My research focuses on the geographies of youth citizenship, informal education and volunteering across a range of contemporary and historical contexts. These threads come together in my latest project, a single-authored monograph entitled Mapping the Moral Geographies of Education: Character, Citizenship and Values (submitted, London: Routledge, exp. 2021)This new research explores the geographies and geopolitics of character education in the UK in both formal and informal learning spaces. More broadly, it examines the wider relationship between character, citizenship and values.

I am currently a Co-I on an ESRC/GCRF project on volunteering by young refugees in Uganda led by Northumbria University (£862, 003) and Co-I on an ESRC project on children and young people’s experiences of gaming/gambling led by Newcastle University (£351,903). 


The majority of my research activities have focused on the complex geographies, spaces and subjectivities of youth citizenship. An ESRC Future Research Leader Award (2014-2017; £249,630) examined the geographies of youth citizenship and volunteering through an exploration of National Citizen Service in England since 2011 (RA - Waite). My PhD research, funded by the ESRC (Open Competition; £40,000), focused on the citizenship project of the Scout Movement in Britain. Drawing on original archival research at a number of collections in the UK, I explored the cultural-historical geographies of youth citizenship in scouting and how gendered, political and religious identities have challenged this organisation’s model of an ‘ideal citizen’ over time. These research themes were also part of my ESRC post-doctoral fellowship (2011-2012; £77,389) and emerged as part of an AHRC/ESRC Connected Communities Scoping Study Grant on youth organisations in Wales (as Co-I with Prof. Rhys Jones [PI] and Prof. Peter Merriman, Aberystwyth University, 2012; £24,281).


I am interested in diverse informal learning spaces and philosophies.  I have researched the pedagogical practices of the Woodcraft Folk (1925-1975) drawing on material from the Youth Movement Archive at the London School of Economics (ESRC-funded via postdoctoral fellowship).  I also have an ongoing interest in the ideas and writings of key thinkers on informal education. To draw these diverse contemporary and historical interests surrounding informal education together, I co-edited a book with Prof. Peter Kraftl (University of Birmingham) in 2014, published by Palgrave Macmillan.


As mentioned above, one of my areas of research has been exploring the role of religious identities in 'stretching' the citizenship project of scouting. Specifically, I have explored Muslim Scouting in Wales and how volunteers and young people from a variety of religious and faith communities have negotiated the performance of scouting through religious expression.  My Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Small Grant project (2012-13; £2087) explored the Jewish Lads' Brigade in post-war Britain and also examined connections between youth and religious identity, this time in the context of emerging 'youth culture' in Manchester during the 1950s and 1960s. Finally, I have reflected on contemporary geographies of volunteering policy and practice in the context of devolution.


I am fascinated by historical research practices and the possibilities of archival research in children’s geographies. My Scouloudi Award (Institute of Historical Research, 2014) drew on a sound archive from the 1960s and 1980s to explore the historical geographies of children's folklore. Furthermore, I am committed to developing more accessible and ‘public’ historical geographies, for example I have curated three research-based exhibitions. My latest collaboration with artist Katarina Hruskova via Radar/LU Arts focused on the work of educator Marion RichardsonIt combined archival research, participatory workshops with children and young adults, sound, and installation.


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