Current students

Summary profiles of the work being undertaken by our current students are provided in the table below.

postgraduate researcher Title of study Funded in collaboration with Main supervisor (2nd supervisor)
Maimon Ali Housing quality in Malaysia: an assessment on current practices Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia Barry Goodchild (paul Hickman)

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Maimon Ali, MSc BA

0114 225 3562 /

Maimon is currently a full time phD student at CRESR and funded by Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia. Her thesis entitled 'Housing Quality in Malaysia: An Assessment on Current practice'. Her research objectives are:

  • to undertake an evaluation of Malaysian practice in assessing housing quality
  • to examine the possibilities for development of quality assessment tools for Malaysia housing
  • to provide an appraisal of controlling quality in new housing development in Malaysia

In line with that, she will see the method and theory which practices in the United Kingdom and other countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong and the applicability of the theory and methodology for housing quality into Malaysian context.

  Tom Archer The collective ownership and reuse of empty housing and land Sheffield Hallam University David Robinson (Ian Cole and peter Wells)

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Tom Archer

0114 225 3562

This study explores the collective ownership and reuse of empty housing and land, specifically in urban areas with poor physical environments. In a context of reduced public expenditure, along with reticence and risk aversion in the house building industry, areas once subject to regeneration programmes are experiencing worsening physical conditions and significant levels of empty housing. In between the orthodoxies of private and public intervention lies an alternative approach, one where residents and partners collectively own and use land and housing for community benefit. The emergence of urban community land trusts, in both the UK and North America, provides fruitful ground to explore this phenomenon. Adopting an intensive case study approach, mixing a variety of research methods, three urban collectives will be studied; two based in the UK and one exemplary North American case. The study is orientated toward the structuring processes that enable and constrain such collectives, and the space for creative agency that leads to their development.

Christopher Devany 'Hidden NEETs'; Understanding marginalisation through relational class Sheffield Hallam University Richard Crisp (Tony Gore)

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0114 225 3562 /

Chris' phD research aims to address the significant gap in knowledge around the experiences and conditions for young men who are NEET, whilst not claiming welfare. Recent evidence suggests that this problem is substantial, with 59.7% of unemployed young people not claiming Jobseeker's Allowance. This group is termed as the ‘hidden NEETs’, with the word ‘hidden’ denoting how being unemployed and not claiming benefits leaves young people obscured from the formal support structures of the state.

Methodologically his research shall compare the practices of young working-class and middle-class men in Sheffield around finding work and how they navigate their lives without work.

In addition to his phD research, Chris is also working for CRESR as a Graduate Research Assistant.

Julian Dobson Can urban anchor institutions become low carbon leaders? Sheffield Hallam University peter Wells (Will Eadson)

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Julian Dobson

0114 225 3562 /

Julian comes to CRESR following an extensive career as a journalist specialising in public policy and urban regeneration, and as a consultant and trainer working with practitioners. Through a range of writing and research projects he has explored the interface between policy and practice. He is the author of How to Save Our Town Centres, to be published by policy press in February 2015.

His phD will examine the link between concepts of urban governance and theories of low carbon transitions, examining in particular the role of non-elected 'anchor institutions' in major cities. He is particularly interested in ideas of civic leadership in the context of climate change, and the concepts of civic leadership and approaches to action deployed both in aspiration and in practice by influential organisations that do not have a democratic mandate.

Mike Foden Reclaiming unwanted things: alternative consumption practices, social change and the everyday ESRC Tony Gore (Richard White and Ryan powell)

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Mike Foden

0114 225 3562 /

This study looks at ways of acquiring, using, exchanging and disposing of goods 'outside of' the formal economy, specifically goods that would otherwise go to waste. The empirical research focuses on three examples of these alternative consumption practices: (1) giving and receiving goods free of charge via online reuse networks; (2) collecting and redistributing unwanted fruit from public and private spaces; and (3) reclaiming discarded food from supermarket bins.

Three research questions are explored. First, following Shove et al. (2012) each of the three ways of acquiring and disposing is defined and delimited 'as a practice', identifying the shared elements – materials, competences and meanings – that make them recognisable as particular practices and distinguishable from other practices. In the process, the historical emergence and evolution of each practice is considered, as are the connections between these and other practices. The second and third research questions then turn to participants' engagements with the three practices and how they make sense of this engagement, asking why they use these alternative channels for acquisition and disposal and how these alternatives have come to be part of their ordinary day-to-day lives. The former avenue reveals complex negotiations of different notions of value and values, while the latter draws attention to the role played by social relations in exposure and 'recruitment' to new practices.

Underlying the research is a concern with the relationship between everyday life and social change, and with various interactions of the radical and the ordinary. How is daily life used as a space for innovation and how does this relate to changes in wider social practices (understood as routinised ways of behaving that endure across different moments of enactment)? How do particular 'alternative' approaches to consuming interact with and impact upon other day-to-day activities? How do these alternatives become, or fail to become, 'normal'? In engaging with these overarching questions, the study takes from, and contributes to, numerous existing areas of enquiry and debate: the nature of contemporary political participation and activism; theories of behaviour and practice change, especially as applied to environmental sustainability; experiments in non-capitalist economic spaces; how people relate to, and through, the things they no longer want. Throughout, and again drawing on existing critical literature, there runs a concern with questioning taken-for-granted concepts, especially 'waste' and how it is valued, and oppositions such as alternative/mainstream and formal/informal.

Kiri Langmead The role of governance function in social enterprise: driver of radical socioeconomic change, source of social value or means to an end? Sheffield Hallam University Richard White (peter Wells and Chris Dayson)

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Kiri Langmead

0114 225 3562

This study will investigate how social enterprises respond to, engage with, and understand themselves in relation to capitalist culture. In particular it will explore the extent to which social enterprises do, or should, use governance function, including processes of decision-making, profit distribution, labour organisation and collective identity construction, to challenge the social and environmental issues associated with capitalism.

  • Do social enterprises, through their governance function, seek to (i) contribute to or catalyse radical socioeconomic change, and/or (ii) to challenge, diversify or evolve understandings of capitalist culture through new interactions with its underlying norms?
  • Is governance function understood as means to or a source of social value in SEs?
Richard McHugh Third Spaces, Radical Education in ‘Outsider’ Identity Group Cultures  REF paul Hickman (Ryan powell)

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Richard McHugh

0114 225 3562

The study straddles three areas of interest (third spaces, ‘outsider’ identity group cultures and education) and intends to explore places, identities and catalysts for the production of third spaces which are sites of radical democratic informal education in and amongst ‘outsider’ identity group cultures. The research focuses on such radical democratic educative processes in deprived neighbourhoods, as well as amongst groups who either by their own volition or through structural pressure occupy positions of being outside of normative ways of being and mainstream ways of living. Some groups that occupy positions of ‘outsider’ identity cultures might include Football Hooligan ‘Firms’ and One percent Motorcycle Clubs or informal enterprise groups and collectives as just a few diverse examples. Crucial to the research is an exploration of the educative dynamism of third spaces; inclusive of places and spaces conducive to radical democracy in the everyday for those identifying or identified as being involved in ‘outsider’ identity group cultures. This exploration intends to illuminate the thus far unexplored and even ignored educative processes of such identity groups, as although it is widely acknowledged that ‘accepted’ or ‘mainstream’ groups such as professional group identities require and rely on learning to be processes it is overlooked that just as a surgeon or hairdresser goes through a process of learning to be so does the person who is part of a ‘outsider’ identity group.


Larissa povey Female Ex-offenders and Welfare Conditionality  REF Del Roy Fletcher (Richard Crisp, Tony Gore)

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Larissa povey

This phD project examines the gendered dimensions of Wacquant’s 'carceral-assistantial net' as female ex-offenders navigate a tougher conditionality and sanctions regime. The use of sanctions in the UK has grown exponentially as a means of inducing correct behaviour in welfare recipients. As the role of the welfare state shrinks, responsibility has shifted to individuals who have an ‘obligation to work’. These punitive ‘activation’ reforms have arguably impacted vulnerable groups in unforeseen ways; it is no coincidence that the rise in sanctions has been accompanied by an increase in the award of financial hardship grants. Within both welfarist and penal discourses ‘welfare dependent’ and ‘criminal’ are constructed as social ‘problems’; employment is heralded as a panacea to these ‘problems’. The convergence of these discourses impacts on how women in poverty and women as lawbreakers are perceived, and the conceptualisation of women being 'at risk'. This phD project seeks to understand women's experiences at the carceral-assistantial nexus and the suitability of the welfare system to successfully engage with female ex-offenders and those 'at risk' of offending. It examines this emerging 'precariat' by exploring the experiences of women under reformed welfare policies and how this affects their behaviour, attitude and wellbeing as well as the wider impact on their dependants.

This research has the potential to increase understanding of the gendered dimensions of Wacquant’s ‘carceral-assistential net’ by focusing on women labelled as being ‘at risk’ or criminalised, uncovering sources of (mis)information that underpin broader policy regimes that shape their lives. It also seeks to address a gap in the literature which at best reproduces socially constructed identities of women, and at worst ignores the important gendered dimension of those caught between and controlled by these policy areas.


Ioannis prinos perceptions of Social Exclusion, Social Economy and the State in Greece and the UK Sheffield Hallam University peter Wells (Ryan powell)

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Ioannis prinos

0114 225 3562

My phD research aspires to shape a qualitative, comparative case study of two third sector initiatives in Greece and the UK, taking the form of cooperative social enterprises promoting the socio-economic integration of disadvantaged groups through employment and the provision of services. More specifically, it will attempt to gain an in-depth understanding of the dynamic nature and levels of exclusion and inclusion, through the perceptions and meanings that people in disadvantage (i.e. ex-offenders, mentally ill, homeless, former drug users, etc.) attribute to their experiences of coping with marginalization and inequality as members of the aforementioned organizations. Thus, the following main research question is framed: How do the members of and perceive their experiences concerning social exclusion and inequality, their identity and positioning in society, as well as the organizations’ impact and activities, in relation to public social policies implemented in Greece and the UK respectively? Nevertheless, it’s a particularly challenging time for social economy and the third sector, but also a period of opportunity and transformations, especially considering the current crisis in Greece, and the austerity measures, rising unemployment, recession, cutbacks in public spending, welfare state reforms and privatization of government social services characterizing most of the Eurozone and the UK. In this context, this investigation will explore the following issues:

  • Does the third sector obscure the state’s responsibility as the chief guarantor of social cohesion and distributor of social goods and services, compromising the effectiveness, usefulness, ‘reach’ and even the ideological merit of a potent social welfare state? Is it used as a means of social control for maintaining the economic and political status quo?
  • Is the acquisition of a basic income the catalyst in the participants’ efforts towards socioeconomic integration, or other factors commonly associated with social cooperatives (i.e. democratic participation and governance, social activism, community-engagement, ‘sense of belonging’, etc.) are the main ‘drivers’ for their continuous involvement with such organizations?
  • What are the repercussions of discrimination and stigmatization on the participants’ self and social identity (traits attributed to certain identities)? Is there a derogatory institutional stigma directly related to membership to social economy initiatives, which eventually neutralizes the main purpose of joining them?
    Tom Shore Spaces of informalization: the geography of behaviours and manners at music festivals ESRC Ryan powell (Tony Gore)

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    Tom Shore BA (Hons), MA

    0114 225 3562 /

    My phD explores the spatial and cultural politics of manners and behaviours at music festivals. Under the working title of 'Spaces of Informalization: The Geography of Behaviours and Manners at Music Festivals' this ESRC-funded research project explores many areas of human geography, the sociology of Nobert Elias, as well as, insights from wider philosophical and theoretical debates in spatial theory. The research project will investigate the notion that music festivals are in essence 'de-controlled' spaces where looser more informal behavioural alternatives become permissible.

    My other main research interests include social and cultural geographies, historical geographies of 'modernity', critical Marxist theory - especially Lefebvre, Debord, Benjamin et al, and local geographies - the urbanisation of Sheffield.

    Beth Speake Welfare reform as structural violence: women and the impact of benefit sanctions Sheffield Hallam University Kesia Reeve (Rionach Casey)

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    This study will explore how the use of benefit sanctions in the UK impact on vulnerable groups of women, through use of the concept of structural violence. The research takes place in the context of increasing use and severity of sanctions imposed, following the Coalition government’s Welfare Reform Act of 2012. In contrast to dominant government and media discourse which characterises poverty as the fault of individuals and the perceived 'failings' of different social groups, this study will explore deeply entrenched structural inequalities in UK society, and how these inequalities make particular groups of women both more vulnerable to being penalised by the welfare benefit system, and more vulnerable to the adverse impacts that these sanctions have on their lives.

      Lucy Taylor The dehumanising of failed asylum seekers: challenging prevailing narratives and restrictive social policy Sheffield Hallam University David Robinson (Kesia Reeve)

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    Lucy Taylor

    0114 225 3562

    Dominant discourses on migration and asylum serve to dehumanise failed asylum seekers. This reinforces and normalises a policy response which deems these people to be deviant and not worthy of the assistance of the British state. This phD will challenge this positioning of failed asylum seekers through an exposition of the reality of their situations, experiences, histories, motivations and aspirations. It will do so using in-depth life history interviews and photography.

      Abigail Woodward Community self-help in an age of austerity Sheffield Hallam University Dr Richard White (Peter Wells)

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    Abigail Woodward

    0114 225 3562 /

    This PhD will explore how community self-help has re-emerged as a coping tactic during a time of increasing austerity. The study will gain a better understanding of the complex experiences of households and communities across Sheffield whilst also comparing the culture and drivers of reciprocal and mutual aid amongst established populations and minority ethnic groups. Addressing this critical gap in knowledge is fundamental and the inclusion of an ethnographic dimension to the study provides a significant opportunity for original knowledge contribution. This both compliments and adds to the understanding of sustainability, resilience and financial vulnerability of different populations.

    Methodologically, the study will explore how society is shaped to respond to increasing austerity whilst also challenging concepts such as citizen responsibilisation and the 'welfare' state.

    Get in touch

    For further information please contact Will Eadson at or call 0114 225 4173.

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