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)

more information...

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.

Paul Anderson Relocation as a way of ending homelessness   Stephen Green (Main). Kesia Reeve (Second). Paul Hickman (third)

more information...

Paul Anderson

In the early 90s Paul found himself living a hostel for homeless people. Since that time he has worked in the field of homelessness in a number of practical, strategic and policy roles. His previous impacts include helping to:

a) redefine the meanings of rough sleeping,
b) amend the law respecting homeless people
c) persuade Government to change policy on the funding of supported housing.

He has also just completed an MRes into the passing of the Homeelessness Reduction Act.

His current research takes place in the context of benefit and legal changes which have increased pressure on those supporting homeless people (such as local authorities and charities) to make offers of accommodation elsewhere in the country. Paul's research is the first to the interrogate assumptions underlying this approach to resolving homelessness. Arguably, this response implies an understanding of 'home' as an exclusively material need. The likely acceleration of such geographical moves means there is an urgent need for research to hear the narratives of those affected by this approach. Hitherto, their voices have been relatively quiet in discourse dominated by affordability, public spending and ending benefit dependency. It is to address this gap in knowledge through lived experience that the research aims to fill.

Alvaro Castano Garcia Reconnecting with energy: using innovative research methods to overcome energy invisibility WRDTP Aimee Ambrose (William Eadson)

more information...

Alvaro Castano Garcia

The research will focus on our changing relationship with heat as one of the most prominent and carbon intensive energy uses in Northern Europe. Heat also exemplifies our changing relationship with energy and its increasing invisibility in our lives- something driven, in particular, by the transition from coal fires to central heating over the last fifty years. The project will take a mixed methods approach, combining an initial survey with more substantive in-depth qualitative research to understand the nature of our changing relationship with energy and explore the potential for research participation to help re-engage the public with the environmental and ethical debates around energy generation and foster environmental citizenship.

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

more information...

Chris Devany

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)

more information...

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.

Lorna Dowrick Understanding the impact of enduring public sector austerity on local civil society-state relationships ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership (Collaborative Award) Chris Dayson (Chris Damm and Rob Macmillan)

more information...

Lorna Dowrick

The study aims to develop an understanding of the impact of enduring public sector austerity on local civil society-state relationships. There has been limited quantitative research into the local impacts of austerity on the resources available to civil society organisations from Local Government. Nor has there been much research that digs deeper into these impacts to understand how they affect local civil society organisations and their contribution to public service delivery, partnership working and the well-being of communities. This study aims to contribute to addressing this gap using a mixed methods approach.

The collaborative partner for this research is NCVO, umbrella body for civil society organisations in England, and an important producer of research through their Almanac Research Programme which provides an annual statistical overview of formal civil society organisations in the UK.

The award is a 1+3 studentship from 2018 until 2022.

Irene González Pijuan Growing up in Energy Poverty Vice Chancellor's Scholarship with contributions from Citizens Advice and EnAct Aimee Ambrose (Lucie Middlemiss)

more information...

Irene González Pijuan

The PhD intends to address a significant gap in knowledge around understanding experiences and impacts of energy poverty amongst families with children. I will develop methodologies to afford children and young people a voice in research into their experiences and I will explore these experiences and impacts through the lens of social relations, paying particular attention to gender dynamics.

Becky Greenwood Exploring the role of informal urban community support in homeless women’s sense of dignity White Rose DTP Lindsey McCarthy (Kesia Reeve)

more information...

Becky Greenwood

The research aims to explore how women experiencing homelessness access informal support from within urban communities, as opposed to from homeless specific services and how this can affect their levels of dignity. Many homeless women receive community support in public spaces from people such as security guards, librarians and toilet attendants (Casey, Goudie & Reeve, 2008). Informal arrangements with them help women maintain a level of dignity, for example by providing a space to wash. Dignity is an under-investigated concept in relation to homelessness, yet it is crucial for understanding how we approach homelessness. .

Community support can allow women to keep their independence away from homeless services and as a result remain connected to their pre-homeless identity. Research has shown that many perceive homeless services as unwelcoming, male-dominated places characterised by inflexible rules (Hoffman & Coffey, 2008). Avoidance of these services is one reason why many women experiencing homelessness exist less visibly in urban communities and little homelessness research to-date has told their stories. This PhD looks to address this gap.

Laurie Heykoop Green Jobs: The Low Carbon Economy and Labour Market Disadvantage ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership Will Eadson (Richard Crisp and Aiden While)

more information...

Laurie Heykoop

This PhD asks, to what extent can urban investment in ’green jobs’ create employment for those facing labour market disadvantage? It will explore how low carbon and environmental (or ‘green’) initiatives impact on urban labour markets, and potential to use this investment to address labour market disadvantage. Conceptually the PhD will develop understanding of employment dimensions of urban just transitions, including the relationship/tensions between just transitions and the notion of ‘inclusive growth’ in urban scholarship and policy.

Ben Ledger-Jessop Precarity among migrant workers and barriers to accessing formal support Sheffield Hallam University Bob Jeffery (Rich Crisp)

more information...

Ben Ledger-Jessop

Capitalism has always relied on a flexible workforce that it can utilise as it needs. Workers now face a range of issues that include excessive surveillance and insecurity of pay and working patterns under zero hour contracts. At the same time, changes in legislation have made it easier to dismiss workers and alter the terms of their contracts, while a combination of low wages and irregular employment contribute to growing levels of in-work poverty.

Migrants are often used as quick-fix to plug labour shortages; particularly during times of economic downturns, with entry criterion manipulated to ensure migrants arrive to meet the labour market’s need for low-paid labour. Migrants are more likely to be on Temporary Agency Worker contracts, indeed, at the highest rate in Europe. Access to formal support, carried out by trained professionals, such as trade unions, charities and state welfare is restricted by language, knowledge of its existence and material pressures on workers. These factors combine to produce a distinctly heterogenous group of people who often exist in highly precarious circumstances, and whose issues are not well understood through existing research. This PhD aims therefore to develop a better understanding of this group.

Joe McMullan A Working-Class Backlash”? An Exploration of How Class, Culture and Identity Shape ‘Rupture’ in a Post Brexit World Sheffield Hallam University Rich Crisp (Bob Jeffery)

more information...

Joe McMullan

Brexit has raised profound questions about the complex actualities of working-class life and the formations of class, culture and identity within ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods. The notion of Brexit as ‘backlash’ is variously presented as: the dissolution of the Labour vote alongside the rise of UKIP over fears of immigration, an assertion of control as a response to perceived marginalisation and an expression of frustration over a lack of economic opportunity. This timely study will critically interrogate the notion of Brexit as ‘backlash’ and question ‘against what’. In doing so, this PhD project will explore the social, economic, cultural and political processes that informed this point of ‘rupture’.

However, it is imperative to understand that the working-class did not vote as a homogenous group. Hence, this study will explore the differences and tensions within the way individuals, households and the wider community perceived and responded to the referendum. Ethnographic work on working-class life is relatively sparse and it is crucial to revisit and develop this in the context of the perceived socio-political rupture of Brexit, against a wider backdrop of political and economic crisis in the 'urban vortex' (Hall and Savage, 2015).

Sophia Negus Blurring the boundaries between the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’: experiences of in-work conditionality Sheffield Hallam University Paul Hickman (Lindsey McCarthy)

more information...

Sophia Negus

This PhD will explore the experiences, identities, responses and impacts of benefit claimants receiving Universal Credit (UC). The focus is on in-work claimants who have seen the biggest change to their benefit receipt under UC; as they now engage with conditionality. The inclusion of in-work conditionality is ‘unchartered territory’ and an estimated 1.2 million in-work claimants will be affected (Pennycook and Whittaker, 2012). As a new area of social policy, little is known about in-work conditionality and so it is imperative to explore this area as UC continues to roll-out across the country and for all claimant types.  

Under UC, all working-age claimants are subject to conditionality and scrutiny over their deservingness. This re-categorises in-work claimants as 'potential skivers' (Carter and Whitworth, 2015) who are in possession of two problematic and conflicting identities; 'low paid worker' and 'benefit claimant'. The boundaries of deservingness are blurred for in-work claimants and this will have serious practical and personal implications. 

This research will contribute to the currently limited knowledge on in-work conditionality. More broadly, it aims to offer greater understanding on how claiming benefits is experienced, responded to, and managed by claimants and how this affects identities.

  Larissa Povey Female Ex-offenders and Welfare Conditionality Vice Chancellor's PhD Studentship Del Roy Fletcher (Richard Crisp, Tony Gore)

more information...

Larissa Povey

0114 225 3562

Funded in collaboration with: Vice Chancellor's PhD Studentship

Description: This PhD 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 in conflict with the law 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.

Latest publication: POVEY, L. (2017). Where welfare and criminal justice meet: applying Wacquant to the experiences of marginalized women in austerity Britain. Social Policy & Society (16)2, pp. 271–281

This PhD is linked to the ESRC-funded 'Welfare Conditionality: Sanctions, Support and Behaviour Change' project (

Mia Rafalowicz-Campbell Equity in the provision of active travel infrastructure - learning from a city-region approach ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership (Collaborative Award) Ed Ferrari (Steve Parkes, Rebecca Sharpe)

more information...

Mia Rafalowicz-Campbell

There has been a recent acceleration of global policy interest in the promotion of active travel, and Sheffield is pioneering efforts to radically improve provision for active travel. Whilst much of this effort and associated investment focuses on creating new and improved spaces for active modes, there is a challenge in delivering the benefits of such interventions equitably. Certain populations are traditionally underserved by the provision of transport infrastructure and services. It is vital that efforts to increase active travel are not to the detriment of social and spatial equity.

The aim of this research is to contribute to how we understand and address equity with regards to active travel, particularly in the context of the increasingly significant investments being made. Working in partnership with the SCR Mayoral Combined Authority and Living Streets, this research will use an innovative mixed-methods design to understand issues of equity across the Sheffield City Region, and to consider how policies and funding mechanisms can adapt to better promote equity in active travel benefits.

Jamie Redman An Investigation into Young Jobseeker's Experiences of Benefit Receipt in an Era of Conditional Welfare, Insecure Labour Markets and Pejorative Welfare Narratives Sheffield Hallam University Del Fletcher (Richard White)

more information...

Jamie Redman

My PhD research aims to offer insight into the lived experiences of young claimants under a welfare regime that has increasingly endeavoured to re-condition their behaviour. Customarily, conditional welfare is understood of as cementing rights to benefit entitlements with responsible behaviour. For the young Jobseeker demographic specifically, conditional welfare is more concerned with utilising unemployed labour to ensure benefit entitlements produce economically conducive behaviour. The crux of this research will explore the perennial pressures and consequences that a conditional welfare regime can inflict upon young people, especially when contextualised against a backdrop of labour market fragility and dominant, pejorative welfare narratives.

Carina Skropke Community ownership of physical assets in changing times Power to Change Ed Ferrari (Tom Archer; Ian Wilson)

more information...

Carina Skropke

0114 225 3073/

Community Ownership is an essential element to address ever increasing social challenges and to transition to a more sustainable society. However, there has been to date a lack of research which critically examines the role of community ownership. This risks policymakers and other interested institutions drawing a too simplistic, positive picture of transferring ownership to communities as the one great solution to empower people to help themselves.

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the context for communities and organisations that own physical assets. It is arguably now less clear how to use assets to benefit local communities as it might have been pre-COVID -19, and whether similar outcomes can be achieved through alternative means. Also, in many cases it is less clear how income will be generated to cover the running costs of assets as well as the wider operational costs of running an organisation. Although, the outlook is not necessarily negative, new business models for organisations and communities may be needed to account for the maintenance of physical property and to meet the community needs emerging in the post-COVID-19 ‘new normal’.

This research project aims to explore the phenomenon of community ownership of assets in these changing times by (i) examining the local context, role and impact of ownership on your organisation and community; (ii) understanding what this means to the organisation and the community; (iii) identifying how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected organisations and activities; and (iv) exploring organisation’s potential role in post-COVID recovery.

Josie Soutar Social Impact Bonds and the implications for small and medium-sized UK charities Sheffield Hallam University Christopher Dayson (Ellen Bennett, Peter Wells)

more information...

Josie Soutar

This study is concerned with Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) and the implications they have on small to medium-sized charities operating within the UK. SIBs are a new type of outcome-based commissioning to fund the delivery of public services, often through voluntary sector organisations. They aim to utilise finance from capital markets to invest in health and social care, paying out financial returns only when social outcomes have been met. SIBs require at least three parties: the social investor, the public commissioner and the delivery partner, often with an intermediary acting as a fourth party to help develop the complex financial models that SIBs can require.

The UK Government has been keen to promote social investment as a progressive way to fund charity work; with SIBs an innovative solution to the biggest social challenges we face today (Department for Culture, Media and Sport 2017).  But little is known about the long-term impact of SIBs on the shape of the voluntary sector. Against the backdrop of austerity, small or medium-sized charities in particular face real challenges of survival. So far, social investment within the voluntary sector has mainly been through large investments. Thus SIB’s, which require high transaction costs in order to develop complex financial models and a large enough scale to generate sufficient financial returns for investors have the potential to be inaccessible and/or inappropriate to the smaller charity, further adding to their fight for survival.

Beth Speake Compounding vulnerability? The impact of the post-2012 welfare regime on women survivors of sexual violence Sheffield Hallam University Kesia Reeve (Angela Maye-Banbury)

more information...

I am exploring how the post-2012 welfare regime has impacted on women who have experienced rape and sexual abuse. My study will consider the mental health, emotional and material impacts of the current welfare regime; the ways in which the system might prolong or reproduce trauma; the parallels between experiences of abuse and experiences of the welfare system; and the similarities in ‘victim-blaming’ experienced by survivors of sexual violence and welfare claimants.

My analytical approach is centred on an inclusive definition of violence: i.e., that my participants have experienced direct violence through their experiences of rape/sexual abuse/domestic violence; cultural violence through the stigmatising discourses of 'welfare scroungers' and victim blaming within rape culture/misogyny; and structural violence through the social policies enacted through the welfare system which is reproducing avoidable harm/poverty etc.

Key References

Farmer, P. (1996) On suffering and structural violence: A view from below. Daedalus, 25 (1), pp. 261.

Galtung, J. (1969) Violence, Peace, and Peace Research. Journal of Peace Research, 6 (3), pp.167-191.

Galtung, J. (1990) Cultural violence. Journal of Peace Research, 27 (3), pp. 291.

Krumer-Nevo, M. and Benjamin, O. (2010) Critical Poverty Knowledge: Contesting Othering and Social Distancing. Current Sociology, 58 (5), (SAGE Publications).

Lee, B.X. (2016) Causes and cures VII: Structural Violence. Aggressive and Violent Behaviour, 28, pp. 109-114.

Jordan, J. (December 01, 2013). From victim to survivor - and from survivor to victim: Reconceptualising the survivor journey. Sexual Abuse in Australia and New Zealand, 5 (2), 48-56.

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

more information...

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.

  Josie Wilson Active Travel and the School Commute Sheffield Hallam University Ed Ferrari (Steve Parkes)

more information...

Josie Wilson

0114 225 4166 /

This postgraduate research is looking at the journey to school with a specific focus on the transition from primary school to secondary school. Currently children are increasingly demonstrating an upward trend towards obesity and the journey to school provides an opportunity for active travel and engaging in some level of physical activity. Current government statistics note that only 44 percent of pupils aged from 5 to 16 walk or cycle to school (DfT 2019). This presents an opportunity to reflect on the choices and decisions made and to objectively assess both the perceptions and reality of barriers and benefits of active travel to school by pupils and adults with the primary responsibility for the pupil. The research is also working with Modeshift Stars.

Key References

Department of Transport (2019) National Travel Survey. Retrieved from

  Abigail Woodward Getting by? The lived experiences of a Pakistani Muslim community Sheffield Hallam University Dr Richard White (Peter Wells and Nadia Bashir)

more information...

Abigail Woodward

0114 225 3562 /

This PhD explores the extent to which Pakistani Muslims, who are living in some of the most deprived areas of Sheffield, are engaging in informal activities within their support networks. The study adds to the limited research on the lived experiences of Pakistani Muslims during an era of austerity in the UK, providing vital context around the Islamic moral code and the role of cultural norms. The research challenges existing literature which measures poverty and deprivation in the same way, regardless of ethnicity, whilst also highlighting how those not engaging with formalised provision such as food banks and state benefits get by through more hidden forms of help.

Key References

Woodward, A. (2019, June 24) Home ownership and the power of the collective [Web log post].

Woodward, A. (2018) Exploring economic inactivity through lived experiences of British Pakistani Muslim women, Bridge Institute.

Get in touch

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

Seminar series

Find out more

Follow us

Bookmark or share this page