Portrait of Professor Barry Percy-Smith Professor Barry Percy-Smith

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b.percy-smith@hud.ac.uk | 01484 473131



Biography

I joined the University in April 2014 as Director of the Centre for Applied Childhood, Youth and Family Research (formerly the Centre for Applied Childhood Studies). Prior to that, for the last 12 years I worked at the University of West England (UWE), Bristol, initially with the SOLAR Action Research Centre - a specialist participatory research and development centre – and latterly with the Centre for Understanding Social Practice. I have been involved in a whole range of different projects the majority of which have been evaluations of children and family programmes.

I completed my doctorate in 1999 which concerned how children use their local environment and implications for planning, conducted as part of the UNESCO supported Growing up in Cities project. In 1999 I joined the SOLAR Action Research Centre – a specialised participatory research and development centre pioneering new forms of learning and change in organisations and communities – and moved to the University of the West of England in 2001.

My main interests are in childhood, youth and families, action research, participatory approaches to learning and change and using critically reflexive action inquiry to innovate thinking and practice in organisations and communities. I have an international reputation in the field of child and youth participation and have written widely on the subject including international text: A Handbook of Children and Young People’s Participation: Perspectives from Theory and Practice.

I have been part of numerous international expert forums on children’s participation, am a frequent invited key note speaker on the subject, have been visiting research fellow at the Children Youth Environment centre in Colorado and am readily called on to review papers, project proposals and examine PhDs on the subject from universities internationally, based on my expertise. I have produced in excess of 100 publications, conference papers and research reports.

I have been involved with over 35 research projects, 24 as project manager, generating in excess of £1.5 million of research and development income from Research Councils, Local, National and European Government departments and NGOs. I have extensive experience of participatory action inquiry approaches to evaluation and service improvement and developing organisational learning in public sector agencies. I have extensive experience working with public and voluntary sector institutions, multi-agency partnerships, government departments and agencies and international agencies in a wide range of research, evaluation and development projects, including major National and European evaluations.

Research and Scholarship

My main interests are in childhood, youth and participatory research and change processes using action research approaches in evaluation and service improvement. I am an experienced participatory practitioner, skilled workshop facilitator and action researcher with extensive experience of supporting participatory learning and action inquiry approaches to evaluation and service improvement in public sector organisations. I have an international reputation in the field of children’s participation and developing participatory learning practices in public sector agencies.

A key feature of my work is the use of a range of qualitative, visual and participatory approaches to innovate thinking through critically reflexive inquiry with partners to generate alternative responses to complex social policy challenges and support learning and change in public sector services. I have extensive experience working with public and voluntary sector institutions, multi-agency partnerships, government departments and agencies and international agencies in a wide range of evaluation, action research and change projects, including major National and European Evaluations. I have worked extensively supporting the development of children’s participation and user involvement within services. I also have extensive experience working with young people and supporting youth transitions.

My specific interests and expertise are in the areas of:

  • Participation of children and young people in research and decision making - but also issues of agency and empowerment and developing discourses of children’s participation as active citizenship
  • Action inquiry approaches to service evaluation and improvement across the public sector
  • Developing effective multi agency working / integrated children, youth and family services
  • Understanding and supporting youth transitions (especially concerning marginalized young people/NEETs etc)
  • In-depth qualitative inquiry including the use of visual approaches to understand young people’s realities and experiences
  • Facilitating practice based learning and innovation in organisations
  • Using learning to support workforce and service development
  • Facilitation of Knowledge cafes and 'Open space' technology

Research and consultancy projects have primarily focused on children and youth participation; service evaluation and improvement proejcts (including major national evaluations); evidence based needs assessments with vulnerable children and families; parental support; youth transitions; education, training and guidance for unemployed young people; educational underachievement and exclusion; and the role of children and young people as agents of change.

I am the main coordinator of the international Children's Participation Learning Network which is working at the forefront of critical thinking and practice concerning the participation of children in research and development processes. I have published widely in the field including a major international co-edited text entitled: A Handbook of Children and Young People’s Participation: Perspectives from Theory and Practice (Routledge 2010). I have worked with international partners in various forums evaluating and developing participatory approaches for working with children, young people and families in communities. I was the UK Director for the UNESCO supported Growing up in Cities project – a participatory action research project engaging young people and communities in evaluating and improving their neighbourhoods.

I have been a contributor to 2002, 2008 and 2014 RAE/REF submissions.

Since 1995 I have been involved with over 40 research projects, 25 as project manager, generating in excess of £1.5 million of research and development income from Research Councils, Local, National and European Government depts. and NGOs.

Current and recent research projects include: EU evaluation of children’s participation; Evaluation of deinstitutionalisation of children’s care in Bulgaria; Evaluating Community Based approaches to personalizing health care and support, Evaluation of pre proceedings protocols in Children’s Services; and Investigating stories from journeys to the edge of care.

Publications and Other Research Outputs

2017

Curran, T., Sayers, R. and Percy-Smith, B. (2017) ‘Disabled children’s childhood studies and leadership as experts by experience: learning activism in health and social care education’. In: The Palgrave Handbook of Disabled Children's Childhood Studies. : Palgrave Macmillan. . ISBN 9781137544452

2016

Percy-Smith, B., Larkins, C. and Berem�nyi, �. (2016) Supporting the participation and empowerment of young Roma : a participatory practice guide for professionals Presa Universitara Clujeana

Brooks, J., Bravington, A., Rodriguez, A., King, N. and Percy-Smith, B. (2016) ‘Using participatory research methods to facilitate wide stakeholder involvement: Experiences from a community public health workshop’. In: British Psychological Society Annual Conference 2016, 26th-28th April 2016, East Midlands Conference Centre

Berem�nyi, B., Larkins, C., Percy-Smith, B. and Roth, M. (2016) Key learnings from the PEER project : a combined research paper European Union

2015

Percy-Smith, B (2015) ‘Negotiating active citizenship: Young people’s participation in everyday spaces’. In: Politics, Citizenship and Rights. London: Springer. . ISBN 9789814585569

Brooks, J., Bravington, A., Rodriguez, A., Percy-Smith, B. and King, N. (2015) ‘Using an asset-based approach to explore the benefits of involvement in community-centred initiatives’. In: Qualitative Methods in Psychology (QMiP) Conference 2015, 2nd - 4th September 2015, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge

Curran, T., Sayers, R. and Percy-Smith, B. (2015) ‘Leadership as Experts by Experience in Professional EducationProcedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences , 186, pp. 624-629. ISSN 18770428

Brooks, J., Bravington, A., Rodriguez, A., King, N. and Percy-Smith, B. (2015) Public Health Participatory Research Project using an Assets Approach: Final report to funder University of Huddersfield (Unpublished)

Whewell, E., Heenan, S., Owen, R., Chudry, F. and Percy-Smith, B. (2015) ‘Children's Social Care: A Preliminary Evaluation of Two Judge-led pre-Proceedings ProtocolsFamily Law , 45 (7), pp. 751-760. ISSN 0014-7281

2014

Oliver, B. and Percy-Smith, B. (2014) ‘A Fig Leaf for Action: Critical perspectives on Youth Policy in the UKAutonomie locali e servizi sociali , pp. 443-460. ISSN 0392-2278

Percy-Smith, B (2014) ‘Reclaiming children's participation as an empowering social process’. In: Education, Childhood and Anarchism: Talking Colin Ward. : Routledge. pp. 209-220. ISBN 9780415820608

2013

Percy-Smith, B (2013) ‘Challenges for statutory services : stories from journeys to the edge of care’. In: Researching families and relationships : innovations in methods, theory and policy relevance, CRFR, 10-12th June 2013, University of Edinburgh

Percy-Smith, B. and Burns, D. (2013) ‘Exploring the role of children and young people as agents of change in sustainable community developmentLocal Environment , 18 (3), pp. 323-339. ISSN 1354-9839

Percy-Smith, B (2013) ‘Creating spaces for meaningful co-inquiry in pressurized public sector’. In: EARJ-CARN Study Day : New challenges for action research and action researchers, 8th March 2013, Nottingham University

2012

Thomas, N. and Percy-Smith, B. (2012) ‘‘It's about changing services and building relationships’: evaluating the development of Children in Care CouncilsChild & Family Social Work , 17 (4), pp. 487-496. ISSN 1356-7500

Dalrymple, J. and Percy-Smith, B. (2012) ‘Stories from the edge of care : what does listening to young people really mean for defining policy and practice?’. In: Children young people and adults : extending the conversation, 5-7th September 2012, The University of Central Lancashire

Percy-Smith, B (2012) ‘Challenges for statutory services : stories from journeys to the edge of care’. In: Celeberating Childhood Diversity Conference, 9-11th July 2012, Sheffield University

Percy-Smith, B (2012) ‘Challenging stereotypes : myths of normativity and difference in professional interventions with young people who are NEET’. In: Celeberating Childhood Diversity Conference, 9-11th July 2012, Sheffield University

Percy-Smith, B (2012) ‘Participation as mediation and social learning : Empowering children as actors in social contexts’. In: Participation, facilitation and mediation : children and young people in their social context. : Routledge. pp. 12-29. ISBN 9780415893145

Percy-Smith, B (2012) ‘Enhancing the effectiveness of youth participation in local development processes : challenges and possibilities’. In: Centre for Children Youth and Environments Guest, Lecture, 3rd April 2012, University of Colorado Boulder

Percy-Smith, B (2012) ‘Participation as active citizenship : educating children for sustainable futures’. In: Global summit on childhood, 28-31st Match 2012, Washington D.C. USA

2011

Percy-Smith, B (2011) ‘Unemployed youth and the struggle for recognition : reflexive professional practice and effective interventions with unemployed youth’. In: First International Conference on Youth Development (ICYOUTH 2011), 1-3rd November 2011, Putrajaya, Malaysia

Percy-Smith, B (2011) ‘Children's voice and perspectives : the struggle for recognition, meaning and effectiveness’. In: Listening to Children and Young People with Speech, Language and Communication Needs. : J&R Press. . ISBN 9781907826085

Percy-Smith, B (2011) ‘In search of meaningful participation: Issues, challenges and possibilities’. In: Improving and Expanding Practice in Participation - National Good Practice Conference, 20th October 2011, Newtown, Powys

Percy-Smith, B (2011) ‘Critical reflections on river of experience and life journey mapping as participatory inquiry tools’. In: Second International Visual Methods conference, 13-15 September 2011, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

Percy-Smith, B (2011) ‘Using life journey mapping to understand the experience of NEET young people leaving school and finding work’. In: 10th Conference of the European Sociological Association, 7-10th September 2011, Geneva, Switzerland

Percy-Smith, B (2011) ‘It's about changing services and building relationships : evaluating the development of children in care councils’. In: 10th Conference of the European Sociological Association, 7-10th September 2011, Geneva, Switzerland

Percy-Smith, B (2011) ‘Action research to promote leadership and agency in developing sustainable schools and communities’. In: Sustainable Communities: Skills and Learning for Place-Making. : University of Hertfordshire Press. pp. 159-173. ISBN 9781907396137

Percy-Smith, B. and Carney, C. (2011) ‘Using art installations as action research to engage children and communities in evaluating and redesigning city centre spacesEducational Action Research , 19 (1), pp. 23-39. ISSN 0965-0792

2010

Percy-Smith, B (2010) ‘Parent support as an anti poverty intervention for families experiencing difficulties’. In: Child in the City Conference, 27-29th October 2010, Florence, Italy

Percy-Smith, B (2010) ‘Exploring the role of children and young people as social change agents in transitions to post-environmental futures’. In: BSG and RGS-IBG Conference, 1-3rd September 2010, London

Percy-Smith, B (2010) ‘Parent Support Advisors: Redefining spaces for learning at the interface of home and school’. In: BSG and RGS-IBG Conference, 1-3rd September 2010, London

Percy-Smith, B (2010) ‘Participation and citizenship beyond the CRC’. In: Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth 3rd International Conference : Childhood and Youth in Transition, 6-8th July 2010, Kenwood Hall Hotel, Sheffield

Percy-Smith, B (2010) ‘Exploring the role of children and young people as social change agents in transitions to post environmental futures’. In: Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth 3rd International Conference : Childhood and Youth in Transition, 6-8th July 2010, Kenwood Hall Hotel, Sheffield

Percy-Smith, B (2010) ‘Exploring the role of parent support advisors in children's transitions into and through school’. In: Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth 3rd International Conference : Childhood and Youth in Transition, 6-8th July 2010, Kenwood Hall Hotel, Sheffield

Percy-Smith, B (2010) ‘Parent support advisors : a key link in integrated child and family services’. In: Social Policy Association (SPA) Conference, 5-7th July 2010, University of Lincoln

Percy-Smith, B (2010) ‘ESD and empowerment : never mind the theory where's the change’. In: Centre for Research in Education and the Environment Seminar Series, May 2010, University of Bath

Percy-Smith, B (2010) ‘Teenage kicks or the creatures from the black lagoon : comprehension and incomprehension between generations and the implications for children and young people's participation’. In: ESRC Seminar : Exploring children's relationships across majority and minority worlds. Seminar one - peer relations, 29th April 2010, University of Edinburgh

Percy-Smith, B (2010) ‘Councils, consultations and community: rethinking the spaces for children and young people's participation1Children's Geographies , 8 (2), pp. 107-122. ISSN 1473-3285

Percy-Smith, B (2010) ‘From Global Challenge to Local Efficacy: rediscovering human agency in learning for survivalForum: for promoting 3-19 comprehensive education , 52 (1), pp. 77-85. ISSN 0963-8253

Percy-Smith, B (2010) ‘Connecting systems and young people's lifeworlds : From participation to empowerment?’. In: Child Participation Workshop, Tuesday 26th January 2010, University of Sheffield

2009

Percy-Smith, B. and Thomas, N. (2009) A Handbook of Children and Young People's Participation: Perspectives from Theory and Practice . : Routledge. ISBN 9780415468527

Percy-Smith, B (2009) ‘Sustainable schools and communities : making it happen, not just learning about it’. In: Eco Schools Show, 24th June 2009, Stoneleigh Conference and Exhibition Centre

Percy-Smith, B (2009) ‘Beyond the UNCRC : realising children's participation in practice’. In: Children's Rights Conference : Easier said than done: 20 years of children’s rights between law and practice, 11-12th June 2009, Institute of Child Health, University College London

Percy-Smith, B (2009) ‘No one ever asks us about our dreams : in search of alternative discourses of participationA Journal of Youth Work , 2, pp. 39-54. ISSN 1469-0780

Percy-Smith, B (2009) Evaluating the development of young people’s participation in two Children’s Trusts : Year 2 Evaluation Report The SOLAR Action Research Centre (Unpublished)

Percy-Smith, B (2009) Exploring the role of schools in the development of sustainable communities. ESRC End of Award Report, RES-182-25-0038 ESRC (Unpublished)

2008

Percy-Smith, B (2008) ‘No one ever asks us about our dreams : in search of alternative discourses of participation’. In: Generating Alternatives: New Horizons for Youth Participation and Democracy, 11-14th September 2008, University of Strathclyde

Percy-Smith, B (2008) ‘Challenges in developing child and youth participation in public sector services’. In: Re-presenting Childhood and Youth, 8-10th July 2008, The Kenwood Hall Hotel, Sheffield

Percy-Smith, B (2008) ‘Give us a chance! Representing disadvantaged young women in discourses of youth unemployment, guidance and training for work’. In: Re-presenting Childhood and Youth, 8-10th July 2008, The Kenwood Hall Hotel, Sheffield

Taylor, M. and Percy-Smith, B. (2008) ‘Children's Participation: Learning from and for Community DevelopmentThe International Journal of Children's Rights , 16 (3), pp. 379-394. ISSN 0927-5568

2007

Percy-Smith, B (2007) ‘'You think you know? ... You have no idea': youth participation in health policy developmentHealth Education Research , 22 (6), pp. 879-894. ISSN 0268-1153

Percy-Smith, B (2007) ‘Youth participation and actorship : some observations’. In: 2nd Up2Youth Thematic Workshop, 1-4th November 2007, Lisbon, Portugal

2006

Percy-Smith, B (2006) ‘From consultation to social learning in community participation with young peopleChildren, Youth and Environments , 16 (2), pp. 153-179. ISSN 1546-2250

Clark, A. and Percy-Smith, B. (2006) ‘Beyond consultation : participatory practices in everyday spacesChildren, Youth and Environments , 16 (2), pp. 1-9. ISSN 1546-2250

Percy-Smith, B. and Walsh, D. (2006) Improving services for children and families : listening and learning. Report from a systemic action inquiry evaluation process SOLAR Action Research Unit (Unpublished)

2005

Chawla, L., Blanchet-Cohen, N., Cosco, N., Driskell, D., Kruger, J., Malone, K., Moore, R. and Percy-Smith, B. (2005) ‘Don't just listen - do something! Lessons learned about governance from growing up in cities programmeChildren, Youth and Environments , 15 (2), pp. 53-88. ISSN 1546-2250

2004

Percy-Smith, B. and Weil, S. (2004) ‘Practice-based research as development : innovation and empowerment in youth intervention initiatives using collaborative inquiry’. In: Researching youth. : Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 66-84. ISBN 9781403905734

2003

Percy-Smith, B., Burns, D., Weil, S. and Walsh, D. (2003) Mind the gap : healthy futures for young people in Hounslow . : University of the West of England and Hounslow Community Health Council. ISBN 1860433588

2002

Percy-Smith, B. and Weil, S. (2002) ‘New deal or raw deal?: dilemmas and paradoxes of state interventions into the youth labour market’. In: Young People in Risk Society: The Restructuring of Youth Identities and Transitions in Late Modernity. : Ashgate Publishing. . ISBN 9780754616948

2001

Percy-Smith, B (2001) ‘Contested worlds : constraints and opportunities growing up in inner and outer city environments of an English Midlands town’. In: Growing up in an urbanizing world. : Routledge. pp. 57-80. ISBN 9781853838286

Percy-Smith, B. and Malone, K. (2001) ‘Making children’s participation in neighbourhood settings relevant to the everyday lives of young peoplePLA Notes , 42, pp. 18-22. ISSN 1357-938X

Percy-Smith, B. and Matthews, H. (2001) ‘Tyrannical Spaces: Young people, bullying and urban neighbourhoodsLocal Environment , 6 (1), pp. 49-63. ISSN 1354-9839

1998

Percy-Smith, B (1998) ‘Children's participation in local decision making : the challenge of local governance’. In: Stepping forward : children and young people's participation in the development process. : ITDG Publishing. pp. 225-229. ISBN 9781853394485

Esteem

I am on the editorial board of a number of journals including: Children and Society, Children Youth and Environments; Children's Geographies; Educational Action Research, Other Education, Journal of Social Inclusion and Autonomie Locali e Servizi Sociali (Local Government and Social Services). I have been guest editor of a special issue of Children Youth and Environments on Children’s Participation.

I have been part of numerous international expert forums on children's participation and have undertaken numerous training and development consultancies for example for National Youyth Agency and the World Ban. I am a frequent invited key note speaker on the subject of children and youth participation, have been visiting research fellow at the Children Youth Environment centre in Colorado and am readily called on to review papers, project proposals and examine PhDs on the subject from universities internationally, based on my expertise. I have produced in excess of 100 publications, conference papers and research reports.

I have been a Member of the scientific organising committee for the European Child Friendly City Initiative (2001-2004) and am currently an active member of the European Sociological Association Childhood stream (RN4) and an associate member of the Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation at UcLan.

Research Degree Supervision

I have substantial experience supervising Post graduate research across the social sciences with particular emphasis on action research projects. Projects have included: Embedding children's participation in health and social care settings; A critical inquiry into the reflection of nurses on the ward; Using appreciative inquiry in occupational therapy; Children as place makers in planning local places in Istanbul. I am an active PhD examiner and have examined 6 Post graduate projects.

Postgraduate research opportunities with Professor Barry Percy-Smith

2017-18

MSc by Research
PhD

2018-19

MSc by Research
PhD

Enterprise Activities

Much of my working involves supporting practice based research and development with public sector partners. Between 2010 and 2014 I was the South West regional coordinator of Making Research Count whilst at UWE. This is a national network supporting the effective use of Research in Practice.