Dr Niamh McCrea


Senior Lecturer/director of SocialCORE

Department of Humanities, Carlow Campus

e: niamh.mccrea@setu.ie      t: 059 9175387

ORCID ID: 0000-0001-5178-7913    

  • Research Interests
  • Publications
  • Research Supervision
  • Engagement and Collaboration

Research Interests

My research to-date has focused primarily on the politics of philanthropy and, in particular, how philanthropy shapes the egalitarian purposes, practices and outcomes of community development. For publications on this topic, see here and here. I have co-edited two special issues for the Community Development Journal, one on social movements and community development (2017), and another on the implications for community development of the rise of finance capitalism (2021).

My current research focuses on two areas:
1) the relationship between philanthropy, equality and social movements.
2) deliberate practice in academic writing. I am co-PI, with Dr Daire Ó Broin of SETU’s compuCORE, on a design study to establish a digital system to support academic writing among postgraduate research students (initial phase funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education). Part of this project involves integrating this system into postgraduate education and supervision at SETU.

With my friend and colleague Rosie Meade, I co-host Múscailt, a podcast of in-depth, convivial conversations with researchers asking important questions about Irish society. Múscailt will be launched in October 2022 on Tortoise Shack.

I have had the pleasure of supervising several fantastic postgraduate research students on such topics as the reform of community development, and gender and rural homelessness. I currently supervise two Irish Research Council-funded projects on a child-rights based approach to education for sustainable development in Early Childhood Education, and, with Dr Daire Ó Broin, on gaming and youth work.

I am book reviews editor for the Community Development Journal and serve on its editorial board. I have also undertaken research on behalf of several community organisations including the National Youth Council of Ireland, Canal Communities Regional Youth Service and St Catherine’s Community Services.


Finnegan, F. McCrea, N. and Ní Chasaide, N. (2021) Community development and financialization: making the connections, Community Development Journal, 56(1), https://doi.org/10.1093/cdj/bsaa057

McCrea, N. and Finnegan, F. (eds) (2019) Funding, Power and Community Development, Bristol: Policy Press.

Finnegan, F. and McCrea, N. (2019) ‘Funding, Power and Community Development: an Introduction’, in N. McCrea and F. Finnegan (eds) Funding, Power and Community Development, Bristol: Policy Press.

McCrea, N., Meade, R.R. and Shaw, M. (2017) Solidarity, organizing and tactics of resistance in the 21st century: social movements and community development praxis in dialogue, Community Development Journal, 52(3), 385–404, https://doi.org/10.1093/cdj/bsx029

McCrea, N., Meade, R.R, and Shaw, M. (2017) Practising solidarity: challenges for community development and social movements in the 21st century, Community Development Journal, 52(3), 379–384 (introduction to the special issue). 

McCrea, N. (2016) ‘Community Development, Venture Philanthropy and Neoliberal Governmentality: a Case from Ireland’ in R.R. Meade, M. Shaw and S. Banks (eds) Power, Politics and Community Development, Bristol: Policy Press.

Conference Papers

McCrea, N., Ó Broin, D. and McDonnell, K. ‘Exploring a digital system to develop deliberate practice in academic writing’, at Irish Learning Technology Association Conference, ‘Shaping Education Post Pandemic: Pockets of Innovation for “Building Back Better”, 27-28 May, 2021. 

McCrea, N. and Visser, A. The Implications for Participatory Democracy of State and Philanthropic Funding of Community Development, Why Community Development? Continuity and Innovation, University of Edinburgh, 1-3 July, 2015.

McCrea, N. ‘Foundations, Performativity and Relations of Love, Care and Solidarity’, Social Justice Philanthropy: Implications for Policy and Practice, University of Kent, 1 March 2013.

McCrea, N. ‘Foundations in the Migrants’ Rights Sector in Ireland: Enablers of Political Equality?’, 9th International Conference of the International Society for Third-Sector Research (ISTR), Istanbul, 7-10 July 2010.


Mahon, M. and McCrea, N. (2016) How do I get the Balance in my Head? : Exploring the Role of Youth Work in the Lives of Young People from Ethnic Minority Communities, Dublin: Canal Communities Regional Youth Services/National Youth Council of Ireland.

McCrea, N. (2005) Going Global! Good Practice Guidelines for Development Education in Youth Work, Dublin: NYCI.

Book Reviews

Lester M. Salamon (2014) ‘New Frontiers of Philanthropy: A Guide to the Tools and Actors Reshaping Global Philanthropy and Social Investing’ in Community Development Journal, (2016) 4 (4), 585-588.

Jeremy Brent (2009) ‘Searching for Community: Representation, Power and Action on an Urban Estate’ in Community Development Journal, (2010) 45 (4) 523-527.


Research Supervision

Tom Manning: Gaming as Youth Work: Exploring the Role of Gaming as a Creative Tool for Fostering Social and Emotional Learning among Socially Isolated Young People (with Dr Daire O’Broin, gameCORE; funded by the Irish Research Council)

Angela McCullough: An Examination of the Relevance and Effectiveness of Contemporary Housing Policy for Women Experiencing, or at Risk of, Homelessness in Ireland

Muireann Ranta: Education for Sustainable Development in Early Childhood Education and Care: A Children’s Rights Perspective (with Dr Sheila Long)

Liam Dwyer: The Impact of the Local Government Reform Act, 2014 on the Community Development Sector in Ireland (graduated 2018)


Engagement and Collaboration

I am involved in a number of community and activist groups.