‌‌Professor 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 variety of local, national and international communities and stakeholders, including professionals, activists and third sector organisations. 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 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). 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. See Hannah's youth-related  and full profile

‌Dr Paul Gray

Senior Lecturer in Criminology
Deputy Director of MCYS

Paul has over 20 years’ experience conducting criminological research. Prior to joining Manchester Metropolitan University in 2011, he held research posts in a number of private, public and voluntary sector organisations. During this time, he managed and contributed to numerous multi-method research projects for a wide range of funders - including the Home Office, the Youth Justice Board, the Welsh Assembly, and the Ministry of Justice. He has authored or co-authored over 50 research reports and journal articles on a diverse range of topics including youth engagement, youth justice, anti-social behaviour, and youth resettlement. Paul’s current interests centre around adverse childhood experiences and substance use. His recent research has focussed on areas such as the impact of unresolved trauma, the justice system’s response to young people with adverse childhood experiences; the nature and prevalence of New Psychoactive Substance use among young people; and, young people’s engagement into substance use treatment services. See Paul's youth-related  and full profile.

Dr John Bellamy


John is a linguist whose research is predominantly on investigating the expression, construction and performance of identity amongst young people through their language practices. Most of his work involves young people who have grown up in linguistically and culturally diverse urban areas. In his recent research, he has explored how language usage in these contexts relates to gender, acts of non-conformity, and affiliation with different subcultures and scenes. His research covers multiple linguistic situations, with projects carried out 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 Votes at 16 as an 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, and the Huffington Post. 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  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: one looking at Coptic (Egyptian) education in southern Egypt in the 7th century CE (with Raffaella Cribiore, New York) and one investigating 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 publication, 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. Jenny is a member of the MCYS Steering Committee. See Jenny's youth-related  and full profile.

‌‌‌‌Dr Rob Drummond

Reader 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. His most recent youth-oriented project, funded by The Leverhulme Trust, explored 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, and a set of resources to be used with young people and staff in Pupil Referral Units is currently being trialled. Through his research, publications, and media involvement, Rob is committed to challenging the negative discourse surrounding language that doesn’t fit society’s notions of ‘standard’. He works with teaching organisations to explore ways in which young people’s natural linguistic diversity can be used positively in the development of spoken language awareness and ability. See Rob's Youth-related publications and full profile.

Dr Chloe Germaine Buckley

Senior Lecturer

Chloe’s research focuses on children’s and young adult fiction. Her first monograph, Twenty-First-Century Children's Gothic: From Wanderer to Nomadic Subject (Edinburgh University Press) offers a completely new way of reading children’s Gothic literature, rejecting a pedagogical model of criticism in favour of a “nomadic” paradigm. She is currently working on a second monograph that explores metaphysics, materialism and ethics in contemporary writing for children and young adults. She has written extensively on other topics in gothic and horror and on diversity and decolonization in children’s fiction. Chloe has worked with the Manchester Children’s Book Festival and organized events for children and families as part of the annual Gothic Manchester Festival. She is on the steering group for a project that explores science and children’s literature hosted by Edinburgh Napier University. See Chloe's full profile  and website.

‌‌Dr Deborah Jump

Senior Lecturer in Criminology
Head of Youth Justice at MCYS‌

Deborah has over fifteen years’ experience of working in youth justice as both a practitioner and service manager. She has implemented sporting programmes such as Positive Futures, and was the recipient of a Winston Churchill Memorial Fund grant evaluating the impact of sporting programmes on communities in the USA. Deborah’s current research focuses on youth justice, sport and desistance from crime, and she has a particular interest in the impact of boxing on young offenders’ attitudes towards violent crime. She has published on qualitative research methods and national sporting policy evaluation, and is the grant holder and principle investigator for the Comic Relief funded project Getting out for Good: Preventing Gangs through Participation. Deborah is also the co-investigator, alongside Professor Hannah Smithson, on Kicking Crime into Touch, a Sport Relief project funded in partnership with England Rugby. See Deborah's youth-related publications and full profile.

Dr Fatima Khan

Senior Lecturer

Fatima is a social scientific researcher whose work interrogates issues around British Muslim youth identity, with a particular focus on the criminalisation of the population through targeted counter-terrorism and security policies, and the discursive construction of the Muslim ‘other’ in media, political and policy narratives. Her work around the Muslim body and post-colonial feminism has also led her to examine the gendered nature of those increasingly normalised anti-Muslim narratives. She uses participatory qualitative methods to collaborate with young Muslims in order to privilege and embolden their voices in social debates that explicitly concern them. Fatima teaches, among other things, about terrorism and counter-terrorism as a social construct, gendered Islamophobia and embodied Islam, and the theoretical frameworks we can use to understand such issues. Fatima is a member of the MCYS Steering Committee. See Fatima's youth-related  and full profile.

Dr Samuel Larner

Senior Lecturer

Samuel is a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics with expertise in Forensic Linguistics, and a member of the MCYS Steering Committee. Prior to joining Manchester Metropolitan University in 2014, Samuel held lectureships in linguistics at the University of Central Lancashire and Newman University, and held research posts at Lancaster University and Aston University. His research primarily explores the language of vulnerable victims of serious crime. In particular, his research explores how children disclose serious crimes (particularly sexual abuse) to both trusted adults and to peers, and also how they talk about their experiences of crime (e.g. living with domestic violence). He is currently working with the children’s charity Barnardo’s on a project which explores gaps in service provision for victims of sexual abuse under ten years old and their families. See Samuel's  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 such as 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.

‌‌‌‌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. 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); and Roman and Late Antique Artefacts from Egypt: Understanding Society and Culture (an AHRC-funded project led by Dr Ellen Swift, Kent, with the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL). Her other ongoing projects and publications relate to the cultures and materiality of infant care 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 MCYS. She is also heavily involved in developing strategies around young people’s aspirations and attainment through 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.

‌‌‌‌Professor Melanie Tebbutt‌

Professor of History
Head of Youth History at MCYS‌

Melanie is a specialist in British social and cultural history whose published areas 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.

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.

Dr Elsie Whittington


Elsie is a youth researcher with over 10 years’ experience delivering youth projects, as both an ‘adult’ and as a ‘young person’. Elsie’s research interests span youth studies, youth sexuality, youth work and informal education. She uses participatory and creative approaches in her research as much as possible. Her most recent work has focused on sex and relationship education, developing an expanded understanding of sexual consent, and thinking 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, amongst other things, about youth transitions, youth justice, youth sexuality, and children and young people’s rights. See Elsie's youth-related  and full profile.

Our Team