Personal profile

Research interests

My research interests include the notion of ‘knowing’ in social work, something which is informed by philosophical questions related to reality and what we can, or claim, to know about it. Understanding and what constitutes (a version of) reality are common themes that run through my work and I’ve explored this in relation to the role that emotion plays in influencing practice and the need to tolerate not knowing.  Within my work I’m keen to discuss and promote social work ethics and values – something which has led to social justice becoming a stronger theme in what I write about.  

Linked to the above, I’ve found much inspiration in Anderson’s ‘Reality Isn’t What It Used To Be’ (1990) and like to keep references to Searle’s work on social ontology close to hand – I’m also a big fan of Adam Curtis’s documentary ‘HyperNormalisation’ (2016).  In terms of value perspectives, I think Brookfield’s (2009) conception of critical reflection and Hoggett et al’s (2013) thoughts on fairness and resentment are brilliant.

In addition to these areas, I’m interested in practice education and, linked to ‘knowing’ in social work, I’m keen to explore how student social workers and qualified practitioners make decisions in practice and what provokes them to do this in a more deliberate way – again looking at how our emotions shape what we do and how we do it, together with ideas about evidence informed practice and practice based evidence.



Approach to teaching


I am a registered Social Worker and qualified Practice Educator with experience of children and families social work, having previously worked for Brighton and Hove City Council.  I joined the School of Applied Social Science as a part-time lecturer in 2011 and took up a full-time position in 2013 – I gained Fellowship status of what is now Advance HE in 2014.  Before completing my social work training I worked in the NHS as a Research Assistant in Sexual Health and as a Service Development Officer in Intermediate Care.

Given that my experiences of being a Practice Educator and my enthusiasm for children and families work led me into teaching, these practice experiences continue to influence my interest and approach to both teaching and research.


How I like to teach:

I like to draw on conceptual ideas from three main areas - critical theory, systemic thinking and relationship-based practice.  I feel that the combination of these fits well with social work as a largely applied subject and that they offer a level of challenge and depth that enables student development in a way which provokes reflection and curiosity.  Within my teaching I frequently draw on the work of Elieen Munro, Gillian Ruch and Stephen Webb (especially Stephen’s book ‘Social Work in a Risk Society’) who are some of those who have inspired me over the years.    

During teaching sessions I provoke and encourage students to work together to solve practice dilemmas, to question themselves and others and to think in ways that may be new to them.  I see it as us learning together and really enjoy what students bring from their own experiences - I also look forward to visiting my tutees when they're out on placement, something which helps me to maintain a connection to pracitce.

Education/Academic qualification

Master, Social Work

Award Date: 20 Jul 2007


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