We are a centre of excellence for psychological and interdisciplinary, patient-centred research in appearance, disfigurement, body image and related studies. Our research services inform and support:

  • healthcare and education provision
  • social policy
  • media
  • corporate social responsibility agendas, and
  • other areas of society. 


Our key aims are to:

  • conduct innovative research that creates and promotes knowledge and understanding about the psychosocial and cultural aspects of appearance
  • enhance CAR's position as the leading international centre of excellence for appearance research and source of authoritative advice for researchers, policy makers, practitioners, the media, public and third sector
  • relate knowledge and understanding to policy, practice and the needs of people affected by appearance concerns.
  • increase acceptance of diversity in appearance.

Why we study appearance

Our collaborations

We actively collaborate with charitable organisations, NHS Trusts, businesses, schools, universities, the media, and policy-makers across the UK and overseas.

We also lead a European Union research network with members from 36 countries.

Diversity and inclusion at CAR

The Centre for Appearance Research Diversity, Inclusion and Equality (CARDIE) group

CARDIE was founded in July 2019 by Dr Nadia Craddock and Professor Phillippa Diedrichs, and is currently led by Phillippa, Dr Mary Keeling and Christine Ramsey-Wade. The group is made up of researchers working in the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) from across all teams, grades, and levels of experience.

CARDIE mission statement  

‘Ensuring research and research environments are equitable and inclusive.’

Our mission is to strengthen our commitment to researching and promoting appearance diversity in all its forms and intersections, including but not limited to visible difference, size and weight, race, skin colour, age, ability, gender, sexuality, class, and religion.

Recent CARDIE activities have included producing guides on inclusive staff recruitment and research, and promoting and providing professional development on diversity and inclusion within research and more widely.

We also offer a monthly reading group to help us improve our skills and awareness of these important issues, and we are currently working on expanding our centre definition of appearance diversity, all with the aim of reducing appearance-based stigma, prejudice and discrimination.

CAR also supports and promotes best practice in the recruitment, retention and promotion of staff via the Athena Swan initiative. Athena Swan addresses gender inequalities in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine in higher education. The University and the School of Applied Sciences achieved the Athena Swan Bronze Award for gender equality.

Sources of support

View a list of organisations and support forums that can provide support.


See recent funding for the Centre for Appearance Research, from The Healing Foundation, National Institute for Health Research and many more.

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