hannah smithson‌Professor Hannah Smithson

Professor of Criminology & Youth Justice
Director of MCYS

Hannah has worked within the field of criminology for over 20 years and specialises in the area of youth justice. She works collaboratively with a host of local, national and international communities/stakeholders, including professionals, activists and the Third Sector. Her research has been instrumental in shaping agendas in research and policy across three interconnected areas: Youth Justice, Youth Gangs and Community Safety and Crime prevention. Hannah is the co-convenor of the Greater Manchester Youth Justice Partnership (website link) and was the academic lead on the partnership’s recent AHRC/ESRC funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). The KTP co-developed, with young people in the youth justice system, a transformative framework of practice – Participatory Youth Practice (PYP) (website link). She is currently leading the Comic Relief/Sport Relief Kicking Crime into Touch project and the evaluation of Young Manchester funded projects. Hannah is a methodological innovator and is committed to enabling youth led and youth informed research. She sits on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Youth Studies and is Head of Ethics for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. See Hannah's youth-related publications and full profile.  

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‌‌‌Dr Paul Gray

Senior Lecturer in Criminology
Deputy Director of MCYS 

Paul has been a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Manchester Metropolitan University since 2011. In the 15 years prior to that, he was involved in conducting applied criminological research in the private, public and voluntary sectors. He has managed, and contributed to, numerous multi-method evaluations for a wide range of funders - including the Home Office, the Youth Justice Board, the Welsh Assembly, and the Ministry of Justice. His work has focussed primarily on youth justice, resettlement, substance misuse, and youth engagement. See Paul's youth-related publications and full profile


‌‌‌‌Professor Melanie Tebbuttmelanie-t

Professor of History
Head of Youth History at MCYS‌

Melanie has written widely on British social and cultural history in works which include the history of pawnbroking and working-class credit, women’s social networks, gossip and leisure in working-class communities and regional identities. Her research in the last decade has turned to focus on the history of childhood and youth in the modern era and projects which have a strong community-facing focus through involvement in collaborative engagement work with young people and local communities. Her most recent books include Being Boys:Youth, Leisure and Identity in the Inter-War Years (Manchester University Press, 2012) and Making Youth: A History of Youth in Modern Britain (Palgrave MacMillan, 2016). See Melanie's youth-related publications and full profile


‌‌Dr Deborah Jump

Senior Lecturer in Criminology
Head of Youth Justice at MCYS

Deborah has over ten years experience of working in youth justice as both a practitioner and service manager. Deborah has implemented sporting programmes such as Splash and Positive Futures, and was the recipient of a Winston Churchill Memorial Fund grant evaluating the impact of sporting programmes on communities in the U.S.A. Deborah’s current research focuses on sport and desistance from crime, and she has recently completed an ethnography looking at the impact of boxing on young offender’s attitudes towards violent crime. She has published on qualitative research methods and national sporting policy evaluation. See Deborah's youth-related publications and full profile


‌‌Dr Rob Drummond

Senior Lecturer in Linguistics
Head of Youth Language at MCYS

Rob is a sociolinguist who works primarily within the area of language and identity, with a particular focus on the language of young people who live in urban environments. His most recent youth-oriented project, funded by The Leverhulme Trust, explores the ways in which young people in Pupil Referral Units enact identities through language and other social practices. A book about the project: Researching Urban Youth Language and Identity was published by Palgrave in March 2018. Through his research, publications, and media involvement, Rob is committed to challenging the negative associations that so often surround urban youth language and other non-standard varieties. See Rob's Youth-related publications and full profile. 


‌‌Dr April Pudsey

Senior Lecturer in Ancient History
Head of History and Archaeology of Youth & Childhood at MCYS

April's primary research focuses on children’s lives, agency and cultures in classical Antiquity, particularly Graeco-Roman Egypt, and in the demography of the ancient world. She is currently working on two internationally collaborative projects relating to ancient childhood. Growing Up in an Ancient Metropolis. Children in Roman Oxyrhynchos (with Ville Vuolanto, Oslo/Tampere), is the first project of its kind, systematically examining thousands of Greek papyri from an Egyptian metropolis to reconstruct the lives and experience of children in a variety of domestic, political, religious and community contexts. April is also co-Investigator on a major AHRC-funded project (led by Ellen Swift, Canterbury, Kent with the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL), which reconstructs everyday lives of the inhabitants of Roman and Late Roman/Early Christian Egypt through its artefacts. Her other ongoing projects and publications relate to the cultures and materiality of infant care in the past: feeding, weaning and wet-nursing practices across the Graeco-Roman world. April is developing a network of scholars working on Children’s Cultures and Agency, Past and Present, which has seen two international events through the Centre for Youth Studies. She is also heavily involved in developing strategies around young people’s aspirations and attainment through their engagement and mentorship within Classics, Classical Latin, and Ancient History; she works with the OCR examination board, regional school and sixth-form pupils, and the national Classical Association Teaching Board to provide support and build mentoring networks. See April's youth-related publications and full profile.


Dr Caitlin Nunn‌‌

Research Fellow at MCYS

Caitlin has spent more than a decade researching the lived experiences of refugee-background young people in resettlement countries, including in relation to integration and transnationalism, and identity and belonging. Much of her research employs participatory and arts-based approaches. Caitlin has published in journals including the Journal of Youth Studies and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and has collaborated with refugee-background young people, artists, local governments and service providers on a number of arts-based and audio-visual works, including a 2017 event at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. Caitlin is committed to working with young people to produce critical and creative knowledge and understandings, and to share them with a range of audiences in the pursuit of a more just society. See Caitlin's Youth-related publications and full profile.


Alex Wheatle MBE‌‌

Lecturer in English 
Head of English at MCYS

Alex joined Manchester Metropolitan University as a Lecturer in Creative Writing in January 2018, teaching on the Writing for Children and Young Adults route of our MFA and MA in Creative Writing. See Alex's youth-related publications and full profile.


Anna-Christina Jones‌

Senior Research Assistant at MCYS‌

Anna-Christina is an interdisciplinary researcher working in the area of criminology and youth justice. Anna-Christinahas a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Investigative and Forensic Psychology from the University of Liverpool. She is currently completing a PhD in Youth Justice at MMU. Anna-Christina led the Greater Manchester Youth Justice University Partnership (GMYJUP) Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project, an initiative that facilitated the bi-directional transfer of ideas and initiatives between academia and practice and led the collaborative development of effective practice within the Greater Manchester YJS. This pioneering project focuses on enhancing evidence-based, assessment-led early intervention for those receiving out of court disposals, as well utilising Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) to champion young people’s voices and explore their direct experiences and journeys towards desistance from crime. See Anna's full profile.



Full team:

Dr John Bellamy

John's research is predominantly on investigating the expression, construction and performance of identity amongst young people through their linguistic practices. Most of his work involves young people who have grown up in linguistically and culturally diverse urban areas. In recent studies, he has explored how language usage in this context links up with gender, acts of non-conformity and affiliation with different subcultures and scenes. His projects cover multiple linguistic situations, including in Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and the UK, and combines approaches and ideas from sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, ethnography and language policy and planning. See John's youth-related publications and full profile.

Dr Ben Bowman

Ben is an interdisciplinary researcher with an interest in young people’s everyday lives, everyday politics and the place of young people in democratic society. In his PhD research, young participants used digital photography to talk about everyday life as a political arena: about inequalities, inclusion and exclusion, change and opportunities for change in the UK. He has contributed to policy on the Vote at 16 as expert consultant to the European Youth Forum and constituent bodies, including the British Youth Council. His contributions to public debate on young people in politics have included work for the BBC, The Times, the Times Higher Education, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Huffington Post and other online outlets like The Conversation. Ben is co-convener of the Young People’s Politics Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association (PSA) and continues to engage in public debate on young people in politics in Britain and internationally. See Ben's Youth-related publications and full profile.

Dr Jenny Cromwell

Jenny is an Egyptologist by training and her primary research interests lie in the social and economic history of everyday people in the ancient Mediterranean world, especially in Egypt during the late Christian and early Islamic periods (ca. 5th to 8th centuries CE). She is currently working on two collaborative projects relating to ancient childhood: Coptic (Egyptian) education in southern Egypt in the 7th century CE (with Raffaella Cribiore, New York) and the practice of donating children to monasteries (with Arietta Papaconstantinou, Reading). In particular, she is interested in mono- and bilingual education in multicultural and multilingual Egypt and the use of the indigenous Egyptian language (Coptic) after the Arab-Muslim conquest of the country. Her recent volume, Recording Village Life: A Coptic Scribe in Early Islamic Egypt (2017), is a micro-historical examination of village life in the first half of the 8th century CE in southern Egypt. Beyond her research, Jenny is active in school outreach, working with Key Stage 2 (primary school) students for whom ancient Egypt forms part of their core syllabus. See Jenny's youth-related publications and full profile.


Dr Blanka Grzegorczyk

Before joining Manchester Metropolitan University as a Lecturer in English (Writing for Children and Young Adults) in August 2018, Blanka was a part-time lecturer at the University of Cambridge and at Anglia Ruskin University. Her research interests are in the intersections of contemporary literature, culture, and theory, with a specific focus on the legacies of colonialism, including postcolonial terror, and on the social and political contexts of writing for the young. Blanka is the author of Discourses of Postcolonialism in Contemporary British Children’s Literature (Routledge, 2015) and Terror and Counter-Terror in Contemporary British Children’s Literature (forthcoming with Routledge, 2019). See Blanka's youth-related publications and full profile.


Elsie Whittington

Elsie is youth researcher with over 10 years’ experience delivering youth projects as both an ‘adult’ and ‘young person’. Elsie’s research interests span youth studies, youth sexuality, youth work and informal education.  She uses participatory and creative approaches to research as much as possible. Her most recent work has focused on sex and relationships education and developing an expanded understanding of sexual consent and think about how we can teach and talk about the ‘grey areas’ and awkward bits of sexual negotiation.

Elsie’s main aim in research is to ensure that the findings can be put into practice in ways that benefit young people.  She teaches about youth transitions, youth justice, youth sexuality, and children and young people’s rights amongst other things. See Elsie's youth-related publications and full profile.

Meet Our Team