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IHSS Working Group on COVID-19


The IHSS Working Group on COVID-19 is an interdisciplinary group focused on examining the response to COVID-19 through the lens of trust. Drawing on different disciplinary backgrounds the group has been meeting since summer 2019 to share thoughts and compile a dossier on the politics of trust in the age of COVID-19.

Trust is a central binding element connecting of ethics, scientific policy, diversity, inequalities, cultural responses, and social cohesion. As part of its work the group has produced a series of documents and working papers, as well as feeding in to national conversations and political deliberations (see, for example, the presentation of IHSS Working Group on COVID-19 member Sophie Harman’s presentation of oral evidence to the House of Lords Defence and International Relations Committee here)

The IHSS Working Group on COVID-19 is led by Prof. Valsamis Mitsilegas (School of Law) and is comprised of the following staff: Dr Sydney Calkin (School of Geography), Prof. Sophie Harman (SPIR), Prof. David McCoy (School of Medicine and Dentistry), Dr Aoife Monks (School of English and Drama), Dr Mario Slugan (School of Languages, Linguistics and Film), Dr Sarah Wolff (School of Politics and International Relations), Professor Gülnur Muradoglu and Dr Stella Ladi (both of the School of Business and Management).


IHSS Covid-19 Working Group Report [PDF 594KB]

Working Group Papers

IHSS Covid Working Paper No. 1 Gulnur Muradoglu [PDF 245KB]

IHSS Covid Working Paper No. 2 Mario Slugan [PDF 298KB]

IHSS Covid Working Paper No 3 Aoife Monks [PDF 286KB]

IHSS Covid Working Paper No. 4 Stella Ladi [PDF 230KB]

IHSS Covid Working Group Paper No.5 Sarah Wolff [PDF 220KB]


A global mapping of the use of expertise and evidence-informed policies in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic webinar brought together researchers and high-ranking government officials, fostering dialogue between academia and policymakers. Speakers shared their experience of the management of the pandemic and discussed how the advice of scientists and experts was used in their countries. Watch the recording of the webinar.

On The Future Of Trust: A Conversation on Vaccine Hesitancy (Part of the Queen Mary Conversations Series). Among the conversationalists for this event were IHSS Covid-19 Working Group members Valsamis Mitsilegas (Professor of European Criminal Law and Global Security), David McCoy (Professor of Global Public Health), Stella Ladi (Senior Lecturer in Public Management), Mario Slugan (Lecturer in Film Studies), Sarah Wolff (Reader in European Politics and International Politics), and Gülnur Murado─člu (Professor of Finance). Watch the recording of the event. More details can be found here.

EU and UK health and vaccination strategies in times of Covid 19: (mis)trust and politics a lecture on EU and UK health and vaccination strategies in times of Covid-19 and the impact of the vaccination race on the future of the EU-UK relations organised by NEXTEUK in partnership with the IHSS Covid-19 Working Group. 
Louise van Schaik, Head of Unit EU & Global Affairs, Netherlands Institute for International Relations, Remco van de Pas, Public health specialist and global health scholar, Maastricht Centre for Global Health, and Anna Holzscheiter, Chair of Political Science TU Dresden and head of the 'Governance for Global Health' research group at the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), exchanged views and were discussed by Valsamis Mitsilegas. The lecture was chaired by Sarah Wolff. See video here.

Also see this page for video links to other related NEXTEUK events Turbulent times for the freedom of movement in Europe? The impact of Brexit and Pandemic Politics and also The impact of COVID-19 on the EU-UK relations.

The European Union and Covid-19: Response and Impact. IHSS COVID-19 Working Group member Sarah Wolff (Director of the Jean Monnet Centre for Excellence) co-hosted, with Markus Haverland, a series of panel discussions on the response to Covid-19 in Europe, as part of the Annual Conference of the ECPR Standing Group on the European Union. More details can be found here.

Book Chapters

Brown, T., Calkin, S., Holden, K., Reid-Henry, S., & Taylor, S. (2021) How to Have Theory in an Epidemic: A critical reflecton on the discourses of COVID-19, forthcoming in  Gavin Andrews, Valorie Crooks, Jamie Pearce & Janey Messina (eds) COVID-19 and Similar Futures: Pandemic Geographies (Springer)


Sophie Harman (2021) Threat not Solution: Gender, Global Health Security, and COVID-19, International Affairs (2021). Available online here.

Sophie Harman, Julia Smith, Sara E. Davies, Huiyun Feng, Connie C. R. Gan, Karen A. Grépin, Asha Herten-Crabb, Rosemary Morgan, Nimisha Vandan & Clare Wenham (2021) More than a public health crisis: A feminist political economic analysis of COVID-19, Global Public Health. Available online here.  

Sophie Harman (2021) COVID-19, the UN, and dispersed global health security Ethics and International Affairs (Fall, 2020, pp.373-378)

Sophie Harman, C. Wenham, J. Smith, R. Morgan, et al. (2020) COVID-19: the gendered impacts of the outbreak, The Lancet, March 2020, 396 (10227): 846-848

Valsamis Mitsilegas, Responding to Covid 19- Surveillance, Trust & The Rule of Law, a blog piece for the Criminal Justice Centre available here.

Stella Ladi & Dr Dimitris Tsarouhas(2020), EU economic governance and Covid-19: policy learning and windows of opportunity, Journal of European Integration, 42:8, 1041-1056. Available here.

Sarah Wolff and Stella Ladi have coordinated a Journal of European Integration Special Issue on Pandemic Politics and European Union responses.   The whole Special Issue is accessible here.

Gulnar Murado─člu, The impact of Covid-19 on G7 stock markets volatility: Evidence from a ST-HAR model, Science Direct, March 2021

Mario Slugan Pandemic (Movies): A Pragmatic Analysis of a Nascent Genre, Quarterly Review of Film & Video, MArch 2021

Sophie Harman writes in the New Statesman on how a lock of political will and underinvestment led to experts’ warnings on a Covid-like event being ignored in The world had tools to prevent the coronavirus- why weren't they used?

Stella Ladi contributed to an article in The Conversation on Coronavirus recovery- lessons from the eurozone crisis.


The Humanities and Social Sciences disciplines bring important insights to bear upon the multi-faceted and socially complex nature of the Covid-19 response. Our Working Groups offer a way to cut through the noise to distil what is important from pressing social and cultural issues. With COVID-19, for example, while the media have focused on a largely quantitative story of numbers intermingled with public anxieties, and while the narrative has been one of the unprecedented ‘novelty’ of COVID-19, there are ways that COVID-19 in fact reinforces certain existing social trends that need reckoning with. This includes issues of social inclusion and exclusion. Likewise, there is more that needs to be unearthed about the ways in which science and policy have converged to shape the political response and public fallout of COVID-19: including the impact upon arts and cultural sectors. By focusing on these underlying dynamics of the response, the IHSS COVID-19 Working Group will provide timely and policy-relevant interventions, which can help ensure the country is better prepared in the future, but also help us to better understand the ways in which COVID-19 is shaping British society in the present.

Further Information

Additional research on COVID-19 at QMUL can be found via some of the following initiatives and blog series.


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