Dr Alison Gardner leads the ‘Communities and Society’ research programme at the University of Nottingham’s ‘Rights Lab’, a multi-disciplinary research unit which aims to contribute to the UN’s sustainable development goal of ending slavery and forced labour by 2030.
She was the winner of the 2018 Marsh Prize for Community Activism in Combating Slavery, and named in the UK Top 100 Modern Slavery Influencers for 2018. Her work focuses on place and community-based responses to modern slavery, including the role of faith in mobilising anti-slavery responses, and campaigning work to develop slavery-free cities.
For the past two years, Dr Gardner has been working closely with the Church of England’s ‘Clewer Initiative’ to understand the role and contribution of the Church to anti-slavery work in the UK. She has identified essential roles for faith organisations in acting as a catalyst for action, convening and co-ordinating key actors, embedding an anti-slavery ethos through its diverse caring roles, and acting as a challenge and critical friend within wider society. In her work she combines reflections on research to date with practical experience of working with faith partners in Nottingham to support the city‘s campaign to be slavery-free. Her research is informed by her own Christian faith and practice as a member of an inner-city church in Nottingham.