The research team

The academic members of the research team are based in the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield.

The project is supported by an advisory board of experts.

Julie Walsh

Project Lead

Julie Walsh is the principal investigator of this research project and a lecturer in Sociology at the University. Julie has a long history working in both the third and public sector, in youth and community work, family support and patient and public engagement.   Her research interests grew from her previous career and include using participatory approaches to explore experiences of family, migration, belonging and multiculture. She is committed to research that has a real impact and she is particularly interested in how government policy impacts on the everyday lives of migrant families, and other marginalised people. 

Before starting the ‘Everyday Bordering in the UK’ project, Julie worked as a Researcher on the NORFACE funded Family Complexity and Social Work project, after completing her PhD in Sociology, Anthropology and Gender Studies at the University of Hull. The focus of her PhD was the role of ‘family’ in relationships between diverse communities.  Julie has published her research in various academic journals, and she is a Co-convenor of the BSA Families and Relationships Study Group.  She is also an active member of the Migration Research Network, a University of Sheffield faculty research network.


Asma Khan

Project Researcher

Asma Khan is a research associate at Sheffield University and a researcher on the project. Asma worked as an academic researcher for a number of years before returning to postgraduate study. She completed her PhD, examining the experiences of British Muslim women in the labour market, at Cardiff University in 2018.  Alongside her academic research experience, Asma has worked as a freelance research consultant on a number of practice and policy based research projects for public and third sector organisations. Asma has extensive experience in conducting qualitative research with people (children, young people and adults) from religious and ethnic minority groups and is interested in conducting research that has the potential to make a real difference to the people she works with.

Asma is also Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK, and sits on the executive committee for the Muslims in Britain Research Network.


Professor Sarah Neal

Project Mentor

Professor of Sociology, Sarah Neal provides project mentorship to Julie.  Sarah is the Director of Research in the Department and her research interests include ethnicity, race and multiculture, and community and belonging in rural and urban spaces. Most recently, she was the principal investigator for research concerned with urban ‘Living Multiculture’, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, and the Co-investigator for a study considering rural identities, funded by The Leverhulme Trust. Sarah is also Co-editor of the International Sociological Association journal, Current Sociology, and she is a member of the Editorial Board of Ethnic and Racial Studies.