Dr Alexandra Allan
Dr Alexandra Allan is a lecturer in Education Studies in the Graduate School of Education at Exeter University. Alexandra is currently working on an ESRC funded research project which seeks to explore young femininity, parenting and perceptions of risk. Her particular research interests are: gender, class, sexuality, achievement, elite education, childhood and youth, and the use of qualitative and visual methods.

Dr Sarah Amsler
Sarah Amsler is a Lecturer in Sociology at Aston University. Her current research focuses on practices of cultural change, particularly on how spaces for radical change are made possible in education, political action and everyday life. Part of this work also explores the complex ethics of undertaking cultural work for social change, and inquires into the circumstances under which this might be an autonomous and democratic project. She is also working on more philosophical studies in the politics of hope and practices of critique. Sarah has a strong interest in critical feminist theories, and non-academic interests in rethinking ‘the family’, the relationship between motherhood and women’s subjectivities, and the politics and ethics of parenting and being with children.


Dr Susan Battersby
Dr Battersby is an independent midwifery researcher/lecturer who worked at Sheffield University as a Midwifery Lecturer until February 2006. She has a keen interest in infant feeding and has researched both breastfeeding and formula feeding. She works as a volunteer breastfeeding peer counsellor at a Children’s Centre in Sheffield.

Dalia Ban-Galim
Senior Research Fellow, Social Policy, Institute for Public Policy Research

Antony Beckett
Senior lecturer in Sociology, University of the West of England
Antony is a senior lecturer at the Bristol Business School in the School of Strategy and International Business. His current research interests centre on the development of a practice ontology within the area of consumption studies, particularly in regard to parenting and the role of large retailers in framing the links between parenting and  consumption.  He has published in a number of journals including Organization, Marketing Theory and the Services Industries Journal

Rachel Bell
BIOS, London School of Economics
Doctoral sociology student researching conceptualisations of antisocial behaviour amongst mental health professionals.

Dr Vinca Bigo
Dr Bigo works at Cambridge University. Research Interests: Gender and Development; Feminist Economics; Eco-feminism; Gender and Globalisation; Development and Responsibility; Care and Well-being; Feminist theory; Feminist Philosophy; Philosophy of Science; Critical Realism; Methodological Critiques; Social ontology; Developmental Psychology; Applications of Psychosocial Theory to wider societal matters; Ambivalence; Shared Parenting; Psychosocial conditions for the capacity to care; Ontology of Care.

Linda Bloomfield
Linda is a research fellow in the Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care at the University of Hertfordshire. She is currently working on a British Council funded collaboration with colleagues in Kanazawa, Japan to look at the impact of parenting programmes and the relationship between parenting self-efficacy, parental stress and child outcomes in both the UK and Japan with the over-arching aim of understanding global issues related to parenting and child health.

Frances Blumenfeld
Frances Blumenfeld is a clinical psychologist who trained in Israel in the 80’s and moved to England in 1989. Since moving to England she has worked in both child and adult services. She completed a family therapy course at Philadelphia Child Guidance Centre in 1994. From 2000 to 2006 she worked in the Cambridgeshire Youth Offending Service with young people and their families and helped set up the Multisystemic Therapy programme that operates in Cambridgeshire. Since 2004 she has been working on training programmes for clinical psychologists alongside her clinical work. Currently she is the Clinical Director of the Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Essex University. She also works in a court assessment service for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust.

Dr Geraldine Brady
link to bio
Research Fellow, Applied Research Centre for Sustainable Regeneration, Coventry University
Dr Geraldine Brady is a Research Fellow in the Applied Research Centre in Sustainable Regeneration at Coventry University.  Her research interests include the experience of socially excluded young people, particularly young parents.

Caroline Brandi
Alliance Manager for Danone Baby nutrition.

Beth Breeze
Beth is a doctoral student in SSPSSR at the University Kent.

Jennie Bristow
link to bio
Researcher and journalist

Geraldine Brown
PhD candidate, Applied Research Centre for Sustainable Regeneration, Coventry University

Sally Brown
Sally is currently a Research Fellow in the School of Medicine and Health based at the Wolfson Research Institute, University of Durham. Her research interests include teenage pregnancy and sexual health. Her current project explores young men’s views of risk and responsibility with regard to contraception.


Eric Carlin
Eric’s 20 years of experience working in the public and not for profit sectors has included 15 years as a Chief Executive – first of a street drugs agency and then a drug misuse prevention charity for young people. He is currently undertaking PhD research at Birkbeck College about links between social exclusion and resilience in young people. He is a member of the UK Government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). He has recently set up Carlin Enterprises,, a new UK and Brussels based social enterprise which promotes alliances and networks so as to benefit young people and adults, families and communities.

Karen Clarke
Karen Clarke is a senior lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Manchester. One of her principal research interests is in family policy and its role in the social construction of childhood and of parental roles, through programmes such as Sure Start and through formal parenting education programmes.

Richard Collier
Richard Collier is Professor of Law at the University of Newcastle, UK and his primary research interests concern law and gender, with a particular focus on issues surrounding men and masculinities. Ranging from family law, fatherhood and social change to legal education, crime and criminology, he has published widely in these and other fields and was recently the recipient of the British Academy ‘Thank-offering to Britain’ Fellowship (Jan 2007 – Jan 2008)  for a project entitled ‘The Fathers’ Rights Movement and Law Reform’. His books include ‘The Man of Law: Essays on Law, Men and Gender’ (Routledge-Cavendish, 2009, forthcoming), ‘Fragmenting Fatherhood: A Socio-Legal Study’ (2008, with Sally Sheldon), ‘Fathers’ Rights Activism and Law Reform in Comparative Perspective’ (ed., 2006, with Sally Sheldon), ‘Masculinities, Crime and Criminology: Men, Corporeality and the Criminal(ised) Body’ (1998) and ‘Masculinity, Law and the Family’ (1995). He has presented a wide range of international plenary and keynote addresses. Richard is an Editorial Board member of Social and Legal Studies.

Dr Hera Cook
Hera Cook is a Lecturer in the history of sexuality and women at the University of Birmingham. She is the author of The Long Sexual Revolution: English Women, Sex and Contraception1800-1975 Oxford University Press, Oxford (2004).

Rachel Condry
Lecturer in sociology, University of Surrey

Nicola Corrigan
Young Parents Support Coordinator, Bradford & Airedale Community Health Services
Nicola ensures effective delivery of the Teenage Pregnancy Support Strategy for Bradford & Airedale in West Yorkshire. She is employed by the PCT but based within the Local Authority to reflecting the diversity of needs of pregnant and parenting teenagers. She has an intense interest in the concept of an individual’s ‘Personal Capacity’ and how this way of working can be applied to improve outcomes for socially excluded groups and individuals, particularly pregnant teenagers and teenage parents. Her recently published report ‘Big Up The Mamas’ is the result of her MSc research thesis and is now being used to shape service provision in Bradford and Airedale. She has worked in the field of teenage pregnancy for 8 years, following her own positive experience of becoming a mother, and has delivered all aspects of teenage pregnancy work from hand holding to strategic development. For a copy of the report please email

Sam Coupe
I currently work as a Teaching Assistant in a Short Stay School (formerly known as a Pupil Referrral Unit) in Nottingham which is purely for school aged pregnancy. We cater for ages 13-16 at present, with a nursery facility attached which allows us to have the students babies on site for the majority of their time with us. My role is wide and varied across the unit. Prior to this role, I worked as a tutor for a Young Mums to Be programme in Nottingham under the e2e banner for 16-18 year olds. I have also run a parenting course for young parents and managed a private day nursery for 10 years. My background was originally in childcare (Under 5s) but I have recently gained a BA (Hons) Childhood and Youth Studies degree with the Open University and although I plan on continuing to update my knowledge in the field of childcare, my main interest lies with teenage/ young parents and I would like to undertake more work with young fathers.

Kirstie Coxon
Kirstie Coxon is a researcher with a particular interest in the sociology of parenthood in relation to risk, safety and uncertainty. Kirstie is currently an NIHR research training fellow at Kings College, London, and is undertaking a PhD. She is also an honorary research fellow at CHSS, University of Kent.

Lucy Crane
PhD candidate, Department of Sociology, University of Sheffield Lucy Crane is currently writing up her PhD thesis, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, which focuses on the social relations between family members and food, looking specifically at locations within the UK and Hungary.

Hugh Cunningham
Emeritus Professor of Social History, University of Kent
Professor Hugh Cunningham is the author of The Invention of Childhood and Childhood in Western Society Since 1500.


Irenee Daly
Irenee Daly is a PhD student at the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge. Her research area is women’s understanding of age-related fertility decline.

Kelly Davis
Kelly Davis is an ESRC post doctoral fellow at the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, a consortium research centre based at the University of Edinburgh.  She is currently focusing on the publication and communication of the findings of her doctoral thesis, which examined how kinship and expert advice affected the processes by which women in post-war Scotland learned to mother and made childrearing decisions.  Her background is in Social Anthropology and her research interests include the areas of gender, kinship, the scientisation of daily life, ethnographic and narrative methods and social history.

Dr Stuart Derbyshire
Dr Derbyshire is a senior lecturer in Psychology, University of Birmingham. His current research interests centre on the causes and consequences of pain, particularly in regard to how the first sentient experiences can appear and how and why pain sometimes remains despite the absence of any injury or disease. He has published in a number of journals including the British Medical JournalPain andNeuroimage and his current work is funded by the Medical Research Council.
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Anisa de Jong
Co-ordinator of the AHRC Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality. Kent Law School

Dr Esther Dermott
link to bio
Senior Lecturer in sociology, Bristol University

Justine Devenney
Justine Devenney is Head of Dissemination & Policy at One Plus One

Dr Tom Dickins
Dr Tom Dickins is Reader in Evolutionary Psychology at the University of East London and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology. His current research interests focus upon fertility scheduling in humans, with especial reference to early fertility or teenage pregnancy. He is also working on various theoretical issues surrounding the application of evolutionary biology to the behavioural and social sciences.

Laura Dimmock
Laura Dimmock is Information Officer at One Plus One

Lena Dominelli
Lena Dominelli is Professor of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University, has a long-standing research and teaching interest in gender relations.  She has undertaken research on young mothers and fathers and written a number of articles and books on gender relations in social work practice.

Sally Dowling
Sally Dowling, PhD Student/Visiting Lecturer, School of Health & Social Care
Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, University of the West of England

Ciara Doyle
PhD candidate Trinity College Dublin


Charlotte Faircloth
link to bio
PhD Candidate, anthropology, University of Cambridge

Dr Brid Featherstone
Professor of Social Work and Social Policy at the University of Bradford.
She has published widely on fathers’ roles and responsibilities and the issues for social care services. With Mark Rivett and Jonathan Scourfield, she has written a book on Working with Men in Health and Social Care which was published by Sage in August 2007. Her book  Contemporary Fathering: Theory, Policy and Practice will be published by Policy Press in April 2009.

Jane Fisher
Director Antenatal results and Choices

Eleanor Formby
Eleanor Formby, Research Fellow at Sheffield Hallam University, is a sociologist with over ten years (qualitative) research experience. She has presented research findings at national and international conferences, and written numerous research reports for different funding bodies, including a variety of local authorities and Primary Care Trusts. Her areas of expertise include sex education and sexual health, teenage pregnancy/parenthood, and lesbian, gay and bisexual health and well-being.

Frank Furedi
link to bio
Professor of sociology, University of Kent


Val Gillies
Reader in sociology, London South Bank University
Val Gillies is a Reader in the Families & Social Capital Research Group at London South Bank University. She has researched and published the area of family and social class, producing various journal articles and book chapters on parenting and social policy, young people’s family lives, family and social change, as well as qualitative research methods. Her book: Marginalised Mothers: Exploring Working Class Parenting (Routledge) was published in 2007. She is currently conducting research in inner city schools with pupils with at risk of exclusion, their parents and teachers.

Alison Garnham
Alison Garnham is Chief Executive of the Daycare Trust, taking up her position in June 2006. Prior to this for nine years she was the Director of Policy and Research at One Parent Families. She worked for many years as a welfare rights adviser and for a number of women’s organisations before, in 1989, joining the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) where she co-authored a number of publications about the Child Support Act. She has subsequently written about lone parenthood and child poverty, including an edition of Poverty: the Facts, published by CPAG. Before joining One Parent Families she was Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of North London (now London Metropolitan University) where she has also been an Honorary Research Fellow. She is a Trustee and Honorary Officer of the End Child Poverty Campaign, a parent-governor at her son’s primary school and a member of the Social Security Advisory Committee.

Chris Gomez
Chris Gomez is a full-time doctoral student in the Early Childhood Research Centre at Roehampton University. She is being funded by the Froebel Educational Institute. Her research study involves comparing the attitudes towards young children in England (Kent) and Spain (Murcia). She is also an Associate Lecturer at the Open University.

Dr Helene Guldberg
Associate lecturer, Open University, managing director
Dr Helene Guldberg is author of Reclaiming Childhood: freedom and play in an age of fear (Routledge 2009). She is co-founder and director of the online publication spiked, associate lecturer in child development at the Open University and teacher at the US study abroad centres, CAPA and IES.

Angie Hart
Angie Hart is the Academic Director of the Community University Partnership Programme at the University of Brighton. As part of that role, she is the Brighton lead for the HEFCE-funded South East Coastal Communities Programme ( She is also Professor of Child, Family and Community Health in the School of Nursing and Midwifery in the Faculty of Health and Social Science. She teaches on professional courses for health and social care practitioners and undertakes participatory research into inequalities in health and social care in relation to children and families

Dr Emma Head
link to bio
Lecturer in sociology, Keele University

Timo Heimerdinger
Dr. Timo Heimerdinger is Assistant Professor (Juniorprofessor) of Cultural Anthropology/Volkskunde in the German Institute at Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz, Germany. His current research examines maritime ethnology and parenting culture (nutrition, sleep, mobility).

Rosemary Henn-Macrae
West Kent Manager – Disabled Children’s Service, Kent County Council
Rosemary Henn-Macrae has worked for Kent County Council for over 30 years, most of that time with disabled children and their families. She now manages the Disabled Children’s Social Work teams in West Kent and the County Deaf Children and Families team.

Tracey Herald
PhD candidate, School of Sport and Education, Brunel University

Melissa Hines
Professor of Psychology in the Department of Social and Developmental Psychology at the University of Cambridge. Gender development is her primary research and teaching interest. She is the author of the book, ‘Brain Gender’, as well as of numerous journal articles and book chapters on the causes and consequences of gender typical, as well as gender atypical, behaviour.

Lesley Hoggart
link to bio
Senior research fellow, Policy Studies Institute

Dr Sally Holland
Sally Holland is a senior lecturer in social work in the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University. Her research area is child welfare and she is currently conducting studies into residents’ perceptions of child risk and safety in the neighbourhood, life history research with care leavers and an evaluation of an intervention for families affected by parental substance misuse. A second edition of her book Child and Family Assessment in Social Work Practice (Sage) is due in 2010.

Amanda Holt
Senior Lecturer in Criminal Psychology, Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth

Jo Hook
Extended Services Policy Development manager, Extended Services Team, Kent Country Council
Jo Hook’s background is in nursing, specifically in Midwifery and Health Visiting. This informs her ongoing interest in parenting/child rearing related developments and discussions.

Jennifer Howze
Editor of Lifestyle at Times Online, and contributor to Alphamummy, Times Online

Caroline Hunter
Caroline is Professor of Law at the recently established York Law School.
She has a long standing interest in the management of anti-social behaviour particularly by housing organisations. She has been involved in the national evaluation for the Department of Communities and Local Government of Family Intervention Projects which are designed to change family behaiour to avoid eviction for anti-social behaviour (see Nixon J., Hunter C., Myers S., Parr S., Sanderson D. (2006) ASB Intensive Family Support Projects: An evaluation of 6 pioneering projects DCLG), and this has led more recently to an interest in “parent abuse” i.e. the violence by adolescents towards their parents, particularly mothers. She has written from a feminist perspective on how mothers are expected to take the blame for the behaviour of their partners and children: see most recently Hunter C. and Nixon J. (2009) “Disciplining Women: Anti-Social Behaviour and the Governance of Conduct” in Millie A (ed) Securing Respect: Behavioural expectations and anti-social behaviour in the UK  Bristol: Policy Press.

Rosemary Hunter
Professor of Law, Kent Law School
Rosemary Hunter is a Professor in the Law School at the University of Kent. She teaches Family Law and researches in the areas of feminist legal theory, domestic violence, family dispute resolution and access to justice.

Jenny Husbands
I am a former nurse, midwife, health visitor, primary care health promotion specialist and lecturer in further education (health & social care) and I’m now a lecturer in health promotion, health care policy and research methods in health at London South Bank University. My particular areas of interest are domestic violence and of course health promotion. I’m also interested in physical activity and I am an exercise to music teacher, a role I’ve enjoyed intermittently over the last fifteen years. I’m hoping to study for a PhD from September focusing on professional perspectives of domestic violence.


Jonathan Ives
Lecturer in Behavioural Science in the University Birmingham School of Health and Population Sciences.  His background is in moral philosophy, particularly medical ethics, and qualitative research.   Jon’s interest in fatherhood stems predominantly from his doctoral work, which comprised an empirical and philosophical examination of the moral sources of paternal responsibility and rights – the work from which in the process of being published.  His interest in this topic has recently been heightened upon discovering he is due to become a father in September this year, meaning his interest is no longer purely academic. Other interests include pandemic influenza and the ethics of risk and emergency and research ethics.

Professor Emily Jackson
Emily Jackson is Professor of Law at the London School of Economics and Deputy Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. She is also a member of the BMA Medical Ethics Committee, and the Ethics Committees of the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Pathologists. Her publications include Medical Law 2nd edition (Oxford University Press, 2009) and Regulating Reproduction (Hart, 2001).

Anita Jardine
Anita Jardine is a member of the Community of Resilient Practitioners in Hastings and is interested in the influence of the arts and humour in challenging societal perceptions and enhancing therapeutic outcomes. She is a songwriter, musician and satirical entertainer who performs nationally and internationally. Her current professional roles are employment as a Children’s Services Practitioner for the NSPCC and a counsellor of adult survivors of abuse for the Primary Care Trust, following a background in adult mental health and diverse work with children and families.

Tracey Jensen
PhD candidate, LSE
Tracey Jensen is a doctoral student at the Open University. Her thesis examines the discourses of class and gender produced within self-help parenting television, maps the circuits of value and capital that parents play in their encounters with these programmes and explores the relationship between televisual encounters and the promises of wider parenting interventions.

Suhraiya Jivraj
PhD student, Kent Law School


Mary Ann Kanieski
Assistant Professor of Sociology, Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana
Mary Ann Kanieski is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana. She specializes in the sociology of family with an emphasis on the role of scientific discourse in the social construction of parenting.

Marianne Kavanagh
Freelance journalist
Marianne is a freelance journalist, writing mainly for the Telegraph and women’s magazines

Dr Julia Keenan
Julia is a Research Assistant in Leeds Social Sciences Institute, currently working on the Joseph Rowntree Foundation funded project entitled ‘Family life and alcohol consumption: a study of the transmission of drinking practices’. This project explores the processes through which drinking patterns are transmitted within families; and the extent to which young people’s current/future drinking habits may have their roots in earlier childhood experiences.

Professor Sally Kendall
Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care (CRIPACC), University of Hertfordshire

Martina Klett-Davies
Martina Klett-Davies joined the Family and Parenting Institute as a Research Fellow in 2007 from the London School of Economics, where she continues to be a visiting Lecturer and an Associate Fellow at the Gender Institute. As a sociologist, she has specialised in family and gender studies and modern social theories that culminated in her monograph Going it alone? Lone motherhood in late modernity (Ashgate, 2007). Her focus is on the interplay between social identities, social policies and social capital. At the Family and Parenting Institute, Martina conducted a study on the mapping and analysis of parenting services in England (FPI, 2008) and has written a chapter on motherhood and paid and unpaid work for Family Trends (FPI, 2009). She edited a book about sibling relationships (FPI, 2008) and a book with the title “Is parenting a class issue?” (to be published FPI, 2010).

Dr Ofra Koffman
Centre for the study of invention and social process, Goldsmiths University, London
Dr Ofra Koffman completed her PhD ‘Towards a Genealogy of Teenage Pregnancy in Britain, 1955-1968’ at Goldsmiths College in 2008. Her thesis charted the shift from the problematization of ‘unmarried mothers’ to a concern with ‘teenage pregnancy’. Originally trained in psychology, she is interested in examining the influence of psychological discourses on contemporary notions of youth, sexuality and parenting.


Tony Lawson
Economics Cambridge
Lecturer, Faculty of Economics, Cambridge University, (also Management Committee of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies)
Research interests: numerous topics in ontology and epistemology, including nature of gender, and feminist epistemology.

Ellie Lee
link to bio
Senior lecturer in social policy, University of Kent, co-ordinator of Parenting Culture Studies

Margarita Leon
Lecturer in social policy, University of Kent
Margarita León is a lecturer in European Social policy, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent. Her research interests include feminist contributions to developments in social policy and sociology of work. She has worked and published on policies for the reconciliation of work and family life and childcare policies in Europe.

Gayle Letherby
Professor of sociology, Plymouth University

Ruth Lewis
Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Ruth is currently working on an ESRC-funded qualitative study of young people’s sexual practices. Her research interests include young people’s sexuality education, sexual behaviour and parent-child relationships.

Helen Lomax
Senior Lecturer in Health Care Policy, Centre for Research in Primary and, Community Care, University of Hertfordshire
Her research interests, in video methods and photography, include an exploration of mothers’ infant feeding projects as they are performed in health-service encounters and analysis of the ways in which textually mediated discourses (in health promotion literature, self-help books and internet spaces) position and interpolate mothers.

Helen Longlands
Helen Longlands is a doctoral student in Gender and Education at the Institute of Education, University of London.

Dr Pam Lowe
link to bio
Lecturer in Sociology, Aston University


Lorraine Macmillan
PhD Candidate, Centre of International Studies, University
Lorraine Macmillan is a doctoral student at the Department of Politics and International Studies, Cambridge. Her thesis examines the work that constructions of personal, social relations (including the family) play in power asymmetries between the global North and South.

Dr Jan Macvarish
link to bio
Research Associate, CHSS, University of Kent

Dr Evelyn Mahon
Evelyn is Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Social Work and Social Policy and Fellow of Trinity College Dublin. She has published extensively on the women’s movement and on gender and equal opportunities in the workplace. She co-edited Women, Work and the Family in Europe. She was the Director and leading author of the ground- breaking study on Women and Crisis Pregnancy in Ireland (1999). She continued to work in the sociology of reproduction and was the Principal Investigator of a longitudinal study of couples undergoing IVF treatment, funded by the Health Research Board to be completed this year. More recently she was the principal investigator of a study on ‘Post-separation Parenting: a study of parent-child contact agreements and arrangements based on Family Court Observations’ funded by the Office of the Minister for Children. In Spring 2009 she is Visiting scholar at the Centre for Family Research in Cambridge.

Penny Mansfield
Director, One Plus One
Penny Mansfield is the Director of One Plus One, a frequent contributor to TV and radio programmes on family issues and author of a numerous articles and books
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Lydia Martens
Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Keele University
Lydia Martens is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Keele University. Her research is concerned with the intersections between consumption and domestic life, and as part of this, she is working on an ongoing research agenda on children, families and consumer culture. She is working on a book project entitled /Consuming the Precious Child/ and is currently working on the DCSF panel which assesses the impact of the commercial world on children’s wellbeing.

Julie McCandless
Lecturer in Law, Oxford Brookes University
Julie McCandless has recently finished a doctoral thesis on the role of the ‘sexual family’ in parenthood law in the UK, taking collaborative reproduction as the case study.  She is particularly interested in gender and parenthood as well as the role of birth registration.

Dr Jane McCarthy
Reader in Family Studies, Department of Social Policy Faculty of Social Sciences, Open University
Jane McCarthy is a Reader in Family Studies at the OU. Her main research interests are in family lives, particularly parent child relationships. More recently she has done work on bereavement during childhood and youth. She is particularly interested in everyday understandings of family lives, and also in theorising relationality and connectedness in families.

Dr Janice McLaughlin
link to bio
Deputy Executive Director, Policy Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre, University of Newcastle

Professor Elizabeth Murphy
Elizabeth Murphy is Professor of Sociology, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Science at the University of Leicester. Her research is drawn together by a common interest in the relationship between individuals, families, professionals and the state. In particular, this research has been concerned with the ways in which, in contemporary liberal states, power operates through discourses that define what is good, moral, responsible and legitimate. It explores the possibilities of resistance that exist for clients and professionals who are caught up in such discourses in relation to the delivery of health and social care. Much of this research has involved collaborations with colleagues from other disciplines. Recent research includes longitudinal studies investigating the experiences of first-time mothers and the choices they make about feeding their babies and young children and of parents of severely intellectually disabled young people as they make the transition between child and adult services.  Both of these studies have had a particular focus on the moral discourses that surround parenting and on the negotiation of these in interaction with health and social care professionals.


Imogen Noble
Creative Consultant, Future Creative

Abigail Norton
Abigail Norton: is now managing the Think Family and Family and Parenting Support Strategy in Lambeth following 9 years in the borough delivering and co-ordinating Family Learning programmes. She moved into working with parents after leaving primary teaching in 2000.

Chris Pawson
Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Institute for Research in Child Development, UEL.
Chris is a developmental psychologist. His current research interests include predictors of paternal engagement and expectations of fathering and fatherhood. Chris has previously conducted research exploring the impact of parenting styles and practices on children’s social development, and has published a number of articles on children’s social relationships.

Maud Perrier
PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick
Maud Perrier’s thesis is called ‘Being A Good Mother: Morality, Age and Class in Younger and Older Mothers’ Accounts’. She is author of ‘Mediating Risky Motherhood: A Discursive Analysis of offline/online Coverage of the Oldest British Mother-to-be’, which appears in the book Mediated Moms: Mothering and Popular Culture.

Georgia Philip
PhD student within the Social Policy department at the Open University.
Her project is a sociological, qualitative study of the experiences and perceptions of divorced or separated fathers, entitled ‘Working At It: the practical, moral and relational aspects of sustaining fatherhood beyond couplehood’. She is also particularly interested in feminist moral philosophy and the feminist ethics of care, in gender and parenting and in gendered power relations within domestic/personal/family life.

Heather Piper
Professorial Research Fellow, Institute of Education, Manchester Metropolitan University
Heather Piper is a professorial research fellow at the institute of education, Manchester Metropolitan University. She has an eclectic range of research interests, currently around professional (and other) fears of touching children, professionals (and others) who have been subjected to false allegations, indeed any manifestation of ‘risk society’.


Stefan Ramaekers
Stefan Ramaekers is assistant professor at the Centre for Philosophy of Education, K.U.Leuven (Belgium). His research interests include the changing discourses of parenting.

Helen Reece
Reader in Law, Birkbeck College, University of London

Jane Reeves
Research Lead, Family Care and Mental Health, School of Health and Social Care, University of Greenwich
Dr Jane Reeves is the research lead for the Department of Family Care and Mental Health at the University of Greenwich. Her current research projects include young mothers who multi-partner, young fathers, young mothers who visit HMP Belmarsh, young male carers, Care leavers and mentoring at the University.

Martin Richards
Martin Richards is Leverhulme Emeritus Fellow at the Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge and, currently a Visiting Fellow at the ESRC Genomics Forum at Edinburgh. Before his retirement he was Director of the Centre for Family Research where he researched parent-child relationships and aspects of family life. His current research concerns social and ethical aspects of genetic and reproductive technologies.


Jane Sandeman
Convenor, Institute of Ideas Parents Forum
Jane Sandeman is Convenor of the Institute of Ideas Parents Forum; a forum established for those interested in discussing the family, parenting and society.

Sophie Sarre
Sophie Sarre’s primary research area is families and social policy. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Sociology Department, University of Surrey. Her thesis attempts to answer two related questions: ‘How are (generationed and / or gendered) positions in the family order (re)constituted through time?’ and ‘How does one’s position in the family order affect one’s relationship to time?’

Alka Sehgal Cuthbert
Teacher; PhD researcher in Philosophy and Sociology of Education, University of Cambridge.

Sally Sheldon
Professor of Law, University of Kent
Sally Sheldon is a professor of law, at Kent University, where she teaches medical law. Her publications include ‘Beyond Control: Medical Power and Abortion Law’ (Pluto: 1997); ‘Feminist Perspectives on Health Care Law’ (Cavendish: 1998, co-edited with Michael Thomson); ‘Fathers’ Rights Activism and Law Reform’ (Hart, 2007, co-edited with Richard Collier) and, most recently, ‘Fragmenting Fatherhood: a Socio-Legal Study’ (Hart, 2008, with Richard Collier).

Dr Alison Smith
Centre for Health and Social Care Research, Faculty of Health and Social Care, Canterbury Christ Church University
Alison Smith is a lecturer and researcher in Health and Social Care at Canterbury Christ Church University. The focus of her current research is on developing Public Health Nursing practice and the Assessment of Health Needs in deprived communities in Kent.

Dr Lisa Smyth
link to bio
Lecturer in Sociology, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast

Eleanor Staples
I am a PhD candidate in the School of Law, University of Bristol. I am interested in family-state relations, gender and parenting and how the Law deals with’ these issues.


Carol Vincent
Professor of Education, Institute of Education, London

Marie Vijendran
Writer, Cambridge
Marie Vijendran is researching parental decision making and how well thought through decisions contribute to parental confidence. She brings to this research her experience of the way responsible individuals within companies make their decisions from ten years as a management consultant. I have contact with families in my role as an antenatal teacher.

Dr Stuart Waiton
Dr Stuart Waiton is a sociology and criminology lecturer at The University of Abertay Dundee, a Director of the research group Generation Youth Issues, and a regular contributor to the Times Educational Supplement in Scotland. Author ofScared of the Kids, his latest book, published by Routledge, is The Politics of Antisocial Behaviour: Amoral Panics.

Mareike Wiegratz Costa
Mareike is a final year social work student from Royal Holloway, University of London. I am currently practising in a Children with Disabilities Team of an inner London local authority. I also have experience of working with adults with learning disabilities and older people. She iswriting my dissertation on social workers’ perspectives on using alternative communication methods (such as Boardmaker or Widget) with disabled children who are looked after under section 20, 31 or 38 of the Children Act 1989 in decision-making processes (such as LAC reviews or statutory visits).

Joanna Williams
Joanna is lecturer in Higher Education in UELT, at the University of Kent.

Zoe Williams
Columnist, The Guardian
Zoe Williams is a columnist on The Guardian, and previously wrote a column in the London Evening Standard. She also writes for the New Statesman, Marie-Claire magazine and sundry others.

Dr Corinne Wilson
Senior Lecturer, International Studies and Social Science, Coventry University
Corinne Wilson is a Senior Sociology Lecturer at Coventry University. Her research interests include children, families and young people. Since 2001 she been involved in a number of qualitative research projects around the experiences of young pregnant women and young parents.

Carrie Wood
Project Manager, Special Needs Advisory and Activities Project (SNAAP)
Carrie is a parent of a disabled child, Carl, who is 16 years old. Carl was born 10 weeks premature and at 9 months old was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. After years of struggling through the ‘system’, 5 years ago Carrie started a local charity in Kent called SNAAP (Special Needs Advisory & Activities Project) helping support other parents of disabled children

Elizabeth Yardley
Rresearcher/teacher, department of Sociology, Aston University
Elizabeth Yardley completed her PhD in December 2007, ‘Teenage Mothers’ Experiences of Stigma and Formal Support Services’. She is currently working as a Research Fellow in the School of Languages and Social Sciences at Aston University. Her broad area is social policy and she is particularly interested in social problems. Her current research includes – Networks of Service Delivery (relationships between providers of low level support services for older people) and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in the British Media.

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