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My research on racial justice is situated within the public policy field, engaging with transformational and emancipatory concepts in social sciences to clarify and theorize about the processes—both intellectual and material—through which political actors (racially minoritised communities, policymakers, service providers and so forth) form, function within, replicate, dissolve, and restructure political worlds. My research places emphasis on deliberative and participatory processes which cultivate spaces for the 'voice-of-colour' to imagine a racially just world and the politics to influence the implementation of racially just policies. 

Research Interests

  • New institutionalism in public policy and administration

  • Critical race theory in public policy and administration

  • Politics of Black youth 

  • Co-production of knowledge through participatory and creative methods

  • Collaborative and urban governance

  • Democratic innovations

Research Projects

My doctoral research project took an interdisciplinary approach, deliberately engaging with critical race theories, political representation theorists such as Iris Marion Young, and new-institutionalism. By drawing upon the ‘voice-of-colour’ (VoC), which can be described as racialised experiential knowledge, I argue that accessing this knowledge in ‘needs-talk spaces’ both makes racialised needs visible and challenges pathological narratives of the ‘Other’. The project explored how institutional arrangements for ‘needs-talk’ spaces can either constrain or facilitate access to the VoC, through an empirical investigation of a ‘needs-talk’ space for public service delivery in a local government in the North West of England in 2019. By focusing on rules, practices and narratives, this thesis developed an approach for analysing how racial inequalities are reproduced and how they could be transformed.


With ongoing funding from Lankelly Chase, I have been working with Florence Okoye to pilot the use of Afrofuturism as a method of knowledge production. With the co-production turn in public policy and administration, I put forward that Afrofuturism for knowledge production supports the ethics of care.


Phase 1 of this project has been completed and we worked with young people in 3 cities in the UK; London, Birmingham and Manchester.


Phase 2 of this project is ongoing and involves working with young people in a supplementary school in Manchester. Over several months, the project is focusing on co-producing a racially just school.

Designs for Addressing Racial inEqualities

Designs for Addressing Racial inEqualities (DARE) is a process through which policymakers and public services providers can co-create racially equitable services in a place. DARE focuses on the identification of interventions that highlight racially minoritised groups who are most in need to which power and resources should be distributed. Place could be a variety of spatial levels from the neighbourhood to city-regions. It involves four phases that are iterative, rather than a linear process. Critical to the DARE methodology is co-creation with a variety of stakeholders, a merging of lived experience, technical and bureaucratic knowledge to identify possible policy and service designs that seek to achieve racial equity.


Journal articles

Eseonu, T. and Okoye, F. (2023). Making a Case for Afrofuturism as a Critical Qualitative Inquiry Method for Liberation. Public Integrity
Eseonu, T. (2022). Co-creation as a social innovation process to include 'hard-to-reach' groups in public service delivery. Public Money and Management. 

Eseonu, T. (2021). Entanglements of race and opportunity structures; challenging racialised transitions for 'the lost generation'. Journal of Applied Youth Studies.


Eseonu, T., and Duggan, J. (2021). Negotiating cultural appropriation while re-imagining co-production via Afrofuturism. Qualitative Research Journal.

Book chapters

Eseonu, T. (2024). Racialised institutions in the UK welfare state, in L. Gregory and S. Iafrati (eds) Diversity and Welfare Provision: Tension and Discrimination in 21st Century Britain

Eseonu, T. (2022). Let's talk about race: considerations for course design in public administration. In Dunning, P., Bottom, K., Elliott, I., and Diamond, J (Eds.) International Handbook on Teaching Public Administration (pp. 300 – 308). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar

Eseonu, D. (2021). Building back inclusively. In Smith, G., Hughes, T., Adams, L., and Obijiaku, C. (Eds.), Democracy in a Pandemic: Participation in Response to Crisis (pp. 37–42). University of Westminster Press.

Book Review

Eseonu, T. (2022). Street-level bureaucracy: dilemmas of the individual in public services by Michael Lipsky. Administrative Theory & Praxis.

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