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1998 …2024

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Last updated 18th April 2024


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

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

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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