I joined the Sociology department at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2014 as a Senior Lecturer. I teach across the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, focussing on issues of punishment, justice, gender and harm. Through my teaching, research and wider work I am seeking to collectively examine and challenge inequalities and injustice. My current research interests include the gendered and racialised experiences of penal and welfare policies, processes of ‘othering’ and criminalisation, and the construction of knowledge (and ignorance).
Prior to coming to MMU I spent much of my career working as an applied researcher in the criminal justice system. Initially working as a Research Assistant in prisons, I then joined the (then local) Greater Manchester Probation Service in 2001. I was initially recruited to undertake an evaluation of programme for women delivered out of the women only space at the Pankhurst Centre in Manchester. I stayed within the Probation Service for 12 years, as Research Officer and then in 2010 as Head of Research and Policy. Over this time I was part of a collective effort to build a team of research, information and practice staff who delivered a range of support functions for the service and also delivered commissioned research to other organisations.
Alongside my time working in probation I also took opportunities to ‘step out’. I completed a Griffins Fellowship at the London School of Economics in 2004-2005, speaking to criminalised women about
their experiences of the women’s centres. I also worked as a part-time Research Fellow in CRESC at the University of Manchester in 2005-2006, on a project across a number of prisons (including two in the women’s estate) evaluating the impact of arts interventions in criminal justice.
During the period 2005-2015, with my long term collaborator Patrick Williams, I was also co-director of REClaim North West. A research organisation committed to delivering affordable research and
evaluation to small local community based charitable and campaign organisations. I continue to work in support of and service to organisations working to address issues of injustice and inequality, such as JENGbA, Women in Prison, Clean Break and the Care Leavers Association.
2014 - 2017 Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (Manchester Metropolitan University)
2000 - 2001 MSc Forensic Psychology (Manchester Metropolitan University)
1997 – 2000 BA (Hons) Psychology (University of Manchester)
I teach across the criminology and sociology programmes at all levels. The units I currently contribute to are listed below.
I have joint unit leadership (with Patrick Williams) of:
- Level 4 Criminal Justice Now (Criminology core)
I have joint unit leadership (with Kathryn Chadwick) of:
- Level 5 / 6 Deconstructing Gender
I am sole unit leader of:
- Level 5 / 6 Crime Deviance and Control
I teach on the criminology Masters. The units I currently contribute to are listed below.
I have joint unit leadership (with Patrick Williams) of:
- Level 7 Critiquing Crime and Justice
I have joint unit leadership (with Kathryn Chadwick) of:
- Level 7 Gender, Crime and Justice
Craig Fletcher (Kathryn Chadwick DoS): The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002: The Impact on
Desistence and the Legitimacy of Punishment
My research interests are broad, but framed by a number of distinct yet connected
debates listed below.
- The gendered experience of penal and welfare policies.
Critically evaluating narratives of criminalised women and working collaboratively to reveal the voices of women in contact with the CJS. The significance of institutional intervention in women’s lives, as a result of penal and welfare policies.
- Processes of ‘othering’ and criminalisation
How these processes apply to particular (often vulnerable or marginalised) groups and communities interactions of gender, race, class, age. The mechanisms for this process and how relates to criminalisation and punishment.
- How knowledge (and ignorance) is constructed and used
The relationship between knowledge, politics and structures of power. Subjecting concepts of ‘evidence-based policy’ / ‘what works’ to critique and examining the role of ‘experts’ and institutions (such as policy hink tanks or pressure groups)
- The role of the academic in activist work
If and how ‘we’ can engage in critical social research. The significance of positionality and the potential for research situated in academic institutions in contributing to and linking sites of struggle.
In my work I am looking to use my motivation and research skills to contribute to collective efforts in support of generating of new, or exposing silenced, knowledge.
In the last two years in the department I have been working in a collective called Sites of Resistance. We launched at an event in March 2015, with the inaugral ‘Resisting Criminalisation’. At conference attendees (including our students) were invited to hear directly from, among others, academics Prof Phil Scraton (QBU), Prof Joe Sim (LJMU) and Dr David Scott (LJMU). In the afternoon we held a sites of resistance activism event in the atrium where attendees could link to ongoing campaigns and hear about how they might get involved with a number of national campaign groups (e.g. Inquest, Women in Prison, Institute for Race Relations, Women in Prison, Stop Watch etc).http://www.mmu.ac.uk/news/news-items/3441/
Since then the Sites of Resistance Group have hosted a number international speakers. In November 2016 we had the honour of hosting Mr Robert King and Mr Albert Woodfox from the ‘Angola 3’. The following month Baz Dreisinger from John Jay University came to launch her book ‘Incarceration Nations’.
In March 2017 we held a series of events, looking to bring together filmmakers, academics and young people involved in justice campaigns to consider issues of speaking truth to power, linking sites of struggle and giving voice to the next generation. More information and pictures from all these SoR events will soon be available on a website. Watch this space.
P. Williams, R. Clarke (2018). The Black Criminal Other as an Object of Social Control. Social Sciences. 7(11), pp.234-234.
R. Clarke, K. Chadwick, P. Williams (2017). Critical Social Research as a ‘Site of Resistance’: Reflections on Relationships, Power and Positionality. Justice, Power and Resistance. Volume 1(Number 2), pp.261-282.
B. Clarke (2014). Chasing the ‘reoffending’ rainbow. Criminal Justice Matters. 97(1), pp.20-21.
RJ. Clarke, P. Williams (2018). Contesting the Single Story: Collective Punishment, Myth-Making and Racialised Communities. In: Media, Crime and Racism. Springer,
B. Clarke, K. Chadwick (2017). Women’s imprisonment and the case for abolition. In: Women's Imprisonment and the Case for Abolition: Critical Reflections on Corston Ten Years On. Routledge, pp.51-70.
RJ. Clarke (2012). Profiling the 'Rioters': Findings from Manchester. In: The English Riots of 2011 A Summer of Discontent. Waterside Press,
R. Kinsella, R. Clarke, J. Lowthian, M. Ellison, Z. Kiss, et al. (2018). Whole System Approach for Women Offenders - Final Evaluation Report. Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) Manchester Metropolitan University
PK. Williams, B. Clarke (2015). Dangerous Associations: Joint enterprise, gangs and racism. London: Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, Centre for Crime and Justice Studies.
R. Kinsella, C. O'Keeffe, J. Lowthain, R. Clarke, M. Ellison (2015). Evaluation of the Whole System Approach for Women Offenders. Sheffield Hallam University, Greater Manchester Police & Crime Commissioner.
R. Clarke, M. Ellison, J. Ozan, CC. Fox (2015). Evaluation of Intensive Community Support - Interim Report. Manchester Metropolitan University, Public Service Reform (PSR) Justice and Rehabilitation Team.
RJ. Clarke (2015). The triangle project women in prison.
R. Kinsella, R. Clarke, J. Lowthian, M. Ellison, Z. Kiss Whole system approach to women offenders final evaluation report. , Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
CC. Fox, R. Clarke, M. Sefton (2014). Mentoring Evaluation. Manchester Metropolitan University, London Probation Trust.
C. O' Keeffe, D. Ellingworth, J. Lowthian, R. Clarke, K. Wong Evaluation of the Whole System Approach for Women Offenders: Progress Report. Sheffield Hallam University, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner Greater Manchester.
Here are a selection of research projects i have contributed to recently.
Voices of Survivors (2017-2018) Lloyds Foundation (£85K)
I am part of a team working on the 'Voices of Survivors: Hearing Women, For a Change' project with Dr Kate Cook from MMU law department and local campaign and service providers Manchester Action of Street Harm (MASH), Manchester Rape Crisis (MRC) and Trafford Rape Crisis (TRC). This project, funded by the Lloyds Foundation for 18 months, will launch in summer 2017 and seeks to influence future commissioning of services for women in Greater Manchester who have survived sexual violence.
Being part of the Voices of Survivors project is a chance for me to contribute to an important project with organisations, groups and communities who are new to me, with the shared goal of hearing women survivors and creating a change in the support and services available to them in response to experiences of sexual violence, exploitation and harm.
The project has also offered two students the opportunity to support our work through a paid bursary, working within the three partner organisations and contributing the development, dissemination and analysis of an online question for women survivors.
Joint Enterprise and Gangs – Dangerous Associations: Joint enterprise, gangs and racism (2014-2016) Barrow Cadbury Trust (£30K)
To contribute to a collaborative project, working alongside partners from the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, the JENGbA campaign, B-TEG (Black Training and Enterprise Group). This project explored the complex, yet misconstrued association of black people (police) identified as involved with serious violence, which drives the imposition of harsh collective punishments and lengthy custodial sentences.
The report, co-authored with Patrick Williams, was published by CCJS in January 2016. Dangerous Associations: joint enterprise, gangs and racism. The findings of the shared widely, both in media, online journals and at events. On the day of the launch of the report we presented to community groups in both Manchester and London, and the following day to politicians, policy advisors, campaigners and family members in the House of Commons. The event was chaired by Andrew Mitchell MP, alongside Lord Beith and Andrew Slaughter MP. Also in attendance were Baroness Lola Young, Kate Osamor MP and Lord Ouseley. The analysis and written evidence we produced was viewed as instrumental in supporting the campaign to move beyond anecdotal evidence and maintain the momentum and interest in their campaign at a key time ahead of the Supreme Court ruling (which came in February 2016).
Patrick and I continue to work in service to the campaign issues on joint enterprise, with JENGbA who are seeking justice for those currently serving JE sentences and with local families whose children continue to be charged and convicted under the controversial laws. The findings have also been submitted to David Lammy MPs current review into racial bias in the criminal justice system (due to report summer 2017).
We continue to reflect on the findings and connect to wider theoretical debates about punishment, racism and (in)justice (Williams and Clarke, 2017). Our experiences of this work are captured in the forthcoming Justice, Power and Resistance article (Clarke, Chadwick and Williams, 2017).
Evaluation of the Triangle Project (2014-2015) Women in Prison – Big Lottery Project (£10K)
To lead a National evaluation of the Big Lottery funded Triangle Project, which delivered advice, guidance and support to criminalised women in all 13 women’s prisons in England and Wales.
Evaluation of the Women Offender Model (2014-2017) Greater Manchester Police and Crime
To be part of a team commissioned to evaluate the implementation of a range of women’s services cross all ten local authorities of Greater Manchester.
Thematic Review of cmmunity-based Family Interventions in Criminal Justice (2014-2015) Greater
Manchester Probation Trust (£5K)
To lead a team commissioned to deliver a thematic piece of research focussed on examining a number of local initiatives which could be broadly understood as engaging in ‘family’ in the context of community-based criminal justice interventions.