Senior Research Fellow
Disaster & Climate Resilience (DCR)
Dr. Gavin Sullivan began his academic career with a thesis on Wittgenstein and Reflexivity in New Zealand before moving to Australia to work for the University of Western Sydney, the University of Sydney, and then Monash University in Melbourne. His interests in theoretical psychology quickly developed to include work using a range of qualitative methods and practical experience conducting short-term and long-term psychotherapy in clinical, forensic and private-practice settings. After being awarded a prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship, he spent several years in Berlin researching individual, group-based and collective emotions with various colleagues at the Free University (FU) Berlin. He also developed an interest in community-oriented and social accounts of post-disaster coping and recovery as well as occurrences of emotion in crowds (e.g., at public viewing of football games) and instances of collective pride and hubris in various groups. He has continued to explore and develop his understanding of these topics using theoretical, critical and qualitative approaches after moving to the UK in 2010 following a period as a guest professor with the Languages of Emotion research cluster at the FU. After 5 years working in several UK psychology departments, he was very grateful to have been selected to co-lead the research group focusing on Identity and Resilience in Communities and Organisations as a Reader with the Centre for Research in Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement.
My research is inspired by theoretically-driven and interdisciplinary approaches that typically challenge mainstream psychology research, inspire new perspectives on problems and developing creative solutions working in partnership with the individuals, organisations and communities who experience issues or problems in complex contexts. My research and work with collaborators in the UK, Europe and internationally seeks to challenge taken-for-granted assumptions, develop new innovative theories and generate change through both top-down and bottom-up social and communal processes. In most of my research, affect or emotion and discursive practices are central to understanding complex psychological, social and collective phenomena in a wide range of contexts.