PhD in Social Science 1984
My route to social work was not straightforward. At school, I initially planned to be a linguist, but eventually studied geography at University, where I did some work for the Samaritans and voluntary visiting. I then worked for a Children’s Department in West London and later obtained a social work qualification at Bedford College, London. A few years afterwards, I became a senior social worker, but decided that higher management was not my ambition or forte, so applied to study for a PhD at Edinburgh University.
I came to what was then the Department of Social Administration and Social Work in 1979. For my PhD I carried out a study on the non-parental care of young children living in ‘ordinary’ families. My supervisors, John Triseliotis and Adrian Sinfield, were very supportive. I then conducted a study of adoption allowances under the direction of John Triseliotis. Next I combined further research on adoption with part time teaching on the social work course. I learned a great deal about tutoring, teaching and curriculum development from my colleagues in the social work section of the department. I also gained a lot from the friendliness and wisdom of social policy staff.
In 1988, I moved to Glasgow to take up a post as Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Glasgow, but took with me fond memories of the University and City of Edinburgh. I was pleased to be able to continue collaboration with staff at Edinburgh through joint research, conferences and acting as an external examiner for a number of Social Work PhD students. I went on to become Professor of Social Work and Director of the Centre for the Child & Society, where I carried out research and produced publications on a range of topics mainly related to children and families. Some of this work was in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Edinburgh. For some years, I was Associate Director of the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR) at the University of Edinburgh. I then became Research Professor at the University of Strathclyde until retirement in 2012.
Source: own contribution.