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Karl Nunkoosing PhD

Karl Nunkoosing PhD

Karl is a psychologist, teacher and cook, amongst many other identities, who has been engaged for some considerable time in the empowerment of people who experience learning difficulties and their families. His passions stem from a single root - concern for the underdog, the unfairly treated, those who risk marginalisation and rejection.

This single passion has taken on a range of practical shapes in Karl’s work: 

  • The relatively neglected world of modern fatherhood.
  • Issues of otherness and identity in modern Diaspora.
  • Critical Disability Studies and their implications for men and women who experience learning difficulties.
  • The social construction of intellectual disability.
  • The people, things, and ideas that are toxic to the empowerment of men and women who experience learning difficulties and their supporters.
  • Emancipatory and participatory methods in psychology.
  • Cooking, sharing and bringing novel food experiences to his friends.

From his early life in Mauritius to a mid 1960s England, Karl brought with him that special sensitivity to the exiled and the different that is characteristic of some adult émigrés and that can be both gift and curse in everyday life. His life along side and with people who experience learning difficulties started when he took on the job of a nursing assistant in an institution in Horsham. Around the same time he read Ervin Goffman’s ‘Asylum’ which influenced his thinking at the time. This influence has developed over the years. After training as nurse Karl worked in a Day Centre teaching adults to develop literacy and numeracy skills. This work led to Karl’s training as teacher in Adult Education at the Institute of Education and the completion of an Open University degree in Psychology and later his EdD in Fatherhood and Disability at the University of East Anglia.

In 1986, Karl took on a post at Portsmouth School Nursing and then Portsmouth Polytechnic to work with Prof Sue Buckley to develop a new course in that combined learning disability nursing with an academic qualification. Our concern with the fact that much of the knowledge that was transforming the lives of people who experience learning difficulties did not figure in health, social care and educational practise led to the development of a part time MSc course. The current version of the MSc Applied Psychology of Intellectual Disability aims to bring critical disability studies and critical research perspectives to practitioners in health, social care and education. Karl has been a Visiting Fellow on similar courses at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. 

Karl is currently a Principal Lecturer at the Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth. He is currently working on developing ideas and researching about the empowering relationships between people who experience learning difficulties and their paid supporters.