BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD
I joined MMU in 2009 having previously worked at the Applied Criminology Centre, University of Huddersfield. I have specialist research interests in youth justice, youth gangs and youth engagement. I teach on the Sociology/Criminology Programme in areas around youth justice and youth gangs.
The majority of my research involves engagement with a number of communities in and outside of the university, including professionals, activists and the Third Sector. I have directed projects funded by the YJB, ESRC, AHRC, local authorities, police forces and charities. My research has been instrumental in shaping agendas in research and policy across three interconnected areas: Youth Justice, Youth
Gangs and Youth Engagement.
I am Head of the recently formed Manchester Centre for Youth Studies (MCYS) http://www2.mmu.ac.uk/mcys/. which is committed to developing research and methods that encourage young people's participation in the research process.
I am co-convenor of the innovative Greater Manchester Youth Justice Youth University Partnership (GMYJUP), involving the YJB and each of the 10 Greater Manchester Youth Offending Services (YOS). http://www2.mmu.ac.uk/mcys/gmyjup/
I am joint Editor in Chief of the Safer Communities Journal (Emerald Publishing) and I sit on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Youth Studies.
2005-2009 - Senior Research Fellow, Applied Criminology Centre, University of Huddersfield
2004- Research Fellow, Environmental Criminology Research Unit, University of Liverpool
2002-2004 - Research Associate, Department of Applied Social Sciences, University of Manchester
Head of the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies (2014 - present)
Deputy Head of the Research Centre for Applied Social Science (RCASS) (2015)
Departmental REF Co-ordinator (UoA 22) Social Policy (2013-2014)
Bidding for Success Workshop Series co-convenor (2013-2014)
I am Joint Unit Leader for :
Lecturer MA Criminology - Evaluating Criminal Justice Responses (2012-2013)
Director of Studies, Youth Gangs in the UK
Director of Studies, Youth Gangs and Youth Transitions
Director of Studies, The Lived Experiences of young British muslims in Leicester UK. 2011-2015
Supervisor, Understanding perceptions of anti-social behaviour: problems and policy responses. ESRC and Home Office Case Studentship, 2007-2010
Potential PhD Supervision
I would be interested in supervising PhDs in the following areas:
External Examiner, University of Sunderland, BSc (hons) Criminology 2012- 2016
Hannah's main research interests are:
MCYS is outward facing and has developed relationships with over 20 local and national youth organisations. The centre’s vision is to enable and create youth-informed and youth-led research and in line with this vision. MCYS is an inter-disciplinary research centre which involves collaboration with a number of colleagues from across the university. This includes colleagues from, history, english, education, art and design, psychology, info comms and languages.
I also work closely with colleagues from the University of Huddersfield, the University of Chester, the University of Manchester and London Metropolitan University.
P. Gray, H. Smithson, R. McHugh, G. Smyth (2018). ‘There’s Not Going to Be a Single Solution’: The Role of Resettlement Consortia in Improving the Resettlement Outcomes of Young People Leaving Custody. Youth Justice. 18(1), pp.67-81.
A. Fraser, R. Ralphs, H. Smithson European Youth Gang Policy in Comparative Context. Children and Society. 32(2), pp.156-165.
HL. Smithson, A. Shazhadi, R. McHugh, S. Arun (2017). Society does treat me differently and that is a shame’: understandings and feelings of Britishness amongst visibly observant young Muslims. Journal of Youth Studies. 21(5), pp.607-617.
H. Smithson, R. Ralphs (2016). Youth in the UK: 99 problems but the gang ain ' t one?. Safer Communities. 15(1), pp.11-23.
H. Smithson (2015). The Gang & Beyond: Interpreting Violent Street Worlds. By Simon Hallsworth (London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, 209pp. £79.00 hb, £25.99 pb). British Journal of Criminology. 55(2), pp.421-423.
H. Smithson, R. Ralphs, P. Williams (2013). Used and abused the problematic usage of gang terminology in the united kingdom and its implications for ethnic minority youth. British Journal of Criminology. 53(1), pp.113-128.
V. Heap, H. Smithson (2012). "We've got to be tough, we've got to be robust, we've got to score a clear line between right and wrong right through the heart of this country": Can and should the post-riot populist rhetoric be translated into reality?. Safer Communities. 11(1), pp.54-61.
H. Smithson, A. Wilcox, L. Monchuk, K. Christmann, K. Wong (2011). The prevalence of youth racially motivated offending: What do we really know?. Probation Journal. 58(3), pp.233-249.
H. Smithson, A. Wilcox, L. Monchuk (2010). Current Responses to Youth Racially Motivated Offending. Youth Justice. 10(2), pp.157-173.
H. Smithson, R. Armitage (2007). What role for street crime wardens?. Safer Communities: a journal of practice, opinion, policy and research. 6(2), pp.22-30.
J. Deakin, H. Smithson, J. Spencer, J. Medina (2007). Taxing on the streets: understanding the methods and process of street robbery. Crime Prevention and Community Safety. 9(1),
R. Armitage, H. Smithson (2007). Alley-gating revisited: the sustainability of resident's satisfaction?.
R. Ralphs, H. Smithson (2015). European Responses to Gangs. S. Decker, DC. Pyrooz. In: The Handbook of Gangs. John Wiley & Sons, Inc, pp.520-537.
HL. Smithson, V. Heap (2012). From Words of Action to the Action of Words. D. Briggs. In: The English Riots of 2011 A Summer of Discontent. Waterside Press, pp.257-279.
H. Smithson, L. Monchuk, R. Armitage (2012). Gang Member: Who Says? Definitional and Structural Issues. In: Youth Gangs in International Perspective. Springer New York, pp.53-68.
E. Hichens, S. Pearce, D. Murray, H. Smithson, PM. Gray, et al. (2018). Youth Justice Resettlement Consortia: A process evaluation. Youth Justice Board, Youth Justice Board.
E. Hichens, D. Murray, PM. Gray, H. Smithson, R. McHugh (2017). A process evaluation of the Essential Skills for those Serving sentences in the Community (ESSC) pilot. Welsh Government, Welsh Government.
A. Wilcox, H. Smithson, K. Christmann, L. Monchuk, K. Wong Racially motivated offending and targeted interventions.
Smithson, H (2014) Used and abused: the use of the term gang and its implications for ethnic minority youth. Key note address Sydney Institue of Criminology and New South Wales Juvenile Justice
Smithson, H (2014) Youth in Crisis? guest speaker, Young Lancashire annual conference
Smithson, H (2007) Alleygating Re-visited. Annual UK DOCA Conference, Merseyside Police Headquarters
Smithson, H. and McHugh, R. (2016) Democracy, democracy and Participation: Involving youth or youth voice as separation? BERA Conference, University of Huddersfield.
Smithson, H. and Pollock, G. (2015) Hidden underemployment: the centrality of work for vulnerable young people across Europe. Youth Studies Conference, Copenhagen.
Smithson, H. and Ralphs, R. (2013) Youth in the UK:99 Problems but the Gang aint' one?SOFI, University of Teeside
Smithson, H. and Ralphs, R. (2013) From Droogs to Dogs. Day of the Droogs Conference. International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester, UK.
Smithson, H and Ralphs, R. (2013) Ethical Considerations in Gang Research. 13th Eurogang Conference, Canterbury, Kent, UK.
Smithson, H. and Ralphs, R. (2012) Used and abused: The implications of the term gang for ethnic minority youth. 12th Eurogang Conference, Stockholm, Sweden.
Ralphs, R., Smithson, H and Williams, P. (2011) Developments in Gang Policy and Policing in the UK: Who are labelled and why does it matter? Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Conference, Brisbane, Australia. September.
Ralphs, R., Smithson, H and Williams, P. (2011) What’s in a name and why does it matter? From violent (Asian) gangs to troublesome youth groups, drug dealers, extended family networks and criminal entrepreneurs. York Deviancy Conference, University of York. June 2011.
Smithson, H (2010) Gang member who says? The process of defining the gang. 10th Eurogang Workshop, Neustadt, Germany, June.
Smithson, H (2009) Service Provision for Young Racially Motivated Offenders. British Society of Criminology Conference, University of Cardiff.
Smithson, H (2009) Imagining the gang. European Society of Criminology Conference, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Smithson, H and Rogerson, M (2007) Alley-gating re-visited: The sustainability of residents satisfaction? British Society of Criminology Conference, London, LSE.
Smithson, H. (2006) Evaluating the Sustainability of Alley-gating: The Liverpool Alley-gating Scheme. American Society of Criminology Conference, Los Angeles.
Smithson, H. (2005) The Impact of a Dispersal Order to Reduce anti-social behaviour amongst Young People: A Case Study Approach in East Manchester. Securing an Urban Renaissance Conference. Glasgow University.
Smithson, H (2004) Does Mentoring Work? Experiences in North West England. European Society of Criminology Conference, Amsterdam.
Smithson, H (2001) Reducing risk – Preliminary findings from a Sure Start programme. American Society of Criminology Conference, Atlanta USA.
Smithson, H (2001) Early Intervention a successful method of reducing risk? European Society of Criminology Conference, Lausanne Switzerland.
Smithson, H (2015) Panel discussant Royal Exchange Theatre : 'Gangs of Manchester'.
Smithson, H (2010) Young People’s Conference on Dispersal Powers at Liverpool John Moores University.
Manchester Metropolitan University, Humanities in Public Festival, 'Contesting Youth' public lectures (2014)
Manchester Centre for Youth Studies Launch Event (2014)
Organising Committee British Society of Criminology Conference - University of Huddersfield (2008)
I am regularly invited to review papers for academic journals, including the British Journal of Criminology, Urban Studies and Youth Studies.
2016 The Welsh Government A Process Evaluation of the Essential Skills for those serving Sentences in the Community (ESSC) Pilot (Grant Holder)
2016 The Integrate Movement (TIM) Evaluation and Research Partner (Co-Investigator)
2015 AHRC/ESRC Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Developing and embedding wide-ranging, effective practice within the Greater Manchester YJS: Linking theory to practice. (Grant Holder)
2015 ESRC Festival Event Social Sciences in Everyday Life (Grant Holder)
2015 ESRC Festival Event Young Voices (Grant Holder)
2014 Evaluation of Manchester Young Lives (Grant Holder)
2014 YJB Process Evaluation of Re-settlement Consortia in High Custody areas (Grant holder)
2013 London probation Trust: Evaluation of London Probation Trust's IDAP Programme
2013 Greater Manchester Police Safer Schools' Partnership: Assessment of School Based Responses to Gangs and Youth Violence in Manchester (Grant Holder)
2011 Khulisa: Longitudinal Assessment of My Square Mile Project (Grant Holder )
2010 Gangs in a northern town (Grant Holder)
2010 Ministry of Justice: Intensive Alternatives to Custody
2009 Guns and Gangs ( Grant Holder)
2009 Youth Justice Board: Preventing Violent Extremism (Grant Holder)
2007 Youth Justice Board: Service provision for racially motivated offenders (Grant Holder)
2007 GONW: Exploring strategies for tackling student robbery across Manchester
2007 East Riding Council: Designing out Crime in Bridlington South
2007 Scottish Executive: The use of dispersal orders in Scotland (Grant Holder)
2006 Manchester City Council: An investigation of the use of Dispersal Orders (DOs) across Manchester City (Grant Holder)
2006 Huddersfield University Research Funding Committee: Anti-Social Behaviour by Young People (Grant Holder)
2006 Liverpool City Watch: Evaluation of Liverpool’s Street Crime Warden Scheme (Grant Holder)
2006 Liverpool CitySafe: Evaluating the Sustainability of Liverpool’s Alley-Gating Scheme (Grant Holder)
2006 Liverpool Citysafe: CCTV Consultancy in Liverpool (Grant Holder)
2005 West Yorkshire Probation:From DTTOs to DRRs via DIP: Taking Forward Best Practice in the Treatment of Substance Misusing Offenders (Grant Holder)
2004 Liverpool CitySafe: Evaluating the Impact of Liverpool’s Joint Agency Groups (JAGs)
2004 National Evaluation of New Deal for Communities Crime Theme – ASB and Young People
2003 Department of Health Evaluation of the Let’s Get Serious Mentoring Project
The need for impact, public engagement and partnership working lies at the very heart of my research. Throughout my career, I have consistently addressed the impact agenda and led on innovative public engagement events, designed not just to enhance the impact of my own research but also that of others. My research has been instrumental in shaping agendas in research and policy nationally across three interconnected areas: youth justice, youth engagement and youth gangs.
Whilst employed at MMU, I have made a substantial contribution to the development of academic
enterprise across a broad range of activities and have made a leading contribution to the advancement of external knowledge transfer and professional practice.
The Manchester Centre for Youth Studies (MCYS)
I am Head of the newly formed Manchester Centre for Youth Studies (MCYS) http://www2.mmu.ac.uk/mcys/. MCYS brings together researchers from across the university – including the humanities, social sciences and education – to explore how the meanings, experiences and representations of youth have changed over time. Historically, children and young people have been seen as a source of concern for the media, politicians and academics. MCYS is outward facing and has developed relationships with over 20 local and national youth organisations. The centre’s vision is to enable and create youth-informed and youth-led research and in line with this vision, we have organised and hosted a number of public engagement events. Each one was planned to generate debates and contest popular, negative
misconceptions of youth; promote the use of creative methodologies and engage young people in the centre’s activities. Details of each of these events are provided below:
MCYS was launched in June 2014, through a full day public event attracting approx. 80 delegates from local and national youth organisations, academia and young people from local secondary schools. Key-note speakers included the Head of Policy and Research at Action for Children and Tony Lloyd, Greater Manchester’s Police Crime Commissioner.
In 2014, MCYS hosted a hugely successful series of public lectures under the title ‘Contesting Youth’. They were convened under the Faculty of Humanities Languages and Social Science (HLSS) inaugural HiP (Humanities in Public) programme and attracted a number of high profile speakers, including Sylvia Lancaster OBE from the S.O.PH.I.E. Foundation, Prof. Bill Osgerby from London Metropolitan University and Dave Haslam DJ and journalist. In total, these events attracted approx. 200 delegates.
In 2014, the Forever Young Documentary made by the MCYS (funded by the AHRC and the British academy) was screened at the Central Library in Manchester. Since its initial screening, the film has been shown in venues across North-West England and at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
In 2015, MCYS ran a one-day public workshop: ‘Young Voices: The Active Engagement of Young People’. Over 50 representatives from organisations including the Children’s Society, Addaction, Positive Steps, Brooke, and Trafford Youth Offending Service, took part in the workshop. Feedback from the event included: “It was amazing, great to focus on practice. We need more events like this in Manchester”. “Great to see a
mixture of university and community partners and engagement of youth workers was great”.
In 2015, MCYS secured ESRC Festival funding to host the interactive event, ‘Youth of Today’, involving approx. 20 young people from 4 local youth organisations. Feedback from the young people included: “I think that it was educational because it makes us express our opinion about events in the world.” Feedback from youth workers included: “It was a really nice event, good to get young people involved and hear their points of view.”
As part of the ESRC Festival in November 2015, MCYS secured a second funding application to host, “Social Sciences in Everyday Life”. The event attracted approx. 50 young people from 4 Greater Manchester secondary schools. Feedback from the young people included: “Very good day overall, very interesting to
learn more about the social science.”
In May 2016, MCYS is hosting a follow-up event to the ESRC Festival event ‘Young Voices’ for up to 30 young people across Greater Manchester. It is a Manchester Children’s Book Festival trail-blazer and will feed into the Festival’s 'Generation Mcr #Takeover' day at the Central Library see http://www.mcbf.org.uk/whats-on/events/save-the-date-mcbf-at-central-library.
Greater Manchester Youth Justice University Partnership (GMYJUP)
I have a proven track-record in the development of research in the field of youth justice and I continue to shape key policy debates in ways that are leaving a genuine mark on the youth justice system. I have directed three large YJB commissioned projects through a competitive tendering process totalling £254,950. My work on youth racially motivated offending was used to inform the YJB’s review of youth offending service provision for racially motivated offending in 2010. I am currently undertaking research for the YJB to assess the effectiveness of four new resettlement consortia in high custody areas and provide evidence based findings to help inform future delivery of the Transforming Youth Custody programme. Given recent government priority into the secure estate, this research will have a significant impact on public policy. The findings will be presented to the Effective Practice Board at the YJB.
GMYJUP was established in October 2014. The partnership comprises of MMU, the Youth Justice Board and the 10 Youth Offending Services across Greater Manchester. Our goal is to become a beacon region for innovation and excellence, demonstrating strong outcomes for children and young people. The partnership strives to develop an innovative knowledge exchange between MMU and the Greater Manchester Youth Offending Services. We achieve this by YOS practitioners contributing to teaching at MMU and through utilising lecturer’s research experience to improve evidence based practice in Youth Offending Services. GMYJUP will focus upon researching areas of mutual interest to those involved in the partnership. Through increased research opportunities, the partnership looks to generate an income and utilise newly available funding resources.
A one-day event that attracted approx. 50 YOS practitioners was held to launch the partnership that show-cased relevant MMU research and provided the opportunity for academics and practitioners to exchange dialogue around research priorities. The partnership has also created student placement dissertations, carried out exploratory pieces of research, delivered training workshops for practitioners and provided guest sessions for MMU UG students.
In April 2016, the GMYJUP will host the ‘Youth Justice: Evidence in Practice Event’. This one-day conference will present the progress of the GMYJUP and the KTP to date. Speakers include, Dr. Tim Bateman, Principal Policy Advisor for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner and Robert Street, Head of Effective Practice, YJB.
Knowledge Transfer Partnership - AHRC/ESRC: Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Developing and embedding wide-ranging, effective practice within the Greater Manchester Youth Justice Service: Linking theory to practice.
This innovative and pioneering KTP of which I am the Academic Lead, was the first ever in the HLSS Faculty at MMU and is the first of its kind in the field of youth justice. It was developed through the pre-existing Greater Manchester Youth Justice University Partnership (GMYJUP) (see above). KTPs are viewed as the ‘gold standard’ of knowledge exchange and hold a very high status in the Higher Education sector as they are the primary measure of Knowledge Exchange success. They are extremely valuable as they produce research outputs with built-in impact; generate impact from research, and develop high profile external engagement.
GMYJUP’s KTP has been designed to help develop and embed wide-ranging, effective practice via enhancing practitioner skill-sets and developing services optimised for user-engagement. The partnership will concentrate upon improving practitioner’s capability to link theory to practice and developing trans-media
approaches to engaging with young people in the criminal justice system.
A monetised impact of £2.5m is projected by the end of year 3 post-KTP.
In 2012 due to my high profile and expertise in evaluation research, I was invited to become an expert member of the UK government Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) Evaluation Consultation Group.
As a result of my work with the Greater Manchester Youth Justice University Partnership (GMYJUP), in 2015 the Youth Justice Board invited me to sit on their Academic Roundtable for Partnership Working.
As above, my work with GMYJUP led to The Head of Research at Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation, request that I peer review their inspection reports on desistance frameworks in the youth justice system.
In 2016, the MoJ invited me to deliver training sessions on evaluative methods to their analysts as part of the launch of the Government Social Research Profession.
In 2016, the Head of Research at Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) invited me to deliver a guest session on the use of digital methods with young people in the youth justice system.
My work in the area of youth gangs has culminated in the impact on national gang policy. In 2015, along with MMU colleagues Ralphs and Williams and Manchester University colleagues, Aldridge,
Medina and Shute, we formed the Manchester Gang Network. It was created in response to the Home Affairs Select Committee on ‘Gangs and Youth Violence’. From 2014-2015, the Select Committee oversaw a report on the effectiveness of the national Ending Gangs and Youth Violence (EGYV) strategy implemented in 2011 see ‘Gangs and youth crime Thirteenth Report of Session 2014–15’, ordered by the House of
Commons, 24th February, 2015, http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmhaff/199/19905.htm. The Manchester Gang Network produced a response for the Select Committee focusing on the effectiveness of the EGYV strategy, the reliability of statistical data concerning gang-related offences, definitional ambiguities, the use of stop and search and the reduction of gang activity through early intervention. Our work is cited on pages 7 and 9 of the report, leading to recommendations directly to the Home Office.
I have undertaken a number of grant reviews for the ESRC as an expert on youth gangs.
In 2014 I held a Visiting Scolarship at the Sydney Institute of Criminology, Australia. As part of the scholarship I delivered a key-note presentation on ethnicity and gangs as part of a visiting scholarship. The lecture was sponsored by New South Wales, Juvenile Justice. I also delivered teaching sessions to postgraduate students.
I was invited by Emerald Publishers to become joint Editor-in-Chief of the Community Safety journal and I have held this position since 2013. Safer Communities is the leading, peer review journal in the
community safety field.
In 2015 Prof. Andy Furlong, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Youth Studies invited me to sit on the Editorial Board for the Youth Studies journal.
I am a member of the British Society of Criminology, the National Association of Youth Justice and the Eurogang network.