Dr Diane Levine

Deputy Director and Lecturer, Visiting Research Associate (Centre for Social Development in Africa, University of Johannesburg)


I began my career as a primary school teacher and was then in civil service for over a decade before completing my PhD and 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. I take a multisystemic approach to understanding 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 externally-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. 




Childhood and adolescence; child safety and maltreatment; digital; Africa(n)-aligned methods and concepts; development studies; interdisciplinarity (particularly environmental and psycho-social interplays)


SY2093: Doing Social Research

SY3091: Education and Social Justice

SY3095: Sociology of Health and Illness

MSc Educational Leadership


SY3043: Introduction to Second Language Teaching

Press and media

Childhood and adolescence in low resourced stressed environments.


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

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