Manuela Barreto

Professor Manuela Barreto

Manuela Barreto is a Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology, whose work focus on how individuals and groups cope with social disadvantage. She also leads the University’s interdisciplinary research theme of Societal and Lifestyle Shifts, which analyses change at the individual, group, and societal level.

Manuela rates her proudest professional moment as when her first academic paper was accepted for publication, which she describes as an “important step” in her conviction to pursue an academic career. She said: “I had some successes before, but everything I had achieved until then had been on the basis of promise or potential, not on the basis of actual delivery. It was an important step that convinced me that I could indeed produce something my scientific community valued.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, Manuela nominates her family as providing the encouragement and inspiration to achieve the success that she has. However, she reserved special praise for her former PhD supervisor, who continues to inspire Manuela regularly. Manuela explained: “It’s impossible to summarise in exactly how many ways she inspires me, but when I have to make a decision I often think ‘what would she do?’. She is the person whose advice I most value both because of my immense respect for her and because I know that she knows exactly how things are for me.”

As well as the satisfaction she gains from reflecting on a job well done, Manuela also finds joy in some of life’s simple pleasures, such as spending time with her family and children or settling down with a good book.

Reflecting on the theme of what ‘inspiring change’ means to her, which is this year’s focus for International Women’s Day, Manuela suggests that it encompasses the need to see change as possible. She said: “To me, it means change is needed but that for it to happen it is necessary to see the possibility for change and let oneself be inspired by it. For me it is important to stress that those who need to be inspired are not only women whom we hope to recruit, but also women who are already in the system, as well as men. “