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Dr Anna Orrnert

Profile summary

Professional biography

Dr. Anna Orrnert is a Lecturer in Childhood and Youth Studies at the Open University. Prior to joining the Open University, Anna held lectureships at Newman University in Birmingham (2018-2022) where she taught on the Working with Children, Young People and Families programme and the Foundation Year in Social Sciences. She also worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham’s International Development Department (2005-2008) and as a Researcher for the Conflict Analysis Research Centre at the University of Kent at Canterbury (2008-2010). Anna holds a BA in International Relations from Tufts University, MPhil in International Peace Studies from Trinity College Dublin and PhD in Sociology from London Metropolitan University.

Research interests

Anna’s research interests and expertise relate to intersectionality, youth transitions to adulthood and power. Her doctoral research examined young women’s transitions to adulthood at the intersection of gender, social class and race in the post-industrial city of Birmingham. Using an ethnographic approach, this explored how young women navigated various spheres of transition including education, employment and family formation. She is currently developing a longitudinal study based on her doctoral research.

Between 2019-2021 Anna worked on ‘The world in one place: learning together in a multicultural city’, an oral history and archives research project about primary school life and education in Birmingham between the 1960s - 1980s. This was led by Future Seed CIC, a community interest company that she co-founded, and was funded by a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant.

At Newman University, she was involved in several student-staff partnership projects (student-led research collaborations intended to develop aspects of university life that matter to them).

Whilst working in the international development sector, she contributed frequently as a freelance researcher (2012-2020) to the Knowledge, Evidence and Learning for Development (K4D) programme at the Institute of Development Studies and the GSDRC at the University of Birmingham. This research supported the work of governmental development agencies such as the UK Department for International Development (which has now been replaced by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) and AusAid.

Between 2009-2011, she worked on the European Commission-funded International Civil Society Forum on Conflicts, which researched the role of transnational communities in preventing and resolving conflicts.

Anna also worked as a researcher on a pilot project in Liberia (2008) for Mediators Beyond Borders, helping to develop a programme to support the integration of former child soldiers into civilian communities after the end of the civil war.

Teaching interests

Together with Dr. Naomi Holford, Anna is currently co-chairing E232 (Exploring Childhood and Youth) in presentation. She has contributed to production on E320 (Contemporary research with children and young people).


Missing pieces: Overview of the institutional puzzle (2006-11-21)
Orrnert, Anna
Public Administration and Development, 26(5) (pp. 449-455)

The heart (and soul?) of international development: The role of faith in global poverty reduction (2006)
Orrnert, Anna
Public Administration and Development, 26(2) (pp. 185-189)

The country of residence and migrant transnationalism: How do opportunity structures in countries of residence affect transnational attitudes and behaviour of migrant organisations from the African Great Lakes region? (2012-06-25)
Van Houte, Marieke; Perrin, Nathalie and Orrnert, Anna
In: Halm, Dirk and Zeynep, Sezgin eds. Migration and Organised Civil Society: Rethinking National Policy. The Routledge/ECPR Studies in European Political Science series (pp. 113-133)
ISBN : 9780415691987 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Conflict Sensitive Development (2011)
Feron, Elise and Orrnert, Anna eds.
Publisher : INFOCON

Interventions to promote wellbeing of refugees in high- and middle-income countries (2020-03-06)
Orrnert, Anna
Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, UK.