I have a range of research interests, and am always keen to develop conversations and research partnerships in these areas.
Risk, Young People and Professional Practice
My PhD study explored how youth practitioners (youth workers and others working in non-formal contexts with young people) engaged with notions of risk, both in terms of ‘risky’ and ‘at-risk’ young people and risks in their own practice. The thesis examined how young people are constructed as risk-objects through organisational and practice processes, and that these organisationally constructed risk-biographies can be at odds with how practitioners view and engage with the young person. The thesis also examined the tensions facing practitioners when seeking to be “human and humane” in a neoliberal environment that increasingly commodifies youth, the work and themselves as practitioners.
I have so far published two articles relating to the PhD (both to the Journal of Youth Studies), and hope to write several others in the coming months.
I continue to be interested in all aspects of risk, youth and the practice interface.
Health, Wellbeing and Harm Reduction
Building on previous work and through my current work with the harm reduction charity The Loop, I am exploring approaches to health and well-being based around harm reduction, primarily in the context of festivals, clubs and the night-time economy. I am particularly interested in how initiatives can provide people with the information and tools to navigate risk decisions, and how this can lead to safer use.
As a former youth worker, I still follow developments around the field of youth work with interest. An often passive observer in this area, I am interested in how ‘youth work’ constructs itself as a discipline or profession in relation to ‘youth’ and young people, and how notions of ‘impact’, ‘outcome’, and indeed the ‘defence’ of the professional generates youth work epistemologies that may be divergent from the interests of youth and young people.