Overall, my identity as a teacher and researcher is centred upon an interdisciplinary, embedded and participatory approach, and supported by the core research values of democracy, inclusion and coproduction.
My research focuses on young people’s trajectories, how these intersect with their world-view and aspirations, and how all of this is enabled and/or constrained by the dynamics of place. This passion was ignited as a French teacher serving a high poverty context in Merseyside, and then sustained across my Masters study and into my ESRC funded PhD at UoM, completed in February 2019, which involved me working as an ‘embedded’ researcher, adopting a quasi-ethnographic research approach within a secondary school and its community for two years. My thesis reports a qualitative case study of the community assets that young people, living within a high poverty context in the North of England, identify, value and use in their pursuit of positive educational outcomes and wider life chances. In this way, I continue to apply the conceptual and methodological approach, developed in my PhD, in schools and local authorities through diverse engagement work, and have worked with Bolton, Wigan and Oldham local authorities, as well as schools and post-16 provision across GM, to support understanding and development of assets-based processes.
I am currently embedded within Oldham Council as Researcher in Residence. My role there is to lead the evaluation of the DfE’s Opportunity Area programme, working with the DfE, education system leaders, school improvement teams, local professionals, and local communities, families and young people. This has given me an opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge of school and education improvement policies, processes and practices, and these experiences as an embedded researcher position me to work fluidly at the interface of research, policy and practice, in ways that support impact and transformation at a local and regional level, and have international significance.
Since March 2020, I have taken on the departmental role of GM Research and Engagement Champion. Through this role, I have developed a public-facing webpage (due to go live in July 2021) to bring together and highlight our departmental GM related activity, and have delivered CPD on poverty, place and outcomes in GM for a number of local schools. I have also organised, and currently chair, the MiE - GM Seminar Series, which went live in mid-April 2021. This series of seminars and workshops aims to bring together members of the public, policymakers, front-line professionals and academics in GM, to extend our collective knowledge and understanding of local issues, promote research findings, as well as explore and coproduce innovative, research-informed solutions.
I am interested in supervising PhD students, whose research interests centre upon participatory and creative methods with children and young people, the relationship between poverty, place and educational outcomes, extended education and educational geographies.