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Professor Matthew Johnson

Formerly at Lancaster University

Matthew Johnson

Office Hours:

Lent & Summer Terms

Monday 09:00-11:00


Research overview

My research converges around the relationship between culture, public policy and wellbeing, leading me to examine such diverse topics as: Universal Basic Income and its effect on public health; emotions and governance during crises; invasive practices and criminal justice, and the Engagement agenda in Higher Education.

At present, I am leading a multidisciplinary team examining the health case for Universal Basic Income. This project examines the potential of the policy to advance public health in the wake of a decade of austerity and in the middle of a global pandemic at a time in which policy makers are both more aware than ever of the need for public health measures and less able than ever to deploy traditional means to deal with the crisis. 

We have made crucial contributions to five areas of the debate by: 1) mapping out pathways to health through a model of impact developed from existing evidence that suggests broader, cascading benefits than previously asserted within the literature; 2) identifying deficits in previous evaluations that have prevented accurate measurement of health impact and developing research protocols in response; 3) developing a method of modelling through dynamic microsimulation that suggests the long-term positive economic impact of the policy from savings in health budgets and increased productivity may make a generous UBI affordable; 4) demonstrating that public support for the policy is much higher than politicians believe by deploying behavioural science to examine trends in perceptions and, 5) presenting the first examination of the ethics of deploying UBI to promote health.

In addition to my monograph, Evaluating Culture: Wellbeing, Institutions and Circumstance (Palgrave), have written about the following clusters of issues:

The health case for Universal Basic Income in Journal of Medical Ethics, Journal of Public Health, Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, Evidence & Policy, Basic Income Studies, Social Theory & Health

Invasive cultural practices and genital cutting in American Journal of Bioethics, Journal of Medical Ethics, Ethnicities

Evaluating cultural commitments and their impact on wellbeing and fundamentalism in International Politics, Australian Journal of Political Science, Australian Journal of Politics and History, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, Educational Theory, Social Indicators Research

Engagement, Widening Participation and Outreach in Studies in Higher EducationBritish Journal of Educational Studies, Journal of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, Journal of Political Science Education, Journal of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, British Journal of Educational Studies

I have edited several edited books, including The Legacy of Marxism (Bloomsbury), and am the founding editor of the journal, Global Discourse (Bristol University Press)

I have secured over £850,000 in funding to lead a number of research projects, including an international, interdisciplinary, participatory study entitled ‘A Cross-cultural Working Group on “Good Culture” and Precariousness’, which involved a research network of over 30 academics and embedded exchanges between community members from Ashington, Northumberland and Aboriginal groups around Brisbane. Two films covering the project have been produced by Brightmoon Media. My work has also been covered on the BBC One Show and Al Jazeera and in The Independent and elsewhere. I am a regular contributor to national and international media.

I am a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, have twice been nominated for a National Teaching Fellowship, and have taught at the Universities of Newcastle, Queensland, Iceland and York. I was the founder and co-ordinator of the Association for Academic Outreach (AfAO), which facilitates research, development and dissemination of outreach good practice by and for academics.


Lancaster University Profile





Google Scholar




Global Discourse

A Cross-Cultural Working Group on 'Good Culture' and Precariousness

Association for Academic Outreach

Politics/IR Outreach

YouTube Archive: A Cross Cultural Working Group on ‘Good Culture’ and Precariousness

Research Interests

Current Teaching

Additional Information


My work has been covered by The Independent, Al Jazeera, the BBC and various other newspapers and outlets.

I have contributed essays to Foreign Affairs, The ABC, The Conversation, Journal of Medical Ethics Blog and London Economic.

I have been interviewed on, among other things, British politics, regional politics in the North East and North West, Aboriginal politics, cultural diversity, Eastern European politics, the Ukraine conflict. Since 2015, I have been BBC Radio Cumbria’s General Election night analyst. I am more than happy to be interviewed on the broad topics outlined under ‘research interests’ above.

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