Dr Lisa Williams

Senior Lecturer in Criminology

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In 2007 Lisa completed her ESRC funded PhD research collecting further data for the Illegal Leisure study at the University of Manchester. Her research investigated changing patterns of recreational drug taking across the life course. The aim was to explain why and how some people decide to take drugs and continue to take them, others desist and others remain abstinent over time. A multi-disciplinary approach drawing upon theories of risk and life course criminology was developed to explain onset, continuity, change, desistance and abstinence. At the beginning of the study, the sample were aged 14. Lisa collected further quantitative and qualitative data from them when they were aged 28 and created a longitudinal qualitative dataset.  The findings of this research have been published in two books: Illegal Leisure Revisited (Routledge, 2011) and Changing Lives, Changing Drug Journeys (Routledge, 2012).

In 1996, Lisa graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a Social and Cultural Studies degree. She completed a Masters in Criminology at Keele University in 1997. Prior to undertaking her PhD research, Lisa worked as a Research Fellow at SPARC, Department of Applied Social Science, University of Manchester. Her work there focused upon both recreational and dependent drug taking. After completing her PhD, Lisa was employed as a Research Associate in the School of Law for an ESRC funded project exploring the development, operation and impact of the Drugs Intervention Programme and concepts of risk in policy and practice in relation to drug offenders.  The findings of this study have been published in the book Tough Choices (Oxford University Press, 2012).  More recently, she has worked on research projects explore the consumption of synthetic cannabinoids among prison and homeless populations. Currently, she is undertaking a visual ethnigraphy using photography and objective interviews to document aspects of recreational drug taking. Lisa also has extensive teaching experience within the field of criminology and has been employed as a Lecturer and Teaching Assistant in the School of Law, University of Manchester and an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Manchester Metropolitan University. Currently, she is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Law, University of Manchester and teaches on various undergraduate research methods courses and Drugs and Society. She is also Q-Step Senior Lecturer and helps co-ordinate paid internships for second year social science students. in May 2017, Lisa was appointed as Director of Methods@Manchester, a School of Social Science initiative, which promotes the methodological expertise at Manchester and organises cutting-edge training events. She is particularly interested in using creative methods in her research. Lisa is a founding member of Drugs: North West, a research network bringing together researchers working in the North West of England. 

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Lisa enjoys photography, clubbing and creating. She is a founding member of Old Trafford Wonder Women WI. 

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