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Current Research Projects in the Department of Sociology


Youth Under Lockdown Research Project 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, young people have been talked about by politicians and media commentators, often using tired tropes of youth as trouble (e.g. ‘super-spreaders’ who ignore the rules) or in trouble (e.g. ‘vulnerable’ victims falling behind in education). Rarely have young people been asked their views directly.

The Youth Under Lockdown project is gathering the experiences of young people in North East England, analysing these alongside dominant public discourses and other social science research and making the findings available and relevant to organisations that work with young people. The researchers – from Durham (Prof Emma Murphy, Dr Hannah King, Wendy Gill, Simon Bees) and Huddersfield (Prof Robert MacDonald) – have conducted a survey of nearly 1,000 young people aged 14-30 years and are currently undertaking in-depth interviews with 50 young women and men from across the region.

Partner Organisations

The team are working in partnership with leading regional youth organisations – Children North East ( and the North East Youth Alliance (Youth Focus North East and North East Youth The team are also working with the Youth Futures Foundation ( who have helped to fund the project. 


The team have been involved in a number of regional and national events for policy makers, practitioners, the general public and academics. To view a recording of a recent presentation, click here (minutes 1:45:50 – 1:57:27)

An initial findings report based on the survey results is available here:

Murphy, E., King, H., MacDonald, R., Gill, W. (2020) How did young people in the North East of England experience the COVID-19 lockdown? Initial Findings. Durham University

If you would like to find out more about the research or our findings so far, please contact

Dr Hannah King

Professor Emma Murphy

Professor Robert MacDonald

Wendy Gill

Simon Bees