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Dr Michelle Addison

Associate Professor

Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology
Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing


I am interested in the criminalisation of poverty and the role power, stigma, and social harm play in generating social and health inequalities. My research is broadly concerned with a key long-term vision of social justice for those facing the greatest social and health disadvantages in society. I focus on social harm and the experiences of people subjected to marginalisation, minoritisation, and oppression - particularly around gender, class and ‘criminalisation’. I have been Co-I, PI, and project lead on a range of research studies that have included working with people who use illicit drugs, detainees in police and prison custody, women in probation, street homeless, and policymakers and practitioners. I am on the board of UK Alliance ‘Is it a Crime to be Poor?’ which brings together voices across academia and the general public, policy and practice to discuss key issues about the criminalisation of poverty. I'm HEI co-lead for People and Knowledge Exchange, N8 Policing Research Partnership. I am an associate member of Fuse and involved with the School for Public Health Research - Health Inequalities Programme (HIP) to progress research in these areas. 

I was PI of a recently completed Wellcome Trust study examining health, stigma and social inequalities amongst people who use drugs. I am currently deputy-PI of our new large ESRC project (PI - Dr Steph Scott; £1.9 million): 'Disentangling involvement in and the impact of integrated health and criminal justice systems: A North of England Research Consortia'. I am guest editing a special issue for the international journal IJERPH called 'Substance Use, Stigma and Social Harm' (Addison, McGovern and Proudfoot). I'm Co-I on an ESRC funded study (PI – Dr Gethin Rees; £569,494): ‘What is 'Equivalence' in Police Custody Healthcare?’, exploring how detainees are treated in the criminal justice system in comparison to a person at liberty.

As a first-generation student myself, I have always been curious about ‘who gets to belong, and why?’. I was awarded funding by the ESRC Festival of Social Science as well as a Teaching Excellence Grant to explore the impact of ‘imposterism’ amongst students in Higher Education. Feeling ‘out of place’ in certain spaces and around certain people because of ‘who you are and where you’re from’ emerged as a painful everyday experience for some people. The unfairness and inequity of this means I am passionate about inclusivity in education, particularly in my role as the Programme Director of our MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice degree programme.

My publications are international and inter-disciplinary in focus - see here. I am lead editor of Drugs, Identity and Stigma (Palgrave, 2022); Dr Kelly Stockdale and I are co-editors of Marginalised Voices in Criminology (Routledge, forthcoming 2024). I'm lead editor of The Palgrave Handbook of Imposter Syndrome in Higher Education and my monograph Social Games and Identity in the Higher Education Workplace: Playing with Gender, Class and Emotion (2016) was nominated for three awards, named in the Times Higher 'Book of the Year 2016 listings' and covered by the THES.

Esteem Indicators
Research Grants

Scott, S. (PI), Addison, M (dep-PI)., Bambra, C., Ramsey, S., O’Donnell, A., MacDonald, S., King, H., Jobe, A., Stockdale, K., Munford, L., Jackson, K. (2023 – 2027), Disentangling involvement in and the impact of integrated health and criminal justice systems: A North of England Research Consortia, ESRC £1,928,667.00

Salway, S. (PI) et, al. Scott, S., Addison, M. (Co-I) (Jan 23 -Dec 23) Co-creating knowledge partnerships with minoritized & marginalised communities/groups; School for Public Health Research, NIHR,£240,684.00

McGovern, W., (PI) Addison, M., Alderson, H., Cavener, J., Lhussier, M., McGovern, R., and Muir, C., (2023) Combatting and Responding to Stigma, Trauma, Substance Use and Violence. Funder Newcastle City Council, £9250 

Addison, M. (PI), Boliver, V., Meadhbh Murray, O. (Co-Is) (Jan 2023 – Dec 23) ‘How does imposter syndrome impact the academic learning and teaching experience of students at Durham University?’ Durham Centre for Academic Development, Durham Univsity - £4710

Rowe, M. (PI) (et, al.) Addison, M. (2022-2023) ‘The impact of Covid-19 measures on Criminal Exploitation and Serious Violence (CESV) in vulnerable communities, Newcastle-upon-Tyne', funded by Newcastle City Council and Northumbria Police; £52,000

Rees, G.(PI); McKinnon, I.; Finch, T.; Addison, M.; Bell, M. (2021-2024) What is 'Equivalence' in Police Custody Healthcare?, ESRC Open Call, £569,494.93

Alderson, H. (PI) et, al. Addison, M. (2020-2021) PROTECT COVID 19: Exploring lived experiences of the impact of intimate partner violence and abuse on children, affected family members and perpetrators during the COVID- 19 global pandemic. N8 Policing Research Partnership, £25,000

Addison, M. (PI) (2019-2022) ‘A pilot study exploring health inequalities amongst illicit substance users’, The Wellcome Trust, £52,300

Addison, M.; Taylor, Y.; and Breeze, M(2019) ESRC Festival of Ideas - Network Event, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

 Addison, M. (PI) and Stephens-Griffin, N. (2019-2020) The impact of Imposter Syndrome on students’ learning experience: A qualitative pilot study, Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund 

Stockdale, K. (PI), Kaner, E., Addison, M. (2018-2019) Exploring Novel Psychoactive Substance (NPS) use and its consequences within a prison setting, Funded by York St John University

Bambra C (PI), Kaner E, Whitehead M, Salway S, Addison M, Moffatt S, Carr S, Powell K, Barr B, Holland P, Taylor-Robinson D, Popay J, Hatton C, Orton L, Collins M, Johnson P. (2018-2019) Equal North 2: Taking forward the Due North research agenda. NIHR SPHR £91,793

McGovern, R (PI); Kaner, E.; Gilvarry, E.; Lingham, R.; Addison, M.; Geijer-Simpson; Alderson, H,; Minos, D. (2016-2017) 'Addressing the impact of parental substance misuse on children', Public Health England, £59,903.37

Addison M. (PI) Kaner E; Hogan, L.; McGovern R.; Crowe L.; McGovern, W.; McKinnon I. (2016-2017) Exploring Novel Psychoactive Substance (NPS) use and its consequences for police officers and substance users in the North East of England. Funded by N8 Policing Research Partnership, £24,674

Addison, M. (2010-2014) 1+3 ESRC Doctoral Funding, £72,875

Selected Impact & Media Coverage

New Fuse Blog - Stigma: Where's the Harm? Available here - Fuse open science blog by Dr Michelle Addison

Presented evidence on NPS use to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs: Custody-Community Transitions, 2018

Co-authored Policy Briefing: Understanding Pathways to Stimulant Use: User and non-user perspectives on which individual, social and environmental factors shape amphetamine type stimulant use over time, for the Department of Health and Social Care

Universal Credit study (PI M. Cheetham): Professor Phillip Alston’s UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human RightsThe Guardian; The Huffington Post; The Independent; Research presented to House of Commons Work and Pensions select committee

Fuse Blog: 'Please mind the health gap: turning complex equations into a call for action' Heather Brown and Michelle Addison 

Northern Power Women Podcast: 'Health Inequalities' sponsored by Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA)

Fuse Blog: 'Novel Psychoactive Substances: “Cheap drug, better buzz for your money”'

The Palgrave Handbook of Imposter Syndrome in Higher Education: BSA Network Magazine (2020)

Social Games and Identity research: THES Book of the Year list 2016Times Higher Education Supplement

Research interests

  • Criminalisation of Poverty / crimes of poverty
  • Intersectionality, Zemiology / Social Harm, Bourdieu, cultural class framework
  • Lived experiences of people who use illicit drugs
  • Marginalisation
  • Mechanisms of stigma
  • Social & Health Inequalities
  • ‘Crimes’ of the powerless / powerful


Authored book

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Edited book

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Other (Digital/Visual Media)

Supervision students