Around 26 years ago, I began to work with and for children and have been doing so ever since. After completing my HNC Childcare and Education in 1999, I have worked in a variety of settings which has allowed me to gain a robust overview of the different services that children and their families can access. Throughout the 26years, I have worked within the public, private and voluntary sectors which has provided me with a unique perspective on how childhood, children and families are understood and supported. This practical experience combined with my academic experience has been invaluable in making me the working professional and academic I am today. Combining both theory and practice has supported me two-fold – it has supported me in becoming a well-rounded, critically reflective professional and has enabled me to critique theory and share working examples of theory in practice with students and work colleagues to enhance the learning process for all involved.
As mentioned, I completed my HNC Childcare and Education at Jewel and Esk Valley College (now known as Edinburgh College) in 1999 but since then I have gone on to obtain my Undergraduate Certificate in Higher Education with a focus on Community Education based subjects in 2006, my BA Childhood Practice with distinction in 2017 and my MSc Childhood Studies with distinction in 2018. As a current part-time PhD student based at Heriot-Watt, I am researching children’s outdoor play within urban and rural contexts which will compare their lived experiences and opportunities through the use of participatory research methods combined with analysis of secondary data from The Millenium Cohort Study and the Growing Up In Scotland Study.
As well as teaching here at QMU, I am also a postgraduate tutor at the University of Edinburgh to support teaching and marking on the BA Childhood Practice Course. Additionally, I am also a freelance consultant with a focus on writing and delivering training and providing support around children’s play, children’s rights and working with various childhood professionals to develop their practice and working environments to support the children and families they work alongside.
My current PhD research compares urban and rural contexts and how this influences the opportunities and experiences children have in relation to outdoor play. This is very much based around the lived experiences of children with additional data gathered from adults within the children’s communities and the use of secondary data. In addition to this, I am interested in exploring the different intersections that influence children’s lived experiences and how children can take on a more active role within the research process.
Active research interests:
Childhood (varying contexts and intersections)
Children’s Play (outdoor, school-based, playwork etc.)
Children and Young People’s Participation
- Qualitative methodology
- Mixed methods
- Participatory approaches
- Research with Children and Young People
- Secondary Data Analysis
- Action Research
- Creative methodologies (photo, video, arts, mapping)
I teach across both the BA (Hons) Education Studies and BA (Hons) Education Studies (Primary) programmes.