A Dundee University professor has been awarded the title of Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in recognition of her outstanding work on global social justice.
Professor Lorraine van Blerk, of the university’s Geography and Environmental Sciences department, is among 75 leading social scientists who have been awarded in this year’s group of new fellows.
Professor van Blerk’s research on social justice and equality mainly focuses on young people around the world, empowering some of the poorest members of society to advocate for their rights.
She said: “It is an honour to be made a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.
“The academy provides a platform to promote the importance of social sciences to the wider research community.
“To have my work recognised is a great achievement and demonstrates the value of social sciences.
“By understanding society and social justice issues, we can influence policy and practice for creating solutions to complex global challenges.”
The most important piece of Professor van Blerk’s work is the research project Growing up on the Streets, which explored the lives of street youths in three African cities.
It has impacted the representation of homeless children and given them a voice.
This project has encouraged discussion around reducing violence on the streets, and creating equality and sustainable livelihoods for homeless young people.
Professor van Blerk said: “This prestigious fellowship raises the profile of the work that we do for, and with, young people as well as the impact this can have.
“The work of youth researchers in the Growing up on the Streets project was recently highly commended in The Hidden REF, emphasising the importance of inclusion and representation. Our research also influenced the UN General Comment 21 on Children in Street Situations, cementing young people’s rights in policy.”
Professor van Blerk is currently researching issues of displacement, including exploring the links with environmental change and sustainable livelihoods.
Her work on Youth Transitions in Protracted Crises, exploring the experiences of young refugees in Uganda and Jordan, has impacted policy and was recently highlighted as case study of youth inclusion in UN guidelines.
Really pleased to see our paper on youth transitions as rupture for young refugees in protracted crises now online early in #TIBG @RGS_IBG, with amazing colleagues @IRC_KHF @UYDEL @aidaessaid @RawanWIbrahim @JanineHH258 @LauraPrazeres @badrub @Geog_UoD https://t.co/kBBTri7jyN
— Lorraine van Blerk (@LvanBlerk) October 5, 2021