Research areas

  • HT Communities. Classes. Races - Social Science, community studies, marginalised populations, Life-course, Ageing populations, Intersectionality , Participatory Methods, Researcher-Activist

Research interests

Health and wellbeing are not just about our bodies and physiology, but about the webs we weave and that are woven around us: our relationships, home, community, economy and culture. Community-focussed, place-based approaches to research, and ‘ways of knowing’ that include nuanced and diverse aspects of everyday health and wellbeing are crucial in policy and practice developments seeking to address the low health and wellbeing outcomes that continue to impact poorer, marginalised populations.

Since joining USW in 2002, I have led teams of researchers, and collaborated with colleagues across the UK on a wide range of studies and scholarly activities, securing close to £1m of research funding from the Welsh Government, ESCR, AHRC and others. A key aspect of my research activity has been to draw out the voices of people from marginalised, migrant and minority ethnic population groups; to spotlight issues of access, engagement and utilisation in a range of health and social care settings; and to arrive at innovative solutions and new knowledge pathways drawn from a range of stakeholder perspectives, practices and sensibilities.

I am a Sociologist and my research incorporates critical race theory, feminism, community development theory, and critical perspectives in health, social policy and practice. My abiding research interest is rooted in intersectionality, in particular, the interplay and impact of, gender, age and social class as experienced by racialised and minority ethnic population groups.

My early research included leading on the establishment of a Wales-wide infrastructure research support service that collated and made accessible online research, best practice and policy resources; conducting studies exploring cultural competencies of social work and nursing; and funding, supporting and (most importantly) evaluating the strategies, approaches and outcomes of locally based health and wellbeing small-grant activities led by community organisations. My completed funded projects include qualitative and mixed-methods studies on understandings of dignity, and on experiences and expectations of care, drawing on the perspectives of older Caribbean migrants (men and women) in a localised context, and on the perspectives of older women from a range of minority ethnic backgrounds, alongside the surveyed findings of community-based social care and support professionals across Wales.

‘Go Home’: Mapping the unfolding controversy of Home Office immigration campaigns ended in 2015. This 18-month, multi-site, interdisciplinary research project explored the impact on local communities and national debate of current publicity campaigns about migration by the UK Home Office. Funded by the ESRC (Rapid Response Strand – £200k), this project operated across eight universities; I led on the Cardiff work package.

Another recently completed study is Representing communities: developing the creative power of people to improve health and wellbeing (July 2013 to July 2017), a large multi-siteprojectfunded by the Communities, Cultures, Health and Wellbeing strand of Connected Communities (AHRC/ESRC). Using five detailed case studies rooted in communities across the UK (including two in Wales), the project aims to establish how community representations produced through creative-arts practices can be used as forms of evidence to inform health-related policy and service development. I led on the Representing Butetown work package (£183k) and the focus was on the leisure pursuits, physical endeavours and creative activities of older people, with a focus on individual as well as collective wellbeing (behaviours, expectations and representations).


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