Dr. Michael Ian Rasell

Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck
Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft
Liebeneggstr. 8, A-6020 Innsbruck
    Zi. 01-08 (1. Stock)







Michael Rasell joined the Disability Studies and Inclusive Pedagogy team in November 2021. He is a qualitative sociologist and his research analyses how social policies and professional practices shape the inclusion, rights and wellbeing of persons with disabilities in Eastern Europe and Russia. At the University of Innsbruck, he is developing a research project about contestations of neurodiversity amongst activists, professionals, media and policymakers in Russia. This will examine the underlying norms and power dynamics involved in producing and challenging ‘knowledge’ about autism.

Knowledge exchange and the civic mission of universities are important elements of Michael’s work. He is a member of the Working Group “Measures to strengthen the peer movement in mental health” in Austria as part of an initiative targeted at destigmatising mental health coordinated by Gesundheit Österreich GmbH. Michael is also a trustee of the UK-based charity BEARR, which supports grassroots civil society organisations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to tackle social and health issues.

Michael previously worked at the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom, where he developed a strong profile in international social work and transnational dimensions of marginalisation. He co-supervises a Marie Curie Fellowship that seeks to build evidence base to support Polish women victims of domestic abuse in the United Kingdom (Dr Iwona Zielinska, 2020-22). He coordinated the Erasmus Mundus Master programme “Advanced Development in Social Work” from 2013-2019, which seeks to upgrade the practice skills of experienced social workers from around the world and is recognised as best practice in global social work teaching. 

At the University of Lincoln, Michael served as Director of Studies for PhD theses on child protection for families with autistic children, refugee women in Brazil, domestic abuse in rural England and primary healthcare for older LGBTI+ people. He has been External Examiner for PhDs at University College London and the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship ‘Building an evidence base to support Polish women victims of domestic violence in the UK’, Dr Iwona Zielinska (Maria Grzegorzewska University), Celia Madden and Lu Webb (EDAN Lincs), Dr Michael Rasell (University of Innsbruck), Prof. Anitha Sundari and Dr Ros Kane (University of Lincoln), 2020-2022.  

This project will develop an evidence base for domestic abuse services in the United Kingdom and Europe to improve support for Polish migrant women in violent relationships. Despite a significant Polish population in the UK, domestic abuse services receive very few referrals by Polish women. The research will discover the reasons behind this and develop recommendations for appropriate outreach and support services. Practice outputs will be disseminated to services and policymakers in the UK, Poland and other European countries.

Erasmus Mundus Master programme ‘Advanced Development in Social Work’ (ADVANCES), University of Lincoln, Aalborg University, University of Lisbon, Paris Nanterre University and University of Warsaw, 2013-2024, www.socialworkadvances.aau.dk

This Master programme is funded by a multi-million grant from the European Commission and designed to give social workers outstanding levels of practice skills so that they can confidently respond to the vulnerabilities and uncertainties facing societies across the world.  The 22-month course is explicitly targeted at qualified, experienced social workers from around the world who wish to upgrade their practice skills, especially with a transnational focus.

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