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Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology+44 (0) 191 33 46465


I have worked at Durham University since 2012, based within the Department of Sociology. I am currently the Deputy Director of Research, leading on our impact work within the Department. I am also the Co-Director of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Programme with my colleague Dr Kate’O’Brien.

I am also currently seconded to the Youth Futures Foundation (What Works Centre for Youth Employment) as an ESRC Policy Fellow, primarily leading a project on 'good work' for young people.

I joined Durham University in the autumn of 2012, contributing to the undergraduate Criminology programme before briefly acting as Vice-Principal and Senior Tutor at Ustinov College. Within the Department I have also held the role of Director of Postgraduate Research and Director of Education. Prior to Durham, I worked as a Programme Director and research fellow in Social Policy at the University of York, where I also completed my PhD. This focused on the role of the voluntary sector in providing support for young people excluded from mainstream education.

Prior to entering academia, I worked within policy and practice roles, mostly with and on behalf of young people. As a professionally qualified Youth Worker, I taught on the Masters in Youth and Community Education for the University of Wales. I have also held Officer level positions in both youth and play work within different organisations including a Local Authority Youth Service, voluntary sector organisations and a Youth Offending Team, including managing a team of 35 staff. My policy roles have included as a Senior Policy and Partnerships Officer in North Yorkshire, working at county and regional levels and providing research and policy advise to a senior MP. I draw upon this diverse experience within my academic roles in both research and teaching.

My research interests are in young people's experiences of marginalisation and youth policy; youth justice; domestic and sexual violence; and the experiences of women in prison. I am committed to working with innovative and participatory methodologies, with experience of PAR, visual, arts-based, creative, biographic and longitudinal approaches.

I am particularly interested in:

  • Youth transitions, including in the areas of: youth justice and international comparative experiences, with an emphasis on policy and community approaches.
  • Domestic abuse and sexual violence, including: at festivals, multi-agency working and programmes for young people.
  • Women and prison, including experiences of: specialist sexual violence services in prison, transition to the community, housing and homelessness upon release and education.

Having taught across a very wide range of modules across the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Sociology and Criminology programmes, I currently convene the third year module ‘Youth in Crisis – Young People, Crime & Justice’ and convene one of the three prisons as part of our Inside-Out Prison Exchange Programmes.

We are the first University outside of North America facilitating the programme, taking groups of third year undergraduate and Masters criminology students (Outside students) into HMP Durham, HMP Frankland and HMP Low Newton to engage in a module on criminal justice with a group of men and women in each prison (Inside students). Aimed at breaking down the barriers between those on the inside and the outside, we facilitate all students to engage in dialogue as equals, using the unique critical pedagogical approach of Inside-Out. Collaboratively, we co-facilitate Think Tanks at HMP Frankland and HMP Low Newton, which has resulted in a developing research interest in working participatorily with incarcerated men and women on issues that affect them.

I am currently a member of the Management Group for PORSCH (Prison and Offender Research in Social Care and Health) North East; an Editor of YOUNG (Nordic Journal of Youth Research), and a member of the British Sociological Association's Youth Studies Group.

I suprevise a number of PhD students, including several to succcessful completion and welcome enquiries from potential PhD students in the fields of young people, crime, justice, marginalisation, violence and abuse and policy are very welcome.


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Supervision students