Press Release

University academics awarded RSA Fellowships

Published on 6 June 2019

Two academics from the University of Dundee have been awarded prestigious fellowships to the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), celebrating their outstanding contribution to social progress and development

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Dundee’s Dr Fiona Kumari Campbell, Senior Lecturer in the School of Education and Social Work, and Dr Megan O’Neill, Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences, will join the worldwide fellowship of more than 29,000 individuals who have made significant contributions to their fields, including Dame Judi Dench and Bob Dylan.

Dr Kumari Campbell, an expert in Disability Studies and Social Theory who joined the University of Dundee in 2017, says the recognition from RSA has empowered her to reach out to all local fellows and attempt to see what they could achieve by working together.

“There’s this view that all academics are stuffy or removed from reality but this really isn’t the case anymore. Actually, many people I work with have come from professional jobs or worked in industry before turning to academia and it’s the same with the RSA. It’s a broad church of innovators.

“The RSA were impressed by my work in ableism and disability studies, and I’m very proud of that. I don’t come from a traditional ‘spoon-fed’ background, I was left disabled by a virus whilst studying for my undergraduate degree when I was 18 years old. I think it’s important for people from all walks of life to see disabled people receiving recognition like this. The Paralympics has its inspiring role models, its time academia has its own.”

Dr Megan O’Neill, originally from Michigan, USA, is a specialist in police research and is an Associate Director for the Scottish Institute for Policing Research. She said her appointment to the RSA was a surprise.

“It was completely unexpected but quite exciting,” Dr O’Neill said. “I got an email out of the blue saying the RSA had identified my contribution to policing in Scotland, in terms of directly engaging with Police Scotland to improve their practices and policies such as Stop and Search.

“It’s a fantastic feeling to be a fellow. To receive that outside validation from a well-regarded community is inspiring for any academic and I’m thrilled to be a part of that fellowship.”

Fellowships to the RSA come from a wide array of backgrounds and professions and are distinguished by the letters FRSA. Former fellows of the RSA include Stephen Hawking, Charles Dickens, Karl Marx and Benjamin Franklin.

Notes to editors

About the Royal Society of Arts (RSA)

Founded in 1754, the RSA aims to promote creativity across industry and develop collaborative networks to formulate innovative new ideas and help society flourish. Fellows of the Royal Society are elected by a panel of existing fellows who consider the nominee’s merits, creativity and alignment with the society’s ambitions.

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