Dr Karl Kitching

Dr Karl Kitching

School of Education
Reader in Education Policy
Director of Research in the School of Education

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Karl joined the School of Education, University of Birmingham in June 2020 as a Reader in Education Policy. Previously he was a Senior Lecturer in Education, and Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at University College Cork, Ireland.

His research and teaching focuses on challenging multiple inequalities in education, in childhood and in young people’s lives. His most recent publications include the book Childhood, Religion and School Injustice (Cork University Press, 2020). This book examines how children and parents negotiate secular-religious relations and inequalities across school contexts. He has published a range of internationally peer-reviewed articles on young people’s experiences of racism in school, race theory in education, the sexualisation of childhood, children’s religious identities at school, teacher motivation, and critical theory and pedagogy. Karl's first book was titled The Politics of Compulsive Education: Racism and Learner-Citizenship (Routledge 2014). This book explores how racism, education and resistance have been entangled in Ireland from the colonial to the global age, and offers new ways of thinking about anti-racism in education as a form of learner-citizenship.

He is currently PI on an Irish cross-institutional project focused on teaching for social justice in HE called Disciplines Inquiring into Societal Challenges (DISCs) 


  • PhD (Institute of Education, University of London)
  • MEd (St Patrick’s College of Education, Dublin City University)
  • BEd. (St Patrick’s College of Education, Dublin City University)



Recent publications


Kitching, K 2020, Childhood, Religion and School Injustice. Cork University Press.


Kitching, K 2022, 'Contemporary, racialised conflicts over LGBT-inclusive education: more strategic secularisms than secular/religious oppositions?', Educational Review. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131911.2022.2054959

Kitching, K 2022, 'Contemporary, racialised conflicts over LGBT-inclusive education: more strategic secularisms than secular/religious oppositions?', Educational Review. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131911.2022.2054959

Horgan, D, Fernandez, E & Kitching, K 2022, 'Walking and talking with girls in their urban environments: a methodological meandering', Irish Journal of Sociology. https://doi.org/10.1177/07916035221088408

Kiely, E, Ging, D, Kitching, K & Leane, M 2021, 'Parents displaying family consumption in Ireland', Families, Relationships and Societies. https://doi.org/10.1332/204674321x16358719361010

Kitching, K, Fernandez, E & Horgan, D 2021, 'Sweets are my 'best friend': belonging, bargains and body-shaming in working class girls' food and health relationships', Children's Geographies. https://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2021.1937522

Fernández, E, Kitching, K & Horgan, D 2021, 'Young girls’ experiences of ‘good’ food imperatives in a working class school community: rethinking food desire?', Cambridge Journal of Education, vol. 2021, pp. 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1080/0305764X.2021.1877618

Kiely, E, Ging, D, Kitching, K & Leane, M 2021, '“A source of anxiety like never before”: unpacking the Irish print media sexualisation of children discourse', Teanga: The Journal of the Irish Association for Applied Linguistics, vol. 12, no. 12, pp. 89-113. <https://journal.iraal.ie/index.php/teanga/article/view/500>

Kitching, K, Kiely, E, Ging, D & Leane, M 2020, 'Parents' encounters with 'the sexualisation of childhood': Paying attention differently?', Gender and Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540253.2020.1786011

Ging, D, Kiely, E, Kitching, K & Leane, M 2019, '#Slane Girl, beauty pageants and padded bras: flashpoints in the sexualisation of children debate in Irish media and political discourse', Feminist Media Studies, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 4122-427. https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2018.1467943

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Fernandez, E, Kitching, K & Horgan, D 2022, Experiencing school food policy and practice: learning from eleven-year-old girls in a working-class community in Ireland. in D Ruge, I Torres & D Powell (eds), School Food, Equity and Social Justice: Critical Reflections and Perspectives. 1st edn, Critical Studies in Health and Education, Routledge, pp. 78-94. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003112587-7


Hall, T, Byrne, D, Bryan, A, Kitching, K, Ní Chróinín, D, O’Toole, C & Addley, J 2021, 'COVID-19 and education: positioning the pandemic; facing the future', Irish Educational Studies, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 147-149. https://doi.org/10.1080/03323315.2021.1915636

Entry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Kitching, K 2020, Communion, Holy. in The Sage Handbook of Children and Childhood Studies. SAGE Publications, pp. 545-546.

Review article

Kitching, K 2020, 'Book Review: White privilege: the myth of a post-racial society by Kalwant Bhopal', Journal of Education Policy.

Working paper

Gillborn, D, Bhopal, K, Crawford, CE, Demack, S, Gholami, R, Kitching, K, Kiwan, D & Warmington, P 2021 'Evidence for the commission on race and ethnic disparities' University of Birmingham. https://doi.org/10.25500/epapers.bham.00003389

View all publications in research portal