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Personal profile


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 


  • 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

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Barry Percy-Smith is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2014 2018

Research Output 1998 2019

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

Percy-Smith, B., Cuconato, M., Reutlinger, C. & Thomas, N. P., 23 May 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Discourse. Journal of Childhood and Adolescence Research. 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue

action research
youth research

Everyday pedagogies: New perspectives on youth participation, social learning and citizenship

Percy-Smith, B., Thomas, N. P., Batsleer, J. & Forkby, T., 10 Jul 2019, Young People and the Struggle for Participation: Contested Practices, Power and Pedagogies in Public Spaces. Walther, A., Batsleer, J., Loncle, P. & Pohl, A. (eds.). Routledge, 22 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Recognition, inclusion and democracy: learning from action research with young people

Percy-Smith, B., McMahon, G. & Thomas, N., 27 May 2019, In : Educational Action Research. 27, 3, p. 347-361 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue

action research

Evaluation of Renfrewshire Champions Board

Moeller, C., Percy-Smith, B. & Garbutt, R., Jul 2018, 74 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Open Access
4 Citations (Scopus)

Involving young people in drug and alcohol research

Brady, L-M., Templeton, L., Toner, P., Watson, J., Evans, D., Percy-Smith, B. & Coppello, A., 2018, In : Drugs and Alcohol Today. 18, 1, p. 28-38 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Research Personnel
Behavior Therapy

Activities 2015 2015

  • 1 Invited talk

Using an Asset-Based Approach to Explore the Benefits of Involvement in Community-Centered Initiatives

Joanna Brooks (Speaker), Alison Rodriguez (Speaker), Barry Percy-Smith (Speaker), Nigel King (Speaker), A. Bravington (Speaker)
2 Sep 2015

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk