Photo of Dr Kelsey Shanks

Dr Kelsey Shanks

Honorary Research Fellow

My doctoral research was funded by the ESRC and set within a wider research project undertaken by the University of Cambridge, Queens University Belfast and the University of Exeter, entitled ‘Conflict in Cities and the Contested State’. My thesis examined the relationship between education and conflict in the ethnically diverse Iraqi disputed territories. My subsequent research and publications have correspondingly focused on the relationship between education, youth and conflict: with specific interest in community level conflict analysis, the politicisation of identity through formal education structures and educations potential role in building peace. 

In 2013 I held the position of Research Fellow at the University of York’s Postwar Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU), and I am currently a Research Associate at Ulster University’s UNESCO Centre.  To compliment my academic interests I have also worked as an Education Advisor to the United Nations, leading research projects for UNAMI Political Affairs and serving as Peace-building Education advisor to UNICEF Iraq. I have completed both the IOM and Control Risks Security Awareness Training (SAIT) for working in fragile and conflict-affected areas and have fieldwork experience in Iraq, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, and South Central Somalia.

My research fellowship at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies is through Professor Gareth Stansfield’s ESRC funded Iraq Disputed Territories project. My work within the project will focus  on local level analysis; looking at community dynamics and the IDP crisis. 


  • Shanks, Kelsey. "The changing role of education in the Iraqi disputed territories: assimilation, segregation and indoctrination." Globalisation, Societies and Education 14.3 (2016): 422-433.
  • Forthcoming: Shanks, Education’s Peace-building role in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, In: Stansfield ed, The Kurdish Question Revisited, Hurst.
  • Shanks, Kelsey. Education and Ethno-Politics: Defending Identity in Iraq. Routledge, 2015.
  • Barakat S, Connolly D, Hardman F, Lewis A, Lineker B, Menkhaus K, Rzeszut K, and Shanks K, 2014, Beyond Fagility: A Conflict and Education Analysis of the Somali Context. University of York/UNICEF, Somalia, Kenya, 1–220.
  • Shanks, 2014, ‘Teaching Religion: The Evolution of Faith Education in the UK’, in Hanf and El-Mufti (ed) Policies and Politics of Teaching Religion, Hanf El Mufti. Nomos

 Internal Project Reports

  •  Shanks, 2015, ‘Conflict Analysis: Education, Displacement and Fragility in KRI’ UNICEF IRAQ REPORT
  • Shanks, 2015, ‘Peace Education in Central Iraq’ UNICEF IRAQ REPORT
  • Shanks, 2014, ‘Peace Education in KRI: Evolution, Success and Need’ UNICEF IRAQ REPORT
  • Shanks, 2010, ‘Mother Tongue Education Mapping and Analysis: Iraqi DIBS’ Report: UNAMI Baghdad