Harris is Head of the School of Social Sciences and Professor of Communities and Public Policy at Birmingham City University. Previously he was Professor of Community Cohesion at the Centre for Social Relations, Coventry University, Senior Fellow at the University of Birmingham; Executive Director of the Federation of Black Housing Organisations and National Director People for Action (1995-1997) . His main research interests are focused on race, communities and public policy working at the national and international, level.
Harris has led national and international research projects funded by foundations in the UK, US and Japan; published including three books, more than 40 articles, guest editor for peer reviewed journals and articles and coverage in the media i.e. The Guardian, Huffington Post, BBC TV and national radio. Key publications include (2014) White Working Class Voices: Multiculturalism, Community-Building and Change. Bristol, Policy Press; (2012) Race, Housing and Community. Oxford, Blackwell Publishing; (2011) Community Cohesion: A White Perspective. York, JRF; (ed.) (2008) special issue of Housing Studies on Rethinking Race and Residence; (ed.) (2007) Neighbourhood Renewal and Housing Markets: community engagement in the US and UK. Oxford, Blackwell Publishing. Harris has also been regularly invited to speak about his nationally and internationally and has been advisor to the UK government and working with political parties on national policy.
His research and interests are driven by growing up in an inner city, multicultural neighbourhood and working to create a better society. National political debates on identity, immigration and race appeared to contradictory to the lived reality of people who I knew in my neighbourhood or at schools. To this end research for me is not about being esoteric but influencing public policy change.