Student Profiles

Jessica Antell

Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
Gender Health and Sustainability in Using Natural Resources A Case Study in Two National Parks in Wales
Research Supervisor:
Dr Sara MacBride Stewart and Dr Yi Gong
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship
External Sponsor:
National Parks Wales

There is evidence that natural environments are healthy environments. Additionally, there is evidence that there are gendered differences in the understanding and usage of public space. While interrogating this evidence, this research intends to bridge the gap between these two bodies of research.

The research project is heavily driven by the Well-being of Future Generations act (2015) as a framework for exploring how the key stakeholders of (including those who manage and those who use) the National Parks in Wales are delivering a ‘Healthier Wales’ along with how the National Parks are used as a resource for health.

This research project aims to explore

  1. the relationships between gender and use of the natural environment for health;
  2. how policy (including the Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015) and practice, is influencing gendered understandings, ownership and health-related activities.

In order to explore these aims a mixed methods approach will be adopted; including both visitor surveys and ethnographic interviews with stakeholders in the national parks (those that use, and those that manage the national parks). This will provide in-depth data in order to build a case study of both Brecon Beacons National Park and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

Joanne Blake

Start date:
October 2011
Research Topic:
The impact of rationalisation in the third sector on the experiences and values of its employees
Research Supervisor:
Prof R Fevre
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My research will endeavour to understand the impact of organisational change on people working and volunteering in the third sector, as well as the implications such changes have for the role and the ethos of the sector in wider society.

Alice Dal Gobbo

Alice Dal Gobbo
Start date:
October 2013
Research Topic:
Environmental Sustainability
Research Supervisor:
Karen Henwood, Bella Dicks
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The aim of my research is (a) to explore the way in which neoliberal policies and initiatives in the field of environmental sustainability ideologically maintain the status quo. These policies will be problematised through the use of ideas ranging from Social to Psychoanalytic Theory as well as Social Policy. (b) I will also attempt to investigate what social and political alternatives (if any) are opened up by the environmental crisis.

Philippa Davies

Philippa Davies
Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
A critical exploration of the promotion of gender equality in sport in postdevolution Wales
Research Supervisor:
Professor Paul Chaney Professor Daniel Wincott and Professor Howard Davis
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Sport has been a core activity and representation of cultural power and prestige in most human societies for millennia, however, participation in sport re-enforces traditional and often negative, culturally created gender-based roles. Sport is a forum of cultural and prestige in modern day Wales. My research seeks to explore how social policy has promoted gender equality in sport since devolution in Wales. I am interested in the relationships and impact of different actors in the policy making process with a focus on the third sector.

Elen de Lacy

Elen de Lacy
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
Exploring e-cigarette use among young people: mixed methods case-study research
Research Supervisor:
Dr Adam Fletcher, Dr Graham Moore
Supervising school:
DECIPHer,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

This research will explore the role and meaning of electronic cigarettes in young people’s lives, an area which is considered an empirical research blindspot. The study also looks to develop theoretical concepts around the social processes and contexts via which young people learn about, access and use e-cigarettes, and the relationship with conventional cigarettes and other substances. The concept for this study was developed in response to the rapidly growing market in e-cigarettes and public health concerns surrounding their increasing use by young people, in order to inform comprehensive prevention strategies in Wales.

The first aim of the research is to understand the relationship between e-cigarettes and tobacco use, which young people use e-cigarettes, and examine associations with other substances.

The second aim is to explore the role and meaning of e-cigarettes from the perspectives of young people themselves, how they perceive and use e-cigarettes and how these experiences vary according to social background.

Sian Evans

Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
The relationship of social network structure with social participation in midlife.
Research Supervisor:
Prof. Ian Rees Jones and Dr Sin Yi Cheung
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The central goal of my research is to identify the interrelationships between social participation and social networks in mid- to later life.  Specifically I aims to assess the external factors that influence these relationships, including class, ethnicity, place, and sense of belonging.  I will use a mixed methods approach by quantitatively analysing longitudinal data from the National Child Development Study (NCDS) and qualitatively analysing data from the Social Participation and Identity Project; a sub-sample qualitative study of NCDS participants.  Currently, my research questions are as follows:

  • How is social participation defined?
  • How are social networks structured?

In what ways are the structure of social networks related to patterns of social participation, and what external factors influence these relationships?

Ella Furness

Ella Furness
Start date:
October 2013
Research Topic:
A study of integrated socio-ecological restoration initiatives at community level in Great Britain
Research Supervisor:
Karen Henwood & Susan Baker
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences, ; Sustainable Places Research Institute,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

I completed a degree in Geography and Environmental Studies at Sussex University, (1998) then trained and worked as a community worker and managed a social enterprise (community wood recycling) project in Bristol (2000-2010). After which I completed a two year research based MSc at the University of British Columbia (Climate Change: Assessing the Adaptive Capacity of Community Forests, 2012).

At Cardiff I am funded by the ESRC 1+3 scheme and the Scottish Forestry Trust. This has enabled me to do an MSc in Social Science Research Methods at Cardiff University and I am now working on my doctorate.

My research is about community participation in ecological restoration. We have seen that restoration is more successful if it engages local people and is embedded in local history, society and culture, and there is substantial evidence that participation in activities like restoration can improve human wellbeing. However, in addition to these well supported areas of knowledge, there is a premise that participation in ecological restoration can create long term, durable relationships between people and ecosystems; which once established, can provide an underpinning to a change in the way humans relate to nature: from a way based on the consumption of nature to one based on reciprocity. Thus, restoration is thought to have the potential to contribute towards sustainability. Within the literature these ideas are influential; but evidence to suggest that those engaged in restoration have a different relationship with nature or ‘the land’, or that communities involved in or hosting restoration are more sustainable is sparse. My research aims to look at the impacts of participation in restoration to see what role, if any, it could play in building sustainable communities.

Wider research interests

I have trained in aspects of both natural and social sciences, and drawn to interdisciplinary working, particularly in multidisciplinary teams where perspectives are shared and built upon.  I think that in land management, climate change adaptation and conservation (to name a few areas) this way of working is essential: both to society and the environment.  I blog on the Sustainable Places Research Institute website.

Publications

Furness, E. and Nelson, H. 2015. Are human values and community participation key to climate adaptation? The case of community forest organisations in British Columbia. Climatic Change, pp. 1-17.

Furness, E., Harshaw, H. and Nelson, H. 2015. Community forestry in British Columbia: Policy progression and public participation. Forest Policy and Economics 58, pp. 85-91.

Furness, E., and Nelson, H. (2012) Community forest organizations and adaptation to climate change in British Columbia. The Forestry Chronicle. 88:5

Furness, E.  (2012) Adapting to Climate Change: Are British Columbia’s Community Forests Meeting the Challenge? British Columbia Community Forest Association, Extension Note 6.

Furness, E.  (2012) The Adaptive Capacity of Community Forests to Climate Change. Report commissioned by Natural Resources Canada for the Canadian Forest Service.

Mulkey, S., Day, J. K., Rau, M., Koot, C.E., Furness, E., (2013) The Community Forestry Guidebook II: Leadership Governance and Forest Management. FORREX Forum for Research and Extension in Natural Resources

Conference presentations

Furness, E.  Royal Geographic Society-IBG: International Conference 2015 Ecological restoration in the Anthropocene: What is the place of human values in restoring environments? Exeter, UK.

Furness, E. Society for Ecological Restoration International: Conference 2015 Human values and restoration, Manchester, UK.

Furness, E.  Community Forests and Adaptation to Climate Change in British Columbia, Canada New Challenges in Community Forestry Sharing Scientific Knowledge in a South- North perspective 2013 Conference. Remscheid, Germany

Furness, E.  Community Forests and their Adaptation to Climate Change. British Columbia Community Forest Association, 2012 Conference and AGM. Kaslo, BC.

Furness, E., Community Forests and Adaptation to Climate Change: A proposal. British Columbia Community Forest Association, 2011 Conference and AGM. 100 Mile House, BC

Leah Hibbs

Leah Hibbs
Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
The Impact of Gender on the Substantive Representation of Women in Local Government in Wales
Research Supervisor:
Professor Paul Chaney and Dr Dawn Mannay
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Local government is often asserted as being more accessible to women than national politics, however, a House of Commons report has found that women still constitute only 32% of local authority councillors in England, and only 26% in Wales. As local councils, according to the Fawcett Society, benefit from ¼ of the UK’s entire public spending budget, a figure approximated to be around £100bn, and following the recent favouring of further decentralisation giving local governments more power, it is extremely worrying that women are still underrepresented at this level of governance and representation.

Influenced by ideas surrounding gender performativity (‘doing gender’ – West and Zimmerman) and the literature of feminist institutionalism, including debates between critical actor theory and critical mass theory, I will be exploring ways in which the nature of local government settings fetters or facilitates the full substantive representation of women. My research aims to use in-depth qualitative methods which, in my opinion, have been previously under-utilised in this field, to further understand the relationship between gender and the experiences of elected councillors, uncovering how gender inequalities are reproduced in council meetings, and the setting as a whole.

Matthew Howell

Matthew Howell
Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
Exploring the Impact of Crime on Young Homeless People
Research Supervisor:
Janna Verbruggen
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

When young people become homeless, they are often placed in temporary accommodation where they reside until they can live independently. During this time, they can sometimes become a victim of crime or become involved in negative behaviours such as criminality and drug use.

This research will explore how crime impacts the lives of young people when they become homeless and are placed in temporary accommodation in Wales. The research shall be done through examining the development of sub-cultures within temporary accommodation in south Wales.

Through gaining a better understanding about how crime impacts the lives of young people living in temporary accommodation, we can provide safer and more nurturing environments that increases young people’s life chances, enabling them to pursue positive pathways into independent living.

Gulsun Isisal

Gulsun Isisal
Start date:
October 2014
Research Topic:
Evaluation of Welfare Regime Types of Cyprus and Turkey’
Research Supervisor:
Dr Rod Hick, Prof Susan Baker
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The aim of the thesis research is describing, evaluating and analysing different cultural, historical, geopolitical and traditional contexts of Cyprus and Turkey which cause different type of welfare regimes.

Emily Lowthian

Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
Secondary Effects of Alcohol on Young Peoples wellbeing
Research Supervisor:
Graham and Simon Moore
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

PhD student at Cardiff University; within DECIPHer. Currently undertaking a Social Research Methods Masters (MSc) programme (+1 phase) at Cardiff’s School of Social Sciences. My research interests are parental behaviours, and how these interact with young peoples’ health and well-being; by the use of quantitative/statistical methods.

Kate Marston

Kate Marston
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
Exploring the relationship between UK young people’s digital cultures and sexual and gender subjectivities
Research Supervisor:
Emma Renold, Dawn Mannay
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The aim of my research is to explore the negotiation of gender and sexual subjectivities in young people’s digitally mediated peer cultures.

Young people’s ‘digital mediated peer cultures’ are understood in this context to be the ways in which digital technologies, including the internet, mobile communication technologies and social media, are shaping the lives of young people and their relationships. ‘Sexual/gender subjectivities’ refers to young people’s understanding of themselves as sexual and gendered beings.

I will employ creative and participatory methodologies in order to map young people’s digitally mediated peer cultures in new and potentially rich ways. Key aims of the project are to:

  1. Understand digitally mediated peer cultures from young people’s own perspectives and experiences in the context of their everyday lives
  2. Enable young people to identify what kinds of knowledge and support they need (if any) in negotiating digitally mediated peer cultures
  3. Explore young people’s digitally-mediated performances of sexual/gendered subjectivities?
  4. Critically examine the processes, challenges and opportunities of creative and participatory research with young people

My research draws on the conceptual tools offered by posthumanist, new materialist and feminist theory including Deleuze and Guattari, Braidotti and Karen Barad.

Luke Midgley

Luke Midgley
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
To design and implement a school-based intervention to reduce alcohol, tobacco and drug use
Research Supervisor:
Prof. Simon Murphy and Dr James White
Supervising school:
DECIPHer,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Children and young people face a plethora of challenges during their natural developmental stages, with exposure to substance misuse being one such difficulty. Those who misuse substance could cause considerable harm to themselves and others in society. Substance misuse education plays a fundamental role in providing accurate and appropriate information and guidance to young people in order to prevent and reduce the risk of substance misuse. Over the past few years there has been a growing recognition in the UK in the role of schools in health promotion and their ability to provide accurate health-related information to a large population and in a timely and economically efficient way (Moon et al., 1999; Townsend and Foster, 2011). Historically, school-based drug prevention has focused primarily on abstinence and delivered by teachers or law enforcement officers and generally during standard curriculum settings. Such interventions have had limited effectiveness, particularly regarding behaviour change. Informal peer-led school-based interventions in preventing the uptake of smoking has been found to be effective (Campbell et al., 2008), however such a method for other illicit drug use has been inconclusive.

The aim of my research is to explore the perceptions of key stakeholders (policy makers, public health wales, teachers, students and parents) around a peer led combined alcohol, tobacco and drugs intervention based on harm minimisation. The research will explore the national government guidelines around substance misuse and observe the policy implementation or failure along the socio-ecological model to the organisational level. My research hopes to identify any failures along the socio-ecological model that can be corrected and incorporated into a peer-led and whole school approach to reducing substance misuse in school-aged children.

Sam Parker

Sam Parker
Start date:
October 2014
Research Topic:
Discursive constructions of integration for refugees and asylum seekers in Wales: Implications for practice and policy
Research Supervisor:
Dr Nick Johns, Dr Steven Stanley
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My research aims to explore the experiences of asylum seekers and refugees who currently live in Wales and the extent to which current policies impact upon their ability to integrate. Wales has been a dispersal area for asylum seekers since 1999, with the majority being housed in Cardiff, Newport and Swansea. There is, however, a lack of research focusing on the experience of asylum seekers and refugees in Wales.

The broad aims of this research are to examine how refugees and asylum seekers construct accounts of their integration into Welsh communities. The questions raised are:

  • What is the nature of integration as it is constructed and negotiated in the talk of refugees and asylum seekers in Wales?
  • To what extent do these constructions have implications for refugee and asylum seeker integration policies?

Selected Recent Publications

Parker, S. (2015) ‘’Unwanted invaders’: The Representation of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK and Australian print media’, eSharp Issue 23 (Spring 2015): Myth and Nation. Accessible at http://www.gla.ac.uk/research/az/esharp/issues/23spring2015-mythandnation/

Parker, S. (2016) Putting integration back on the agenda: Working across disciplines, The Psychologist (Online), Available at https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/migration-crisis-psychological-perspectives

Parker, S. (2017) Falling behind: The declining rights of asylum seekers in the UK and its impact on their day-to-day lives, eSharp Issue 25 Rise and Fall (Spring 2017), pp. 83-95. Available at http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_529634_en.pdf

Nightingale, A., Goodman, S. and Parker, S. (2017) Beyond Borders: Psychological perspectives on the current refugee crisis in Europe. The Psychologist June 2017, pp. 58-62. Available at https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-30/june-2017/beyond-borders

Amy Sanders

Amy Sanders
Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
Exploring the Impact of Devolution on State and Third Sector Relations in Wales
Research Supervisor:
Paul Chaney Daniel Wincott and
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

I intend to look at the impact on state-third sector relations of the requirements in the Government of Wales Act 2006 to have a Voluntary Sector Scheme. The legislation states that Welsh Ministers must specify in the Voluntary Sector Scheme (now known as the Third Sector Scheme) how they will provide & monitor assistance to voluntary organisations AND consult voluntary organisation on matters affecting/concerning them. I am interested in the nature of the assistance provided to the third sector and the mechanisms for engagement of the third sector.

Joanna L Wolton

Joanna L Wolton
Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
The Role of Care and Repair Cymru Caseworkers in Facilitating Independent Living for Older People
Research Supervisor:
Associate Professor Sarah Hillcoat-Nalletamby
Supervising school:
Centre for Innovative Ageing,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

According to the 2011 census, approximately 18 per cent of the population in Wales are aged 65 years and over. This equates to approximately 563, 000 individuals in total, and of this number there are 25,000 Welsh residents who are aged 90 years and over in 2011(ONS, 2012).

Independent living for older people is currently high on the political agenda of the Welsh Government but, given the increase in the number of older people along with the compression of morbidity; achieving independent living for all older people becomes more challenging (AgeUK, 2010; pp. 66-71; ResearchService, 2011; Sixsmith et al., 2014)

Care & Repair Cymru are an organisation who are funded in part by the Welsh Government. Their aim is to ‘ensure that all older people are safe, secure and in homes that are appropriate to their needs’ (Care&RepairCymru, 2015), and despite the societal changes are still able to meet the demand placed upon them.

I have conducted primary research as part of a research project that examines the Care & Repair Caseworker role. Using an exploratory mixed methods approach I will attempt visualise how caseworkers are connecting to make best use of their social and human capital in an attempt to overcome factors like funding restrictions, increased competition, and increasing numbers of older people. I aim to use social network analysis, statistical modelling, and thematic analysis of qualitative data to explore the caseworkers, what they do, how they network and the context in which they are operating.
In addition to focusing on the caseworkers, I will also explore some of the perceived social outcomes that have resulted from the caseworkers intervention from the perspectives of older people themselves.

Social policy makes important contributions to contemporary debate and understanding by applying scientific knowledge, rigorous analysis and critical reflection to a broad range of issues of social concern. Doctoral students on this pathway benefit from a distinctive combination of leading edge theoretical work, empirical study, policy context, and methodological innovation and expertise. At Cardiff University we have significant research expertise in a range of substantive fields including: civil society and governance; work, poverty and inequality; labour markets; sustainability and the environment.

The School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University has a vibrant research culture, and research students are a vital part of it. The School has a strong track record of international, peer-reviewed publication; it hosts several major disciplinary and methods-focused social science journals. Social policy students attend the Policy, Poverty and Living Standards research group meetings, which provide an important space for social policy staff and students to meet and discuss shared interests and work- in-progress. Students on the social policy pathway also routinely engage with staff and students from other disciplines and engage with the wide range of research centres, research groups and other forums hosted by the School. The School supports and organises a series of doctoral cohort events including an annual PGR dinner (a social event and celebration of doctoral accomplishment); an annual doctoral student conference (including paper sessions and poster competition); the student-run Postgraduate Café, and various reading groups which meet once a month to discuss a range of topics related to social research, politics and culture.

Students on the ‘1+3’ route complete the specialist module Citizenship and Social Policy as part of the Social Science Research Methods programme, whilst developing a breadth of knowledge, understanding and skills on this inter-disciplinary Masters. Subject-specific training and student development continues throughout the doctorate with a wide range of reading and discussion groups, roundtable sessions, seminar series, and data analysis workshops.