Mr Karl Johnson (BSc (Hons), MRes) is a Lecturer in the Psychology, Sociology and Education Division. He is also Programme Leader for the BSc (Hons) Public Sociology degree.

I’ve been at QMU in one capacity or another since 2009 – having completed my Undergraduate and Masters degrees here – and am now a lecturer and Programme Leader for our undergraduate degree in Public Sociology.

Along the way I’ve also previously had roles as the Academic Disabled Student Coordinator for the Division of Psychology & Sociology (as it was then called), the WISeR (Widening Student Participation and Retention) Coordinator for the School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management (ASSaM), and a QAA Enhancement Themes Project Officer. I was QMU’s academic link in coordinating with Edinburgh-based organisation Children in Scotland, on their 2019 conference ‘Biting back: Transforming food experiences for Scotland's children’.

During this time, I have sat on QMU’s WISeR Board, Outcome Agreement Data Group, Student Experience Committee, QAA Enhancement Theme Institutional Team, and the ASSaM School Academic Board.

A large part of my focus to date has been in relation to widening access to, and participation in, higher education in Scotland. Among various projects, I contributed to the following:


Outside of the university I’ve acted as a special consultant on social affairs for the 13th (2018) and 14th (forthcoming) editions of the Collins English Dictionary, focussing on definitions relating to gender and sexuality.

I’m writing a non-fiction pocketbook (or ‘Inkling’) for award-winning independent publisher 404 Ink, due out in November 2022. Entitled ‘The Loki Variations: The Man, The Myth, The Mischief’, it explores some of the many interpretations of Norse God Loki in contemporary popular culture, via social science.

My sociological interests are eclectic – ranging from the theoretical to the local to the cultural application of social science. I’m always interested to hear about some of the ‘stranger’ or more niche areas of social research.

Active Research Interests:

Mr Karl Johnson research publications and outputs (QMU eResearch profile)

Other Publications

JOHNSON, K., 2021. Activism, Art & Archiving at the Edge. The Edge UHI blog [online]. 2 April [viewed 2 April 2021]. 

JOHNSON, K., 2020. Those Viking women who wielded remarkable power. The Shetland Times. 15 May, p. 34.

JOHNSON, K., 2019. Viewpoint: Everyone is entitled to equal rights. Shetland News [online]. Shetland, 16 April [viewed 16 April 2019].

JOHNSON, K., 2018. ‘Dixon’, Shetland: home of human interaction. The Island Review [online]. 13 September [viewed 13 September 2018]. 

JOHNSON, K., 2017a. Navy Rum. In: A. WATSON, ed. So Fi: A Sociological Fiction Zine: Edition #1. pp. 48-51.

JOHNSON, K., 2017b. Gutters and Panels. In: A. WATSON, ed. So Fi: A Sociological Fiction Zine: Edition #2. pp. 22-25.

JOHNSON, K., and CHRISTIE, H., 2016. Don’t Panic [E-newsletter item]. QAA Enhancement Themes Newsletter, March.

Conference Presentations

WALLEN, L., JOHNSON, K., and VETTESE CRUDEN, L., 2021. Building an inclusive student experience through the implementation of Peer Assisted Learning sessions. Paper presented at Higher Education Institutional Research Conference, University of St Andrews, St Andrews.

BREEZE, M., JOHNSON, K., and UYTMAN, C., 2017. Embedded Online Support for Direct Entrants. Paper presented at QMU WISeR Event, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

JOHNSON, K., 2017a. Direct Entrant Induction at QMU: online and in person. Paper presented at 5th Annual Gearing Up Conference, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh.

JOHNSON, K., 2017b. Direct Entrant Induction at QMU: nurturing successful students online and in person. Paper presented at HEA What Works? Student Retention and Success Final Conference, London. UK.

UYTMAN, C., JOHNSON, K., and CHRISTIE, H., 2016a. Don’t Panic: A Psych/Soc student’s guide to surviving 4th Year: The Development and Evaluation of a Student Transition Support Guide. Paper presented at QAAS 13th Enhancement Themes conference, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh.

UYTMAN, C., JOHNSON, K., and CHRISTIE, H., 2016b. Don’t Panic: A Psych/Soc student’s guide to surviving 4th Year: The Development and Evaluation of a Student Transition Support Guide. Paper presented at Queen Margaret University Staff & Student Conference: Talking Transitions, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

CHRISTIE, H., and JOHNSON, K., 2015. Don’t panic: The Psych/Soc student’s guide to fourth year. Paper presented at HEA conference ‘Inspire – sharing great practice in Social Science teaching and learning’, Manchester, UK.

I have contributed to and coordinated several modules across different iterations of our degree programmes. Mainly I tend to teach on areas around introductory classic and contemporary social theory; research philosophy, reflexivity, and design; public and engaged sociology; theories and research on material culture; higher education; contemporary issues; Scotland and Shetland.