Skip to main content


Photo of Dr Maya Vachkova

Dr Maya Vachkova

Senior Lecturer

Dr Maya Vachkova is a systems thinker and facilitator with a passion for social issues and participatory organisational transformations. She holds an LLM, an MA in Peace, Conflict and Development and a PhD in Systems Thinking.

Research interests

Research projects:

PhD project in Systems Thinking: Identity and Marginalisation – the case of the Bulgarian face-veiling ban. A systemic evaluation of the effects of the face-veiling legislation as an intervention in a system of ethnic identities.

State-led Interventions and Systems of Identity – an exploratory study of how perspectives form in relation to each other when identity expressions are legislated against.

Systemic Suicide Prevention – an analysis of the framing of suicide prevention in British policy documents, focusing on the British construction industry.

Innovation and Business Ethics in Chinese SMEs – an exploratory study of SMEs in the province of Hubei, China. The study established a positive relationship between technological innovation and responsible business practices in terms of social and environmental sustainability. 

Big Data and MSMEs in Malaysia - an exploration of the extent to which Big Data and predictive analytics were used in by Malaysian MSMEs  and their application to supply chain, consumer relationship management and warehouse management.

Summertime and Covid-19 – a Big Data analysis of TripAdvisor reviews before and after the pandemic to estimate changing patterns of consumer priorities. Reviews of hotels from seven Spanish (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, La Palma) and seven Greek summer vacation destinations (Santorini, Corfu, Rhodes, Kos, Crete, Mykonos and Cephalonia) were used for a large-scale machine-aided sentiment analysis.



Espinosa, E., Midgley, G. and Walker, J. (2021). Review of the Hull University Teaching Hospitals (HUTH) Trust’s COVID Response in the First and Second Waves: Overview Report. Centre for Systems Studies, Faculty of Business, Law and Politics. Kingston upon Hull: Hull University.

Vachkova, M., Midgley, G., Espinosa, A. and Walker, J. (2021). Review of the Hull University Teaching Hospitals (HUTH) Trust COVID Response: Interim Report. Kingston upon Hull: Hull University Teaching Hospitals Trust.

Ghouri, A. M., Akhtar, P., Vachkova, M., Shahbaz, M., Tiwari, A. K., & Palihawadana, D. (2019). Emancipatory Ethical Social Media Campaigns: Fostering Relationship Harmony and Peace. Journal of Business Ethics, 1-14.

Khan, M., Khan H., Vachkova, M (2021). The mediating role of location-based user-generated content and tourist purchase intentions. Advances in Hospitality and Tourism Research.

Shahi, A. and Vachkova, M. (2018). Eco-Sectarianism: From Ecological Disasters to Sectarian Violence in Syria. Asian Affairs, 49(3), pp.449-467.

Shahi, A. and Vachkova, M. (2018). Water Security and the Rise of Sectarian Conflict in Yemen In Mujtaba, I., Majozi, T., Amosa, M. (eds.). (2019). Water Management. Boca Raton: CRC Press, pp 3-11. 




Maya was born in Varna, Bulgaria. She attended the First Language School in Varna and moved on to achieve an LLM at the University of Sofia in 2011. During the Arab Spring, Maya worked in the refugee sector in Bulgaria. As such, Maya has facilitated multiple meetings between Government agencies in Bulgaria, the UNHCR and NGOs from the refugee sector, in order to find collaborative solutions to the pressing refugee crisis in Bulgaria. One of the outcomes of those meetings was an agreed internship programme between the University of Sofia and the Border Agency in Bulgaria.

Since then, Maya has had a keen interest in stakeholder engagement and marginalisation processes. She has researched the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, particularly the role of water management in sectarian violence. In 2016, she was awarded a full scholarship from the Centre for Systems Studies at the University of Hull, where she benefited from the mentorship and guidance of Professor Gerald MidgleyProfessor Yasmin Merali and Professor Gerry Johnstone. Maya's PhD project was in systemic marginalization and identoty processes, focusing on the face-veil ban in Bulgaria.

Maya is familiar with several methodologies for applied systems thinking (critical systems heuristics, soft systems methodology and the viable system model). Maya has delivered systemic consultancies in SMEs from the Bulgarian food sector where she helped small businesses rethink their sales and distribution strategy. She participated in the first of its kind COVID-19 management evaluation project at a British NHS Trust. The project was an employee-led evaluation of the Trust’s COVID-19 management relying on the viable system model (VSM) to inform recommendations for the Trust.

 Edit profile