Dr Nicki Ward

Nicki Ward

Department of Social Work and Social Care

Contact details

Department of Social Work and Social Care
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Nicki is a Lecturer in the School of Social Policy. Her primary role, as a social work lecturer, enables her to combine her interests in social work, social care and social justice. Nicki is particularly interested in issues diversity, intersectionality and care ethics. Along with Nicola Gale she is currently advancing work around the development of an LGBTQ inclusive curriculum in higher education.


  • PG Cert (2009)
  • PhD (2005)
  • MA SocRes (2001)
  • BSocSc(Hons) (2000)
  • CSS (1988)
  • City & Guilds 731 (1984)


Having left school without GCSEs or 'A' Levels Nicki spent over twenty years working with people with disabilities in a variety of social care agencies; she entered higher education for the first time in 1997 as a mature student. 8 years of study followed culminating in the completion of a Phd which examined lesbian experiences of social exclusion for which Nicki received the Ashley prize for the best social sciences thesis.


Nicki teaches on a number of modules in the School of Social Policy as well as contributing to other teaching within the College of Social Sciences. Her primary interests are in: equality, citizenship and social inclusion; working with diversity - with particular emphasis on issues relating to sexuality and disability; ethics and values, and research methods and methodology. Nicki also contributes the interdisciplinary MRes in Gender and Sexuality Studies.


Nicki's research interests reflect her teaching interests, particularly sexuality and learning disability. Her current research activities are focussed on LGBTQ inclusivity in Higher Education and she continues to explore issues of care and relationships with particular reference to people with learning disabilities who care for others and caring relationships amongst LGBT communities. She is also working with the British Institute for Learning Disabilities developing research around Ageing and Learning Disability.



Barnes, M., Brannelly, P., Ward, L. and Ward, N.J. (forthcoming 2015) Renewing Care: critical international perspectives on the ethics of care.',Bristol: Policy Press

Book chapters

Ward N. (2012) 'Complicating Actions and Complicated lives: raising questions about narrative theory through an exploration of lesbian lives' in Kupferberg et al (eds) Biography and Turning Points in Europe and America, Bristol: Policy Press.

Ward, N (2012) 'Commentary - Case 2.1 Why Should I have to reveal anything about my personal life? A dilemma for a lesbian student in Britain' in Banks, S. and Nohr, K (eds) Practising Social Work Ethics Around the World: Cases and Commentaries’ London: Routledge.

Ward, N (2008)'Multi Agency Working and Partnership in services for Adults with Learning Disabilities' in Morris, K. (ed) 'Social Work and Multi Agency Working - Challenges and Opportunities', Bristol: Policy Press.

Research reports

Baker, C., Johnson, K., Virgo, L. and Ward, N. (2012) 'Fulfilling Potential Consultation: The Views of People with Learning Disabilities who are Carers'.

Holman, A., Rank, E., Ward, N. and West, R. (2009) 'Sharing the Caring: Finding out about the support for carers for people with learning disabilities'. PRTC and Crossroads: Caring for Carers.

Ward, N. J. (2005) 'Social Exclusion and Mental Wellbeing: Lesbian Experiences', PhD thesis, University of Birmingham.

Paper presentations

2014 Keynote Presentation 'Older People with Learning Disabilities and Public Policy: Where are we now?' British Institute for Learning Disabilities, Ageing and People with Learning Disabilities: In search of Evidence.'

2012 'Communities of Care: Exploring expressions of care in cultural communities'. Critical Care: Advancing an ethic of care in theory and practice, University of Brighton.

2012 'The Importance of Reciprocity and Mutuality: people with learning disabilities as carers' Critical Care: Advancing an ethic of care in theory and practice, University of Brighton.

2010 Keynote Presentation 'Exploring the Theoretical, Cultural and Policy Implications' Of 'Care' in LGBT Communities, Count Me In Too: transforming LGBT Lives, Brighton.

2010 'Negotiating relationships across professional and lay boundaries: An ethic of care approach', Interprofessional Ethics Conference, University of Sheffield (invited workshop' facilitator with Professor Marian Barnes).

2010 'Are We There Yet: heteronormativity in social work education', JSWEC Conference, University of Hertfordshire.

2009 'The Development of Writing Skills for Undergraduate Social Work Students: connecting academic and professional requirements. EATAW conference, University of Coventry.

2009'People with Learning Disabilities who are Carers'. JUCSWEC Conference, University of Hertfordshire.

2008 Complicating Actions and Complicated Lives: Raising questions about narrative theory through an exploration of lesbian lives. Paper presented to the International Sociological Association Forum of Sociology, Barcelona, Spain.

2007 The Cultural Aspects of Social Inclusion: towards a material discursive framework. Paper presented to Social Policy Association Conference, University of Birmingham June 2007.'

Journal articles

Ward, N.J. (forthcoming 2015) Special Issue, Ageing and Learning Disabilities, British Journal of Learning Disabilities

Galvani, S. and Ward, N. (2013) 'Editorial' Social Work Education: The International Journal, Vol 32, 2.

Willis, P., Ward, N. J. And Fish, J. (2011) 'Searching for LGBT carers: mapping a research agenda in social work and social care', British Journal of Social Work.

Hughes, N. Wainwright, S and Ward, N. J. (2011)'Developing the writing skills of social work students: connecting academic and professional expertise, EATAW Journal inaugural edition.

Hughes, N. And Ward, N. J. (2011) 'Munro backed by Research', Community CareJune 3rd 2011.

Ward, N. J. (2011) 'Care Ethics and Carers with Learning Disabilities: A Challenge to dependence and paternalism'Ethics and Social WelfareVol 5 no 2.

Ward, N. J. (2009)'Social Exclusion, Social Identity and Social Work: defining social exclusion from a material discursive perspective'Journal of Social Work Education, Vol 28 no 3.

View all publications in research portal