Dr Al Mathers

Al is the Director of Research and Learning

Expertise: Community and place-based action / Diversity and inclusion / Education and learning / Poverty and Inequality / Work and employment

Al is the Director of Research and Learning. She is responsible for the strategic development of the RSA’s approach to social impact measurement and outcome across our Design for Life programme and partnerships.
She oversees the Research and Learning Directorate, which comprises three practice focused teams: Research, Policy & Participation and Education & Learning. Researchers and practitioners across these teams take a multi-disciplinary approach to change, bringing together experience in qualitative and quantitative methods, futures and foresight, systems thinking, evaluation, education and adult learning, participatory practice and deliberative democracy, and policy influence.
Having worked across the academic and practice sectors for over 15 years, Al is passionate about evidence driven social change, building and leading high impact research and data teams, and participatory research with diverse communities.
She was previously Head of Research at Good Things Foundation, a leading national and international digital inclusion charity, publishing the organisation’s COVID-19 Response Report - charting the rise of data poverty, exacerbated digital inequalities, and evolution of community sector response during the pandemic.
Before moving to the third sector, she was a researcher and lecturer at the University of Sheffield, completing her PhD in 2008, Hidden Voices: the participation of people with learning disabilities in the experience of public open space, alongside production of peer reviewed papers on inclusive design practice and co-authoring Socially Restorative Urbanism. Keen to ensure the social impact of cross-sector partnerships, Al continues to work in an advisory capacity with Government departments and academic institutions, and is an advisory board member of the Media and Information Literacy Alliance (MILA), Barclays LifeSkills and Prosper.

For all media enquiries please contact:

Steven George
Head of Communications
[email protected]
+44 (0) 7747 028 823

Al's RSA research

  • A new mission: Design for Life

    We are at the start of the latest chapter in the RSA’s rich history as a social change organisation. Read and feedback on our new mission paper, Design for Life.

  • Living Change: A constellation of practices towards better futures for people and planet


    Joanna Choukeir Al Mathers

    Explore our constellation of practices and mindsets that will move us beyond our current failing systems, towards imagining and creating desired systems that meet collective planetary needs.

  • The levelling up conundrum


    Al Mathers Anthony Painter

    How can the government tackle the UK's chronic and enduring regional inequalities? We explore three plausible areas of focus for levelling up: economic development, social cohesion, and community power and identity.