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Professor of Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences
I joined the university in November 2008 as Professor of Social Work and Director of the Centre for Social Work. Prior to that I spent seven years as Professor of Social Work at the University of the West of England, Bristol and before that was Professor of Social Policy and Social Work at University College Dublin. I previously also worked in my native Ireland, in Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork. I am a qualified social worker and completed my first degree in Applied Social Studies at the University of Bradford (1987) and my PhD in the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Cambridge (1987-1990), which was a historical sociology of social work and child protection. My teaching and research interests lie in the areas of child abuse/ protection, domestic violence, gender/family relations, in particular social interventions into fatherhood, men lives and masculinities, and the social science of social work. I have also researched and published on best practice in social work. I am interested in trying to promote learning from what is done well and am exploring ways of using the media and internet to promote public understandings of the complexities of social work and more positive images of it. At the heart of my research (which has been funded by government and non-government agencies and the EU) is a focus on evaluating social work and social care interventions to increase understandings of how these practices 'work' and their outcomes for service users. I have tried to draw on a range of sociological concepts (such as risk society, reflexivity, intimacy, individualization, life politics, mobilities) to inform my empirical research with the aim of developing theoretical understandings of the nature of social work. I am increasingly drawn to using psychoanalytic and other relational theories to illuminate social worker's emotional experiences and inner worlds and to understand the complex relationships that exist between social workers and service users. I am currently using psycho-social concepts and theories of movement and 'mobilities' to inform an ethnographic study of social work intervention focusing on social worker's practices and experiences of home visiting, with the aim of trying to increase understandings of their struggles to gain access to and protect abused children. My current research also includes an evaluation of an intervention programme for abusive fathers, funded by the Welsh Assembly Government. I have supervised PhDs to completion in my areas of expertise and welcome enquires and applications from prospective candidates.
Law and Social Sciences Building
Nottingham NG7 2RD
telephone: +44 (0) 115 846 8939
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 5232