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Personal profile

Academic Biography

I graduated from The University of Aberdeen in 2002 with an MA in History with Film Studies. Soon after I taught English in Japan for two years, and on my return completed an MA in Japanese Language and Society at the University of Sheffield. Looking to further my research skills, I took an MA at the University of Glasgow, which I completed in 2015. The following year I got my post here at Teesside, and commenced my PhD study.

Summary of Research Interests

I am currently studying towards a PhD in Sociology/Social Policy under the supervision of my Director of Studies, Professor Rob MacDonald. I receive additional supervision from Dr Anthony Lloyd. This is the working abstract for my study:

Exploring labour market security: the perceptions and experiences of gendered work among young adult social care workers in Teesside

This doctoral study aims to contribute new understanding of contemporary working conditions, with focus on the perceptions and experiences of young adult social care workers in the Teesside area. Adult social care work in the UK is characterised by low pay and poor working conditions, and the sector’s high turnover rate reveals particular difficulties with the retention of young people. Tom Montgomery et al. (2016: 2) raise the question of whether policy interventions aimed at attracting young people to the sector risk perpetuating patterns of precarious employment during youth transitions. Furthermore, adult social care work is heavily gendered, and the study looks to explore how gender, as well as social class and place, shape the lives of young people working in the sector. Influenced in method and approach by the Teesside Studies of Youth and Social Exclusion (TSOYTASE), this study looks to complement and add to that rich body of work.

The study will utilise precarious work as a framework for qualitative semi-structured interviews with young adult (18-30) social care workers, in order to evaluate how this type of work is rewarded in this context. The related concepts precarious workers and precarity will also be drawn on to consider the wider ramifications of precarious work (should it be in evidence), and how it interplays with other structural factors and resources. In addition, feminist theories of care and emotional labour will inform a deeper awareness of the practice of care work and its gendered aspects.

Learning and Teaching Interests and Activities

I am currently teaching on the 2nd year module, Investigating Research Methods. In the second semester of 2017-18 I am due to teach on the 1st year module, Making Sense of Society, which I also taught on last year. Last year I also taught sessions on the 2nd year Power, Globalisation and Consumer Theory module, as well as the 3rd year Contemporary Issues in Youth Research, Policy and Practice module.