Meet our new Masters Student: Carla Louise Hughes

Carla Louise Hughes is a Masters Student of International Social Welfare and Health Policy, OsloMet. Read more about Carla and our team here: Our team – Centre for Research on Pandemics & Society (PANSOC) (

  • Tell us about your project

I intend on writing an in-depth quantitative master’s thesis regarding the association between the 1918 flu pandemic and suicide rates. The objective of this project will be to quantify existing data regarding the Spanish flu and examine the social effects and health circumstances that occurred during that period. In addition to this, my aim with this project is to assist future research, particularly in aiding forthcoming research regarding the current COVID-19 pandemic.

  • You are starting a project on a historical pandemic in the middle of a current pandemic, how does that feel?

To be starting a project on a historical pandemic, whilst also living through the current COVID-19 pandemic feels remarkably eye opening. I hope that by understanding the 1918 flu pandemic from another perspective and from somewhat personal experience, this will allow me to think more comprehensively about the social issues that occurred during that time.

Beyond this, I personally feel enthusiastic about starting a project on something that is historic, yet current in its own sense. I believe that projects of this nature are exceptionally thought-provoking during the current climate.

  • Why are you doing a masters in Norway and with PANSOC?

As an international student studying International social welfare and health policy, I have a keen interest in social issues and challenges within the health sector. Equally, I have a fascination with data collection and research methods including data analysis and statistics. This combination led me to meet a suitable fit both in Norway and with PANSOC.

In more general terms, I had enjoyed the scenic and peaceful life in Norway prior to deciding to leave my home country to live here. So, I could say that the Norwegian lifestyle was also a contributing factor.

  • What are your plans for a future dream-project in academia?

With a background in Psychology and interest in statistical analysis, I hope that a future dream-project may include some exploration of the current COVID-19 pandemic and mental health issues that coincided with this.

An area of interest could be to observe child development and abilities to read facial cues and expressions as a result of compulsory mask wearing during the pandemic. Other contributing  factors to consider in this project could also be reduced social integration, particularly with other children.

An alternative area of interest may be to focus on older generations and levels of loneliness during the pandemic; predominantly concentrating on those who have or do not have access to technology throughout this time.

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