Dr Kelly Fagan Robinson

University of Cambridge

University departments
Department of Social Anthropology
University institutes
CRUK Cambridge Institute
NHS or other affiliations
International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection

Position: Lecturer
Personal home page: https://www.socanth.cam.ac.uk/directory/dr-kelly-fagan-robinson

PubMed journal articles - click here

Research description

Robinson’s research focuses on the senses, disability, communication and social access. It foregrounds the ways that individual histories, bodies, sensorial hierarchies, education, and experiences of formalised care can generate epistemic dissonances and injustices for British people. Robinson’s work on the CRUK project, 'Elusive Risks', has helped to re-contextualise the category of 'hard-to-reach’ populations within the contexts of cancer, risk and care. This project has facilitated greater understanding of various seldom-heard peoples' concerns about screening and other early detection programmes, which in turn has fostered development of insights into communication of risks and prevention of infectious diseases, as well as more effective use of existing community networks in contact-tracing initiatives during the Covid19 pandemic.

Since 2018, Robinson has also worked as research associate and lecturer on the British Academy Advanced Newton Fellowship, “Living with Disabilities,” at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) in Porto Alegre, Brazil, focusing on Disability anthropology and epistemic differences. She is a Visiting Lecturer and Honorary Research Associate in Anthropology at UCL and lectures in the UCL medical school. She holds an NVQ 6 in British Sign Language.

Robinson’s Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship project, Communication Faultlines on the Frontlines (2021-2024)will chart and analyse the ways that individual experiences, bodies, and moral judgments contribute to specific definitions of ‘worth’, ‘effects’, and ‘support’ at the coal-face of British benefits assessments.


International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection (ACED/CRUK)


PI: Skills Exchange which addresses communication gaps between Medical Anthropology and statistically-driven Risk Prevention modelling, to broaden understanding and energise new approaches to cancer research (https://www.earlydetectioncambridge.org.uk/aced)

Max Planck–Cambridge Centre for Ethics, Economy and Social Change (Affiliate) (http://maxcam.socanth.cam.ac.uk/index.php/media/)

Clare Hall, Cambridge (Research Fellow) (https://www.clarehall.cam.ac.uk/our-people/kelly-fagan-robinson

Research Programme or Virtual Institute
Early Cancer Institute
Methods and technologies
Recent publications:
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Key publications

Robinson, K. and Arteaga, I., Manderson, L., Bennett, LR. and Spagnoletti, B. (eds.),'Hard-to-Reach'? Meanings at the Margins of Care and Risk in Cancer Research, UCL Press            

Arteaga Perez, MI., Fagan Robinson, K. and McDonald, M., 2020. Covid-19 test and trace: Look for the super-locals to access “hard to reach” groups, BMJ Opinion

Robinson, K. and Carroll, T., Mica, A. and Anna, H. (eds.),The Material Ecologies of Policy Failure: Ruptures of Bodies and of State, Routledge (accepted 2021)

Robinson, K., Knowing by DEAF-Listening: Epistemologies & Ontologies Revealed in Song-Signing, American Anthropologist,Robinson, K., (accepted 2021).

Robinson, Kelly Fagan. "The form that flattens." Medical Materialities: Toward a Material Culture of Medical Anthropology (2019)., Routledge

Robinson, KF., 2019. Conscious artistic translanguaging onstage APPLIED LINGUISTICS REVIEW, v. 10 10.1515/applirev-2017-0079Robinson, KF., 2016. Anthropology, theatre, and development: the transformative potential of performance JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE, v. 22 http://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9655.12508