I joined The Open University as a Lecturer in Criminology and Social Policy in 2015, having previously undertaken my PhD within the Department of Social Policy and Criminology here. I have previously taught as an associate lecturer at the University of Northampton and have also spent time working with third sector organisations in the field.
My research interests concern both substantive topics in criminology and the social sciences and methodological issues.
I am interested in the ways in which constructions of social categories relate to people's own experiences, both in terms of the connections and disconnections between official constructions and people's own lives, and in the ways in which official discourses and practices can act as governance tools, with consequences for how people are perceived and act. I explored this topic within my PhD research, which in part considered some of these themes in relation to homelessness.
I have written and spoken about the topic of homelessness, for example on podcasts, and in the film The Homeless Problem. I have written numerous pieces for the HERC blog about homelessness. Most recently, I am working on a project with Hari Parekh about the link between apostasy (leaving a religious faith) and homelessness; and with Vickie Cooper on homelessness and mortality.
I have also undertaken research which explores the experiences of d/Deaf prisoners. This was published as a report for the Howard League for Penal Reform, and has been widely cited, including by the BBC. I have also provided expert evidence to a Crown Court based on the findings of this research. More recently, I have written with Laura Kelly-Corless about the ways in which the experiences of prisoners during the Covid-19 has parallels to the usual experiences of d/Deaf prisoners. I am currently Co-Invesitagor on the British Academy/Leverhulme project 'Life after prison: The journey back to the Deaf Community'. This research explores the lives of culturally Deaf people after their release from prison. I also work with Laura on Open Societal Challenges research which aims to improve outcomes for Deaf people in the Criminal Justice System.
In terms of methodological research, I am particularly interested in participatory visual methods. Between September 2017 and March 2019, I was Principal Investigator on the project 'Do Participatory Visual Methods Give Voice?' The project was funded by the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods, and evaluated the claim that participatory visual methods 'give voice' to participants, by exploring researcher, participant, and audience understandings of 'voice' and participatory visual methods.
In addition to these research interests, I am also co-director of the Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC).
At present, I do not have capacity to supervise additional PhD students. However, usually, I would be particularly interested in supervising PhD research relating to housing and homelessness, participatory visual methods, topics related to 'deservingness'.
I currently supervise five PhD students:
Stephen Akpabio-Klementowski (2015-present, part time), co-supervised with Dr Deb Drake. Provisional Title: Can Punishment and Rehabilitation Co-exist? Investigating the Conditions that Support Prison Learners Seeking Further and Higher Education Qualifications. Stephen has spoken about some of his experiences in the BBC Ideas film, I went from Prisoner to PhD.
Margret Westergreen-Thorne (2020-present, part time), co-supervised with Dr Deb Drake and Prof Steve Tombs. Provisional Title: The role of power in either facilitating or hindering Open University Higher Education provision in prisons in England and Wales.
Andrew Sproul, (2021-present, part time), co-supervised with Dr Vickie Cooper. Provisional Title: Housing First: A Comparative study of the implementation of policy to eradicate homelessness in Scotland and Finland.
Jana Sedlackova (2021-present, full time), co-supervised with Prof Steve Tombs and Dr Simon Carter. Provisional Title: How do contemporary information sources frame the knowledge of corporate crimes? A framing analysis of podcasts, documentaries and online news.
Jayant Ahalawat (2021-present, part time), co-supervised with Dr Cristina Chimisso. Provisional Title: The Power of Predictive Algorithms.
I am currently the module co-chair in production of DD315 Researching Current Issues in Criminology. I have also recently contributed content to Social Research: Crime, Justice and Society (DD215), co-authoring a book chapter and VLE week of teaching on visual and online research methods.
I have also recently worked on the MA in Crime and Justice, contributing to the modules Principles of Psychological and Social Inquiry (DD801) and Global Crime and Justice (DD804). On DD801, I authored materials concerning category construction and homelessness; social constructionism and the use of documents in research; and public perceptions and charitable giving. On DD804, I authored materials on constructing criminological knowledge; constructing crimes of 'the poor'; and industries of punishment, as well as co-authoring materials on classicism and positivism in criminology and genders and feminisms.
I have also previously chaired Welfare, Crime and Society (DD208) and Understanding Criminology (DD212) in presentation.
My teaching at previous institutions has included modules about social research methods, criminological theory, crime and the media, inequalities and poverty, and an introductory module to social policy.
I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.