skip to primary navigationskip to content

Dr Kelly Fagan Robinson

Dr Kelly Fagan Robinson

Teaching Associate

Disability, communication, health and social policy


My work focuses on disability, communication, health and social policy. It foregrounds the ways that individual histories, bodies, sensorial hierarchies, education, and experiences of formalized care can generate epistemic dissonances/injustices for people with disabilities. My anthropology doctorate was awarded by University College London (UCL) in 2018. My thesis, Looking to Listen (ESRC/AHRC multidisciplinary studentship, Public Policy and Heritage), investigated deaf people’s visual-tactile communication resources, as well as institutional reception or resistance to deaf-centred communication practices. My broader research focuses on the social relations that contribute to understandings of ‘disability’ as a category of personhood, and how these inform disability-centric knowledge-making particularly within systems of care. I employ multimodal methodological approaches to zero in on the components that generate individual understanding, incorporating the ways that embedded perceptions of disability contribute to epistemic dissonance and inequalities, as well as how communication affordances influence knowledge-making processes and value judgements within health and social care in the UK and internationally.

In 2019, I was an invited lecturer at UFRGS, Porto Alegre (Brazil), delivering an intensive post-graduate/MPhil course on disability and epistemic alterity. This course was part of a two-year grant designed to support collaboration between Medical Anthropologists from the UK and colleagues from Brazil, facilitating a comparative review of lived experiences of disability in both countries. I will be working with Dr. Sahra Gibbon (UCL) to coordinate a 2020 UK programme with counter visits from Brazilian colleagues, facilitating seminars and workshops around disability and health in various global contexts. Since May 2019, I have worked with Dr. Maryon McDonald and Dr. Ignacia Arteaga as part of the ‘Elusive Risk’ CRUK pump-priming study (University of Cambridge), collecting and documenting conceptions of and responses to cancer, risk, and care across a broad diversity of Cambridgeshire people.

I am an Honorary Research Associate in Anthropology at UCL.

Dr Kelly Fagan Robinson on the Department of Social Anthropology website


Social Anthropology:
Disability, communication, health and social policy

Research Interests

Deafness/Disability; social, sensory, medical, bio-social anthropology; epistemic injustice; communication; affordance theory; linguistic ethnography, and social semiotic multimodality