I am Professor of Youth and Policy and Director of Research for the School of Education and Professional Development at the University of Huddersfield, where I have worked since 1999.
I am a professionally qualified youth and community worker. Prior to joining the University, I worked as a regional manager for a national voluntary youth work organisation and as a regional youth policy and campaigns officer for the government’s Commission for Racial Equality. Since joining the School of Education and Professional Development, I have contributed to sociology and social policy teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, to the professional development of our Youth and Community Work students and have been actively involved in research. My research focuses mainly on state policies around young people and multiculturalism, racism, community cohesion, and the prevention of extremism, and particularly on how ground-level policy-makers and practitioners mediate and enact such state policy agendas.
I have developed my research through a number of past and present funded projects created in collaboration with local government bodies in the north of England, with the research findings creating impact by influencing national and regional policy and practice. I have previously been Principal Investigator on a Prevent-funded action research project into young people’s feelings about ‘identity’, cohesion and segregation in Rochdale, Greater Manchester and on an evaluation of the first year of Prevent activity in Kirklees, West Yorkshire. I was also Co-Investigator on a project examining how local authorities in West Yorkshire had developed the Community Cohesion and Prevent agendas, funded by Local Government Yorkshire and The Humber, and developed in collaboration with colleagues from our School of Human and Helath Sciences.
I have published two full-length books based on this research.’Youth, Multiculturalism and Community Cohesion’ (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) was shortlisted for the British Sociological Association’s 2012 Phillip Abrams Memorial Prize, and ‘Responding to the Threat of Violent Extremism –Failing to Prevent’ was published by Bloomsbury Aacdemic in 2012. I have also had articles published in leading peer-reviewed journals such as ‘Sociology’, ‘Critical Social Policy’, ‘The Journal of Youth Studies’ and the ‘British Journal of Politics and International Relations’. Additionally, in 2009 I was invited to give evidence at Westminster to the House of Commons Select Committee Inquiry hearing on Prevent, and I have appeared on BBC 2 TV’s ‘Newsnight’ and BBC Radio 4’s ‘Analysis to discuss my research, alongside contributions to a number of national newspaper and magazine articles. I currently co-ordinate the School’s Social Cohesion Research Group and serve as Deputy Director of Research.