The Tempered Radical and Other Stories

Teaching and Learning Building lecture room 2
Thursday 22 June 2023 (16:00-17:00)

For more information, please contact the College's communications team


As part of the College of Social Sciences inaugural lecture series, join Professor Nicola Gale, who will share five stories of a working life in the higher education sector.

There is no one way to craft an academic career and even calling it ‘crafting’ is a significant overstatement at times. Doors open. Doors close. And every now and then, you come across one that is worth knocking down.

In 2009, just as I took on my first role at the University of Birmingham, I also gave a talk at a British Sociological Association event for early career academics, called “A Slightly Scenic Route to An Academic Career”, where I reflected on the mix of part time and temporary roles – research, teaching, and knowledge exchange – that I had assembled to pay the (London) bills and gain experience since completing my PhD. Fast forward twelve years (via a departmental move, many failed funding applications as well as a few successful ones, working with inspiring collaborators, teaching a range of fantastic students, as well as a marriage, two house renovations, and becoming a mother) and, in 2021, I was appointed to a Chair in Health Policy and Sociology from the same institution.

In my inaugural lecture, I will share five stories about the highlights for me both inside and outside the academy over the years, the things I’m most proud of, and the biggest challenges I’ve faced personally, exploring them within the context of the challenges that higher education as a sector has faced. In the title story, The Tempered Radical, I will reflect on how I try to knock down doors (radical) but in a way that gains traction and mobilises others, rather than pushing them away (tempered), all while striving to ‘succeed’ in the same organisation in which I am trying to drive change.

Nicola GaleAbout Professor Nicola Gale

Professor Nicola Gale, MA, PhD, is a health sociologist and interdisciplinary health researcher, working in the fields of health services research, public health, primary care, community-led, and complementary health care. She specialises in qualitative and mixed methods research. Nicola's core substantive research interest is health care practice and the everyday work of professionals, para-professionals, complementary and lay healthcare workers, particularly those working in community and primary care settings. She is committed to theoretically-informed empirical work that involves, aids better understanding of, and meets the needs of a diverse population. Nicola is currently Head of the School of Social Policy, and Co-Director of the Confronting Antimicrobial Resistance (CARe) research theme in the Institute of Global Innovation.

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About the College of Social Sciences Inaugural Lecture Series

An inaugural lecture is a key milestone in any academic's career, signifying their promotion to 'Professor'. It is an opportunity for our new professorial colleagues to present their innovative research first-hand. All of these events are free of charge and attendance is open to all, and we look forward to sharing the experience with you.

Find out more about the series and forthcoming events