• 491 Citations
  • 9 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Google Scholar h-Index

20 Last checked 3 July 2020


I joined the University in April 2014 as Director of the Centre for Applied Childhood, Youth and Family Research (formerly the Centre for Applied Childhood Studies). Prior to that, for the last 12 years I worked at the University of West England (UWE), Bristol, initially with the SOLAR Action Research Centre - a specialist participatory research and development centre – and latterly with the Centre for Understanding Social Practice. I have been involved in a whole range of different projects the majority of which have been evaluations of children and family programmes.

I completed my doctorate in 1999 which concerned how children use their local environment and implications for planning, conducted as part of the UNESCO supported Growing up in Cities project. In 1999 I joined the SOLAR Action Research Centre – a specialised participatory research and development centre pioneering new forms of learning and change in organisations and communities – and moved to the University of the West of England in 2001.

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Participation of children and young people in research and decision making - but also issues of agency and empowerment and developing discourses of children’s participation as active citizenship
  • Participatory Action Research
  • Action inquiry approaches to service evaluation and improvement across the public sector
  • Developing effective multi agency working / integrated children, youth and family services
  • Understanding and supporting youth transitions (especially concerning marginalized young people/NEETs etc)
  • In-depth qualitative inquiry including the use of visual approaches to understand young people’s realities and experiences
  • Facilitating practice based learning and innovation in organisations
  • Using learning to support workforce and service development
  • Facilitation of Knowledge cafes and 'Open space' technology

Research Degree Supervision

Click Here to see all postgraduate research opportunities with Professor Barry Percy-Smith 

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Children in Research
  • Young People in Research
  • Children in Decision Making
  • Young People in Decision Making
  • Agency
  • Empowerment
  • Children's Participation
  • Active Citizenship
  • Action Inquiry Approaches
  • Public Sector Improvement
  • Multi-Agency Working
  • Integrated Services
  • Children Youth and Family Services
  • Youth Transitions
  • Marginalized Young People
  • NEETs
  • Young People's Realities
  • Young People's Experiences
  • Practice Based Learning
  • Innovation in Organisations
  • Learning for Workforce Development
  • Learning for Service Development
  • Knowledge Cafes
  • 'Open Space' Technology

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Research Output

Exploring Young People's Experiences of Growing-Up Under Covid-19

Monchuk, L., Day, L., Rizzo, S. & Percy-Smith, B., 19 Aug 2020, (Accepted/In press) Researching in the Age of COVID-19: Volume 2: Care and Resilience. Kara, H. & Khoo, S-M. (eds.). Policy Press, Vol. 2.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • Using community-based action research as a participatory alternative in responding to violence in Tanzania

    Percy-Smith, B., Bakta, S., Noske-Turner, J., Mtenga, G. & Portela Souza, P., 15 Mar 2020, Communication for Development: An evaluation framework in action. Noske-Turner, J. (ed.). Practical Action Publishing

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • Action research with young people: possibilities and ‘messy realities’

    Percy-Smith, B., Cuconato, M., Reutlinger, C. & Thomas, N. P., 1 Sep 2019, In : Discourse. Journal of Childhood and Adolescence Research. 2019, 3, p. 255-270 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue

    Open Access
  • Activities

    Are creative approaches to wellbeing just soft and fluffy?

    Amanda Edmondson (Organiser), Barry Percy-Smith (Participant), Hayley Trowbridge (Participant) & Philip Walters (Participant)

    26 Nov 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipating in a conference, workshop, ...


    Youth participation and the promise of Action Research: A critique

    Barry Percy-Smith (Speaker)

    26 Oct 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

    Struggles for active citizenship: New perspectives on styles and spaces of youth participation

    Barry Percy-Smith (Keynote speaker)

    15 Mar 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

    Engaging Families and Communities in Violence Prevention Work

    Barry Percy-Smith (Speaker)

    16 Jan 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

    Realising children’s rights and participation in practice: Challenges and opportunities

    Barry Percy-Smith (Invited speaker)

    15 Jun 2016

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

    Press / Media