PhD, CPsychol, Dipl. Psych.
PhD at Loughborough University, UK (2007); German Diplom in Psychology at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany (2002). Studied Philosophy to BA equivalent level at the University of Cologne, Germany.
BPS - graduate membership, Chartered Psychologist. Psychology of Women and Equalities Section member.
Member of the International Society for Theoretical Psychology (ISTP). Elected member of the executive committee.
Member of the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG), The Open University.
Member of the Harm & Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC), The Open University.
Member of the Discourse Unit (E. Burman & I. Parker; Manchester Metropolitan University).
Coming from a background in philosophy, theoretical- and forensic psychology, I have become interested in transdisciplinary psychosocial forms of critique and inquiry, inspired by the work of I. Stengers, G. Deleuze and M. Foucault. In this context I am tracing the theoretical as well as concrete practical issues around memory and suggestibility in psychology as well as in legal contexts (how children’s credibility as witnesses is conceptualised, or how psychological expertise/knowledge is used/presented in courts of law).
Since suggestibility first featured as a 'topic' in psychology it inspired a paradox. On the one hand 'being suggestible' was considered to be an expression of manipulability and irrationality, i.e. expressing our 'exposure to the social'. On the other hand the 'ability to be suggestible' was considered the most fundamental characteristic of the human mind, the psyche as such, accounting for the possibility of learning as well as for that of affection and social cohesion. In ambiguously raising the question of 'how we relate while also being separate'; 'how we know while continuously having to perform, reaffirm and reconstitute such knowing in relation to ourselves and others', suggestibility expresses what could be called the paradox of the 'psycho-social'. Suggestibility can be seen to carry this paradox of the psychosocial into the ordering disciplinary structures of psychological (and legal) practice opening up a transdisciplinary mode of inquiry. Looking at the reciprocal dynamics emerging between 'memory' and 'suggestibility' allows to explore the problem of the circumstances of 'knowing', the conditions of knowledge production, and the practices that express, perform and communicate knowledge. This opens up a perspective at the dynamic intersection of subjectification and agency, i.e. the question of power and knowledge can be asked as a performative question.
1) Listening Network: Cultures of Listening in Research and Practice:
In recent years the idea/concept of listening has begun to feature prominently at the intersection of social sciences, arts and humanities based research. At the same time theorising has remained disparate and exciting synergies between work in different disciplines, and its relevance to for example political- social-, legal- and research practice, have not been explored systematically.
This network offers a meeting point to facilitate such exploration by bringing together a growing network of researchers and practitioners from interdisciplinary backgrounds, including Art, Childhood Studies, Law, Education, Sociology, Geography, Social Work, Critical Theory, Literary Studies, Modern Languages, Philosophy, Politics, Music, Critical-, Social-, and Forensic Psychology.
The aim of this network is to link academics and practitioners from different disciplines and professional backgrounds who share an interest in listening, including:
See the Listening Network for recent activity and seminars: http://fass.open.ac.uk/research/projects/listening-network
2) Cultures of Listening in Child Protection : developing ‘dark listening’ as a method
For a long time research into children’s rights and protection has focused on giving children a voice. Less attention is paid to what we do with what they say, i.e. whether and how we listen. The term ‘cultures of listening’ captures the idea that child protection agencies, and those working within them, each have different practices and values that influence how they listen. Here listening is not just understood as how they hear, or how they use specific skills when talking to children/families; but also how they make sense of-, record and share information when working with families/children, colleagues within their own and other agencies.
Such ‘cultures of listening’ are in part determined by policy, statute and training. But they are also shaped by each professional’s personal experience of doing their job in the context of:
As part of this research I am developing a participatory research method called ‘dark listening’, inspired by the artist Lavinia Greenlaw’s work (Greenlaw 2011).
This method works with practitioners in the field (e.g. social workers and police officers) to collaboratively find new ways to explore what they do with what they hear when listening to families, children and colleagues; to explore the experience of listening while acknowledging the personal risk and effort involved in listening in a context where the stakes for front line workers in child protection are ever rising (due to media attention and criminalization of professional failure), while working conditions have become more and more precarious (due to austerity and increased case loads).
3) Liminality and Affectivity: Conceptualizing the dynamics of suspended transition
(collaboration with Prof Paul Stenner, The Open University, Dr Monica Greco, Goldsmiths University, Dr Megan Clinch, The Open University).
The seminar explored a new way of conceptualizing and explaining a set of social problems involving ‘troubled’ scenes of transition. By synthesising conceptual work on affectivity and liminality, social scientists working at the intersection of diverse scientific fields will clarify the social and experiential dynamics of a selection of difficult and controversial practice situations or ‘hotspots’ (e.g. contested illness). A carefully structured workshop environment will build towards an innovative transdisciplinary psychosocial paradigm. The workshop will be followed up by a more specifically practice oriented networking event, high-impact publications, a web-presence, and a substantial grant application.
4) Emergence and bio-social imagination: suggesting ways to approach complex problems including climate change and antibiotic resistance (in collaboration with Dr Nick Lee, Warwick University)
"Cross-examining Suggestibility: Memory, Childhood, Expertise." - Comparing child witness practice in England and Germany
This research has drawn on the work of G. Deleuze and I. Stengers to compare child witness practice in England and Germany. The transdisciplinary approach combined a genealogy of history, theory and research into suggestibility with an ethnography of the English and German legal system and the analysis of interviews with legal and psychological practitioners and researchers in England and Germany.
Following up and expanding research into suggestibility and child witnessing.
International research-practice conference (in collaboration with Barnardo’s tlc):
Lost in Application: Child witnesses and psychological research on trial
Held: June 10th, 2009, Hilton Hotel, Kents Hill, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, UK
This research-practice conference presented an opportunity for an international, interdisciplinary exchange between practitioners and researchers working with child witnesses. The conference included keynote addresses by:
I am interested in supervising work on theoretical and historical issues in psychology, as well as mixed methods or qualitative (particularly ethnographic or discursive) research in the area of memory, suggestibility, witnessing, psychology and law, child protection, child witnesses, children's rights, gender and sexual violence, practice research.
Simon Jan Hutta (co-supervision with Prof K. Hetherington, Geography): "Geographies of Geborgenheit in a context of violence: queer struggles for safety in Rio de Janeiro" (completed Nov 2010)
Simon Wharne (co-supervision with Dr D. Langdridge): "Making decisions in mental healthcare: a phenomenological study" (completed Dec 2013).
Jade Levell: “The Road Home Research Project. Exploring the Intersection of ‘Gang’ Membership and Childhood Exposure to Domestic Violence and Abuse: Finding Themes from Stories of Survival.” (co-supervision with Dr R Earle, Dr. C Kubiak)-ongoing.
Sara Hammond: “Exploring children’s experience of participation in Family/Criminal Court proceedings – broadening the notion of resilience” (co-supervision with Dr Sarah Crafter, Prof Jo Phoenix)-ongoing.
I am Qualification Lead for F73 (MSc in Forensic Psychological Studies) and I have chaired production of the new masters module ‘Investigating Forensic Psychology’(DD802), which presents as main part of F73 from 2018J.
I have contributed to production and presentation of DSE212 Exploring Psychology, DXR222 Exploring psychology project, DD307 Critical Social Psychology, and the more recent DD317 Advancing Social Psychology.
In the past I have chaired production and presentation of the now discontinued D873 Forensic Psychology: witness, experts and evidence on trial (D873), and D872 Forensic psychology: crime, offenders and policing (D872).