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Personal profile


Sarah Johnsen is a Professorial Fellow in the Institute for Social Policy, Housing and Equalities Research (I-SPHERE) at Heriot-Watt University.  After completing her PhD in Human Geography at the University of Otago (New Zealand), Sarah worked as Research Associate in the Geography Department at Queen Mary University of London.  She was then employed as Research Manager for The Salvation Army (UK & Ireland) before moving to a post as Research Fellow in the Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York.  Sarah has been based at Heriot-Watt University since 2010.

Research interests

Most of Sarah’s research focuses on homelessness, addiction, and related forms of street culture (e.g. begging and street drinking).  She has particular expertise in relation to ‘deep’ social exclusion and welfare provision for people with complex support needs such as co-occurring substance misuse and mental health problems. Sarah also has ongoing interests in the role of faith communities in welfare provision, and the practice and ethics of research involving vulnerable people.

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Sarah Johnsen is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 4 Similar Profiles
homelessness Social Sciences
welfare Social Sciences
exclusion Social Sciences
sanction Social Sciences

Co Author Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1999 2019

Homelessness and poverty: reviewing the links

Johnsen, S. & Watts, B., Aug 2014, Heriot-Watt University. 48 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Faith, values and metaphysical positionality

Johnsen, S. & Fitzpatrick, S., 2016, (Accepted/In press) How to Research Religion: Putting Methods Into Practice. Woodhead, L. (ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Complex Question
Existence of God
Open Access
service provider

Ending street homelessness: what works and why we don’t do it

Mackie, P., Johnsen, S. & Wood, J., 2019, In : European Journal of Homelessness. 13, 1, p. 85-96

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Hard Edges Scotland: New conversations about severe and multiple disadvantage

Bramley, G., Fitzpatrick, S., Wood, J., Sosenko, F., Blenkinsopp, J., Littlewood, M., Frew, C., Bashar, T., McIntyre, J. & Johnsen, S., 24 Jun 2019, Lankelly Chase Foundation. 189 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Open Access

Activities 2006 2019

Plenary presentation at Australasian Housing Research Conference, Adelaide

Sarah Johnsen (Keynote speaker)
7 Feb 2019

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Presentation for the Humanist Society Scotland

Sarah Johnsen (Invited speaker)
17 Mar 2019

Activity: Talk or presentationPublic lecture

Keynote presentation at Parliamentary Reception, Scottish Parliament

Sarah Johnsen (Keynote speaker)
30 Jan 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationPublic lecture

Plenary presentation at Housing First England national conference

Sarah Johnsen (Keynote speaker)
28 Feb 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk