Dr Pragya Agarwal


  • Visiting Professor of Social Inequities and Injustice

Pragya Agarwal is a behavioural and data scientist, and founder of research think-tank ‘The 50 Percent Project’ that examines gender and racial inequities around the world. She held a Leverhulme Fellowship and senior academic positions in US and UK Universities for over 12 years. She has also held visiting fellowships at University of California- Santa Barbara, University of Melbourne and Johns Hopkins University. 

Pragya is the author of a number of scholarly articles and three non-fiction books and many articles for a general audience. Her book ‘Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias’ was published in 2020 with Bloomsbury and was nominated one of best popular science books of 2020, Guardian Book of the Week and shortlisted for the Transmission Prize. Her book ‘Wish We Knew What To Say: Talking With Children about Race’ was also published in 2020 with Dialogue Books and selected as Apple Book of the Month. Her next book ‘(M)otherhood: On the choices of being a woman’ was published in June 2021 with Canongate, and ‘Hysterical’ will be out in July 2022, for which she has recently been awarded a Society of Authors Foundation Grant.  Besides non-fiction books for adults, Pragya has also recently written her first book for children titled ‘Stand up to Racism’ published by Hachette. Her writing has appeared in Guardian, Prospect, Forbes, Huffington Post, BBC Science Focus, Scientific American, WIRED and New Scientist amongst others, and her creative non-fiction writing also appears in several literary magazines such as Literary Hub, Hinterland and AEON.

Pragya has worked as a consultant and speaker for the United Nations, UNESCO, Environment Agency, National Health Service, UK Police Commissioners and International Trade Commission, Springer Publishing, British Academy, and various international universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Columbia, Melbourne, Imperial College and so on. She has delivered keynotes around the world, most recently at the Museum of Science in Boston, and as a speaker for the Beloved Community Talks and the Diversity Day at The Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia. Pragya has spoken at international literary festivals such as the Hay Festival, Cheltenham Book Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival and Bradford Literary Festival in 2021 and will be speaking at the Emirates Literature Festival in 2022. She is also a two-time TEDx speaker, a TEDx Woman organiser, and has appeared as an expert on many international podcasts and shows such as NPR Short Wave, BBC Women's Hour, BBC Radio 4 'The Spark' and Darren Brown's podcast 'The Bigoted Brain'. Pragya is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in the United Kingdom.


  • Sway: unravelling unconscious bias (2020), Bloomsbury.
  • Wish we knew what to say: talking with children about race (2020), Little Brown/Hachette
  • (m)otherhood: on the choices of being a woman (2021), Canongate
  • 'Stand up to racism' for children (2021), Hachette
  • Hysterical: closing the emotion gender gap (coming 2022), Canongate

Journals and Conference Papers  

  1. Weisse, S, Agarwal, P., Chaisson, M., Coulton, P., Friday, A. (2012) Democratizing ubiquitous computing – a right for locality, in: Proceedings of the 2012 ACM Conference on Ubiquitous Computing. ACM, New York, pp. 521-530, UbiComp 2012, Pittsburgh, United States, 4/09/12.  
  2. Dalton, P., Agarwal, P., Fraenkel, N., Baichoo, J., & Masry, A. (2012) Driving with navigational instructions: Investigating user preference and performance, International Journal of Accident Analysis and Prevention, Elsevier, Available online 01 June 2012, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2012.05.002  
  3. Garcia-Perate, G., Agarwal, P., Wilson, D., (2008) HINTeractions: facilitating informal knowledge exchange in physical and social space, Tangible and Embedded Interaction (TEI), Cambridge, February 2009.  
  4. Bennett, B. and Agarwal, P. (2007) Semantic Categories underlying the meaning of Place, S. Winter, B. Kuipers, M. Duckham, and L. Kulik (Eds.), Conference on Spatial Information Theory: COSIT'07, Melbourne, Australia, September 19-23, 2007. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer, pp. 78-95  
  5. Agarwal, P., Bera,R., Claramunt, C. (2006) ‘A social and spatial network approach to the investigation of research communities over the World Wide Web’. 4th International Conference on GI Science 2006, Raubal, M., Miller, H., Frank A., Goodchild,M.  (ed.) Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS) series. Muenster, Germany:Springer, 4197, 1-17  
  6. Agarwal, P. (2005) ‘Ontological considerations in GIScience’, International Journal of Geographical Information Science (IJGIS), Vol. 19, No. 5, pp. 501 - 535.  
  7. Agarwal, P. (2005) ‘Topological operators for ontological distinctions: disambiguating the geographic concepts of place, region and neighbourhood’, Spatial Cognition and Computation, Vol 5, Issue 1, pp 69-88.  
  8. Agarwal, P. (2005) ‘Sense of place’ as a place indicator: establishing ‘sense of place’ as a cognitive operator for semantics in place-based ontologies’, in Mark, D.M. and Cohn, A.G. (eds.) Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT) 2005, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, LNCS 3693, pp. 96-114, Springer-Verlag, Berlin.  
  9. Agarwal, P., Huang, Y., Dimitrova, V. (2005) ‘Formal approach to reconciliation of individual ontologies for personalisation of Geospatial Semantic Web’, First International Conference on Geospatial Semantics, Mexico City, November 2005, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, LNCS Vol. 3799, Springer-Verlag, pp.202-219.  
  10. Agarwal, P. (2004) ‘Contested nature of ‘place’: knowledge mapping for resolving ontological distinctions between geographical concepts’, In Egenhofer, M., Freksa, C., Harvey, M. (Eds.) Third International Conference GIScience 2004, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, SpringerVerlag, Berlin, LNCS 3234, pp. 1-21.  
  11. Agarwal, P. (2004) Book Review: Peng, Z-Reng &Tsou, M-Hsiang, Internet GIS: Distributed Geographical Information Services for the Internet and wireless networks, for The Professional Geographer, May 2004, vol. 56, no. 2, pp. 312-313. 

Book Chapters

  1. Agarwal, P. (2018) PLACE, in Montello, D. ed. Handbook of Behavioral and Cognitive Geography, Elgar Publishing (UK), Chap 16.  
  2. Agarwal, P. (2008) Geospatial Semantic Web: Personalisation, in Shekhar, S. and Xiong, H. (Eds) Encyclopedia of GIS, Springer, Berlin  
  3. Agarwal, P. and Skupin, A. (2008) What are Self-Organsing Maps? In Agarwal, P. and Skupin, A. (eds.) ‘Self-Organising Maps: Applications in Geographical Information Science’,Wiley Europe.  
  4. Agarwal, P., Bera,R., Claramunt,C. (2007) Inferences of Social and Spatial Communities over the World Wide Web in Arno Scharl, Klaus Tochtermann (Eds.) The Geospatial Web: How Geobrowsers, Social Software and the Web 2.0 are Shaping the Network Society , Advanced Information and Knowledge Processing Series, London: Springer  
  5. Agarwal, P. (2004) ‘An ontological approach to modelling behavioural dynamics in agent- based models’ in Atkinson, P., Darby, S., Foody, G., Wu, F. (Eds.) ‘GeoDynamics’, CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp. 369-388.