Dr Diane Levine

Assistant Professor/Lecturer, and Visiting Research Associate (Centre for Social Development in Africa, University of Johannesburg)

School/Department: Criminology, School of



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I began my career as a primary school teacher and was then in civil service for over a decade before completing my PhD. As a result I have been - and continue to be - committed to social change through education and evidence-informed policy.

My research is focused on understanding the ways in which children and adolescents survive and thrive when life is challenging, particularly in a digital world, and in relation to addressing child abuse/neglect/maltreatment and child protection. I take a multisystemic approach to understanding childhood resilience; in effect this means that resilience is not the responsibility solely of an individual or wholly an inherent character trait but resilience pathways arise and are travelled through the interplay of many systems all of which themselves require resilience enablers. I align myself with the Africa(n)-aligned/Africa(n)-centred research movement as most of my research is located in and carried out with Africans (primarily South Africa and Kenya) who are vastly under-represented in most literatures on childhood and adolescence.



Selected externally-funded awards:

PI: Positive adaptation to compound risk: Learning about mental health resilience from African emerging adults (£50000, British Academy, 2021)

CI: Covid in Cartoons (PI: Dr Fransiska Louwagie £300000, AHRC, 2021 - 2022)

PI: Child youth and family wellbeing in a digital world (£10000, Internet Matters, 2021)

UK PI: Digital storytelling and youth resilience in South Africa (PI: Prof Linda Theron Pretoria, £20000, British Academy Newton Fund, 2018)

CI: Rutherford Fund Strategic Partnership Grant & Workshop (PI: Prof Lisa Smith, £46000, BEIS/UUKi, 2018)

CI: DigiGen: The impact of technological transformations on the digital generation (UK PI: Prof Athina Karatzogianni, £1000000, H2020)

CI: CoMaCH: Co-designing community-based ICT interventions to enhance maternal and child health in South Africa (PI: Dr Melissa Densmore/Dr Nervo Verdezoto Dias; £150000, Global Challenges Research Fund, 2019-2020)

MEL: Mental Neurological and Substance Use Disorders in Guyana’s Jails: 1825 to the Present Day (PI: Prof Clare Anderson; Dr Melissa Ifill; £1200000, Global Challenges Research Fund, 2019) 

Selected internally-funded awards:

Co-PI: Perceptions of safety and resilience: mapping the environmental experiences of children living in Orange Farm township (Co-PI: Dr Sarah Johnson £8000, GCRF (Research England), 2021)

CI: Political Cartooning and Peace-Building in Conflict and Post-Conflict Contexts (PI: Dr Fransiska Louwagie, with Africartoons, Dr Betty Mwiti, Dr Ingrid Bamberg, Tache d’Encre, £10,000, GCRF(Research England), 2021)

CI: Air quality and youth resilience in South Africa (PI: Prof Martin Tobin, with Dr Caradee Wright, SAMRC, £17,000, GCRF(Research England), 2020)

PI: South African Youth resilience during COVID-19 (with Prof Linda Theron, £17,000, GCRF(Research England), 2020)

I am also grateful for support from the ESRC Impact Accelerator Account, Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund, and the CSSAH College Research Development Fund. 


Peer review journal articles

  1. Katz, C., Cohen, N., Attrash-Najjar, A., Glucklich, T., Jacobson, M., Varela, N., Priolo-Filho, S., Chang, O.D., Haffejee, S., Kaawa-Mafigiri, D., Katz, I., Maguire-Jack, K., Massarweh, N., Tarabulsy, G., Levine, D.T., Wekerle, C. (2024). The remote work of child protection professionals during COVID-19: A scoping review and thematic analysis, Child Abuse and Neglect, 106759, ISSN 0145-2134,
  2. O'Reilly, M.J., Adams, S., Batchelor, R., Levine, D.T. (2023). Exploring the practice of 10-11-year-olds as co-researchers: Using a hybrid approach in educational research to promote children as interviewers. International Journal of Social Research Methodology.

  3. Weidman, S., Levine, D.T., Louwagie, F., Blackmore, K., Theron, L.C., Stekel, D.J. (2023), The role of multisystemic resilience in fostering critical agency: UK adolescents during the Covid-19 pandemic, Current Psychology,
  4. Millar, D.A., Kapwata, T., Kunene, Z., Mogotsi, M., Wernecke, B., Garland, R.M., Mathee, A., Theron, L., Levine, D.T., Ungar, M., Batini, C., John, C., Wright, C., (2022), Respiratory health among adolescents living in the Highveld Air Pollution Priority Area in South Africa, BMC Public Health22, 2136 (2022).
  5. Levine, D.T. & Theron, L. (2022), "Digital storytelling with South African youth: a critical reflection", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.
  6. O’Reilly, M., Levine, D.T., Donoso, V., Voice, L., Hughes, J., & Dogra, N. (2022). Exploring the potentially positive interaction between social media and mental health; the perspectives of adolescents. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry .
  7. Theron LC, Levine D.T., Ungar M. (2022) The inhibitors and enablers of emerging adult COVID-19 mitigation compliance in a township context. S Afr J Sci. 2022;118(5/6), Art. #13173. https://doi. org/10.17159/sajs.2022/13173 
  8. Katz, C., Fallon, B., Colline-Vezina, D., Wekerle, C., Tarabulsy, G., Priolo Filho, S., Katz, I., Tiwari, A., Mass, N., Haffejee, S., Levine, D.T.,Pulido, N., Berube, A., Fouche, A., Korbin, J., Cohen, N., Specht, P., Maquire-Jack, K., Kwaai-Mafigiri, D., Najjar, A., Munir, A., Truter, E., Walker-Williams, H., Desmond, A., Bishop, E., Kefalidou, G., (2022) Child protective services during COVID-19 and doubly marginalized children: International perspective, Child Abuse and Neglect
  9. Theron, L., Levine, D.T., Ungar, M. (2021) Resilience to COVID-19-related stressors: Insights from emerging adults in a South African township. PLoS ONE 16(12): e0260613.
  10. Katz, C., Priolo Filho, S.R., Korbin, J., Bérubé, A., Fouché, A., Haffejee, S., Kaawa-Mafigiri, D.,Levine, D.T., Maguire-Jack, K., Muñoz, P., Spilsbury, J., Tarabulsy, G., Tiwari, A., Truter, E., Varela, N., (2020) Child Maltreatment in the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Proposed Global Framework on Research, Policy and Practice, Child Abuse & Neglect,
  11. Haffejee, S., Levine, D.T. (2020) ‘When will I be free’: Lessons from COVID-19 for Child Protection in South Africa, Child Abuse and Neglect, (online first)
  12. O’Reilly, M., Morton, J., Levine, D.T., (2020), Child Safety in England and Wales during COVID-19 pandemic, Child Abuse and Neglect (online first),
  13. Theron, L.T., Levine, D.T., Ungar, M., (2020), African emerging adult resilience: The importance of self and family, Emerging Adulthood (online first),
  14. O’Reilly, M., Levine, D.T., Law, E., (2020) Applying a ‘digital ethics of care’ philosophy to understand children’s sense of responsibility on social media, Pastoral Care in Education;
  15. Levine, D.T., (2019) Troubling the Discourse: applying Valsiner’s Zones to adolescent girls’ use of digital technologies. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, Vol 28, 4
  16. Levine, D.T., Stekel, D.J. (2016) ‘So why have you added me?’ Adolescent girls' technology-mediated attachments and relationships, Computers in Human Behavior, Vol.63, p.g. 25-34
  17. Levine, D.T., Edwards, C. (2014) Attachment, adolescent girls and technology: a new marriage of ideas and implications for youth work practice, Youth and Policy, Vol 112
  18. Papatraianou, L., Levine, D.T., West, D (2014) Resilience in the face of cyberbullying: an ecological perspective on young people’s experiences of online adversity. Pastoral Care in Education, Vol 32, Issue 4, pp. 264-283

Books and Textbooks

Theron, L, Mitchell, C., Levine, D.T. (Eds) (forthcoming), The Use of Drawings in Social Change Research, Routledge

Page, A., Levine, D., Lincoln, H., Held, K. (forthcoming), Oxford International Computing, 3rd Edition, Oxford University Press

Levine D.T. and Theron, L.T. (forthcoming) Teaching and Learning for Resilience in a Digital World, in Leask, M., Younie, S., Teaching and Learning with Technology in the Primary School (5th edition) Routledge

O’Reilly, M., Dogra, N., Levine, D.T., Donoso, V. (2021). Digital media and child and adolescent mental health: A practical guide to understanding the evidence. London: Sage.

Page, A., Levine, D., Lincoln, H., Held, K. (2020) Oxford International Computing, Oxford University Press

Page, A., Levine, D., Bizior, A., Bunce, S. (2017) Matrix Computing for 11-14, Oxford University Press, Oxford

Page, A., Levine, D.T., Held, K., (2015) Oxford International Primary Computing Series: A project based approach to primary computing, Oxford University Press

Recent reports and Working Papers

  1. Mai-Bornu, Z., Levine, D.T., Dumnamene, F., Godfrey, P., Ungar, M., Theron, L. (2023) Learning from young people in Port Harcourt and Bayelsa, Nigeria, about their experiences of depression: A discussion space report. LIAS Working Paper Series, Vol. 10
  2. Levine, D.T., Bergamini, M., Choi, K.W., Mai-Bornu, Z., Makape, M., Matross, C., Ungar, M., Theron, L.C., (2023). Learning from young people in Gauteng, South Africa, about their experiences of depression: a discussion space report. LIAS Working Paper Series. Vol. 10. 
  3. Louwagie, F., Weidman, S., Bamberg, I., Karimi Mwiti, B., Levine, D.T., Illingworth, J., (2022). Community-building through political cartoons in Kenya, South Africa, and Côte d’Ivoire. LIAS Working Paper Series, Vol. 8.
  4. Levine, D.T., Page, A., Law, E.L., O’Reilly, M. (2021) Child and Family Wellbeing in a Digital World, Internet Matters
  5. Ayllón, S., Barbovschi, M., Casamassima, G., Drossel, K., Eickelmann, B., Ghețău, C., Haragus, T.P., Holmarsdottir, H.B., Hyggen, C., Kapella, O., Karatzogianni, A., Lado, S., Levine, D.T., Lorenz, T., Mifsud, L., Parsanoglou, D., Port, S., Sisask, M., Symeonaki, M., & Teidla-Kunitsõn, G. (2020). ICT usage across Europe: A literature review and an overview of existing data.


Current PhD students:

Hedan Duan (1st)

John Ikeyi (2nd)

Carri-Ann Scott (2nd)

Hafzah Shah (2nd)

Lindah Wakhungu (2nd)



CR2019: Understanding Criminological Research

CR2021: Doing Criminological Research

CR2004: Global Alternative Justice (Co-Convenor)

CR7146: Criminological Research Methods

CR7721: Research Methods 1 (Distance Learning) (Convenor)

CR7723: Research Methods 2 (Distance Learning) (Convenor)


SY3043: Introduction to Second Language Teaching (Convenor)

SY2093: Doing Social Research

SY3091: Education and Social Justice (Convenor)

SY3095: Sociology of Health and Illness (Co-convenor)

MSc Educational Leadership (Distance Learning)

Press and media

Childhood and adolescence in low resource and stressed environments.


2023 - present: Organising group member: National Centre for Research Methods Collaborative and Participatory Special Interest Group

2021 - present: Invited member: UK Child Internet Safety Digital Resilience Working Group

2020 - present: Editorial Board Member: Child Abuse and Neglect

2013 - present: Journals review: Youth and Society; Computers in Human Behavior; Social Science and Medicine; New Media and Society British Journal of Educational Technology; Technology Pedagogy and Education.

2009 - present: Funding bodies review: ESRC Peer Review College Newton Fund British Council GCRF Peer Review College

2007 - 2011: National Research Group member: Training and Development Agency; National College for School Leadership; UK Council for Child Internet Safety Evidence Group cross-government Serious Games Group


University of Leicester 'Inspirational Women' 2022: 

Discovering Excellence Award 2017: Exceptional Team Member




Event and role



EUSARF (2020/2021), speaker "Reviews on child and youth resilience studies" Symposium chair: Rev Prof Adrian Van Breda (Johannesburg)


University of Leicester

Interdisciplinary Futures, organiser


University of Leicester

Alternatives Rites of Passage, organiser


University of Leicester

First GCRF Regional Event, organiser


University of Nairobi

Strategic Global Research Workshop, organiser


Cheltenham Science Festival

What if cyberbullying is over-rated? Invited panellist


University of Warwick: Global and Gifted

Able adolescent women using technology: developing social cognition. Invited talk


University of Cambridge: Kaleidoscope

Social cognition, adolescence and technology: the interdisciplinary challenge. Accepted talk


STELLARnet Alpine Rendevous

Workshop 3: Neurosciences, technology and learning. Invited participant


University of Oxford

ESRC/LSE Seminar Series. Theorising the benefits of new technology for youth. Invited discussant


Sheffield and Bristol

Becta Research Conference. Convener and lead organiser



University of Warwick

PhD (ESRC-funded, pass no corrections)


University of Warwick

MA in Research Methods (ESRC-funded, Distinction)


University of Warwick

MA (by Research, pass)


University of Warwick

BA (QTS) in Combined Arts with a specialism in Music, Class I


Fellow of the Higher Education Academy: 2022

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy: 2021

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