence Review (2019)
AuthorsRhys Kelly, Ute Kelly
PublisherEnvironment Agency
TitleExperiences of Transition Research: Report for AHRC Connected Communities: “Connection, Participation and Empowerment in Community-Based Research: the Case of the Transition Movement”. (2013)
AuthorsRhys Kelly, Ute Kelly
Title‘What Kind of Talk Does Resilience Need?’, (2009)
AuthorsUte Kelly, Steve Smith, Rhys Kelly
TitleCommunity Cohesion – Moving Bradford Forward (2003)
AuthorsRhys Kelly, Shiela Philpott
PublisherGovernment Office for Yorkshire and The Humber
Other typeBlog
TitleWhy We're Not Ditching Resilience Yet... (2015)
AuthorsUte Kelly & Rhys Kelly