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Dr Vita Terry

Profile summary

Professional biography

Vita is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership at the Open University. She has a long standing interest in the voluntary sector, actively participating in the refugee sector in different capacities (volunteering with destitute asylum seekers, policy advisor) and been researching different aspect of the sector for seven years.

Before joining CVSL she worked as a Research Fellow at the Institute for Research into Superdiversity at the University of Birmingham, on projects including health seeking behaviour of residents in super-diverse areas and gender-based violence experienced along the refugee journey. She has been affiliated with the Third Sector Research Centre through working on the ESRC funded ‘Real Times’ project, and based there whilst undertaking a Social Policy PhD.

Vita has successfully been awarded ESRC funding twice. Firstly, for an ESRC funded PhD research project that investigated how asylum seeker and refugee third sector organisations navigate these challenging and complex times, with a particular focus on organisational change, and bringing back the role of actors and agency. Secondly, she was awarded an ESRC funded internship at the Welsh Assembly and published a report on ‘Communities First engagement with Black and Minority Ethnic groups’.

Research interests

Vita’s main research area is the voluntary sector, including focusing on small organisations, service provision, organisational change, leadership, actors and agency, and she has drawn on theoretical principles from institutional logics. More broadly Vita is interested in researching migration, asylum seekers and refugees, integration, and issues around ethnic minority communities. Her current projects cover a wide range of topics on the voluntary sector, including: the Lloyds Bank Foundation ‘Value of Small’; CVSL-funded ‘Everyday Leadership’ on collaborative leadership; Tracking the Rehabilitation Revolution in Probation reforms, with Clinks and NCVO; and as part of an Erasmus+ project on entrepreneurial leadership building on the EU Entrecomp entrepreneurship framework.


Impact and engagement

Vita has expertise in qualitative methods and interest in using particular research approaches, including ethnography, documentary film making, and participatory methods. She is currently producing a documentary on an asylum seeker using collective leadership as a means to develop community based projects within the UK. This project aims to tackle stigma towards migrants and demonstrates diverse and inclusive leadership.

Additionally, she has volunteered in the voluntary sector for over a decade and is currently a trustee of a small local voluntary organisation in Bristol that supports individuals living with HIV. She is also committed to supporting new researchers in academia, by running a day conference in association with the Institute for Research into Superdiversity annual conference and holding a two day writing retreat in collaboration with the Voluntary Sector Review.