People « Everyday Childhoods

Rachel Thomson, University of Sussex (Principal Investigator) is Director of the University of Sussex Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth (CIRCY). She is a sociologist by discipline, and has worked at the University of Manchester, the National Children’s Bureau; London South Bank University and the Open University. Her research interests include the study of the life course and transitions, as well as the interdisciplinary fields of gender and sexuality studies. She is a methodological innovator and is especially interested in capturing lived experience, social processes and the interplay of biographical and historical time.



Sara Bragg, University of Brighton (Co-investigator) is Senior Research Fellow in the Education Research Centre at the University of Brighton, since October 2012. Previously she was a Research Fellow (Research Council UK) in Child and Youth Studies at the Open University (2006-2012). Since 2000, she has worked in research and teaching roles at the University of Sussex and the Institute of Education, London.



Kate HowlandKatePhoto, University of Sussex (Co-investigator) is a Lecturer in Interaction Design at the University of Sussex. Her research focuses on designing and understanding novel technologies which aim to support creative and social activities. She has worked particularly on the design of creative tools for young people, including a visual programming language on the Flip project, interactive digital storytelling tools on the Narrative Threads project. Kate worked with the intensive panel on the Face to Face project, and was involved with the design of methods and data collection. She is particularly interested in how digital technology is used for world building and narrative play across the intensive and extensive cohorts, and the importance of these activities in our participants’ everyday lives.


Mary-Jane Kehily, The Open University (Co-investigator) is Professor of Gender and Education in the Centre for Childhood and Youth Studies at The Open University. Having completed postgraduate study in Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham and the Institute of Education, University of London, Mary Jane’s academic interests continue to focus on the intersection between cultural studies and education. Following cultural studies traditions, she is particularly experienced in ethnographic methods and uses them to explore the everyday settings in which gender and sexuality, narrative and identity and popular culture are given meaning by young people themselves.


Susi Arnott photo

Susi Arnott (Media Consultant) studied at Nottingham University (Biology), University College London (PhD, control of gene expression) and the National Film & Television School (specialising in camera and documentary). Television work in technical roles (mostly camera and editing) as well as editorial/production roles (directing, writing, producing and series-producing) led to broadcast credits spanning BBC, Channel 4 and Five. This has been interspersed with non-broadcast work with the public sector, Universities and NGOs like Oxfam, Christian Aid and FARM Africa, and in 2003 she she established Walking Pictures Ltd.. She taught on the MA ‘Television for Development’ in the early days of participatory video in the 1990s. Training others, within the University sector and/or on actual commissions, has sometimes merged into co-productions – for example with ‘Maajabu’ in Tanzania and ‘Merti Maarifa’ in Kenya. But independent work has also been shown at Festivals and galleries, and she’s collaborated with photographer Crispin Hughes in both arts and development projects.

As director/camerawoman she worked with Rachel Thompson in 2009 to make a longditudinal, observational study of an arts intervention project with Year 6 children for the OU. In 2011 they collaborated again, together with Crispin Hughes, to ‘re-animate’ social science research in what has become the ‘Face2face’ project. Website:


Berriman photo

Liam Berriman, University of Sussex (Research Fellow) is Lecturer in Digital Humanities/Social Science at the University of Sussex’s Humanities Lab. He was the full time Research Fellow on the Face 2 Face project and was primarily involved in assembling and carrying out research with the intensive panel. He studied for his PhD in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. His thesis – titled ‘Design and Participation Across Young People’s Online Spaces’ – looked at the how and on what terms young people come to be defined as ‘participants’ in the development of virtual worlds and online games. Liam’s research interests include digital childhood and youth, children’s consumer cultures, and digital and cultural economy.


Lucy Hadfield, Freelance Researcher


Crispin Hughes photo 
Crispin Hughes (Media Consultant) studied English at Cambridge University and Photography at the University of Westminster. His work as a photographer appears regularly in the national and international press; a founder member of Photofusion, he’s also been with Panos Pictures since 1990 when he began covering conflicts in South Sudan, Rwanda, Angola and Somalia. He’s exhibited at The Photographers’ Gallery, The Imperial War Museum, Museum of London, National Portrait Gallery and many others.

Active consent has always characterized his photography, making pictures a collaboration whenever possible. Participatory photography work has involved teenage asylum seekers in London, HIV+ adults in Mexico, Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro and Los Angeles, and children in UK primary schools. In 2011 he and Susi Arnott became involved with Face 2 Face, animating and re-presenting the work of the researchers through interactive panoramas and other online multimedia resources. They have also conducted multimedia training for the research group. Website:


Ester McGeeney, University of Sussex


Sue Sharpe, Freelance Researcher is a freelance social researcher whose main interests have been the situation and experiences of young people, motherhood and family relationships. She has researched and written books on these areas, which have explored the lives of working mothers, teenage mothers, and father-daughter relationships, as well as the views and expectations of young women and men, (for example, ‘Just Like A Girl’ (Penguin) 1976, 1994; Double Identity (Penguin), 1984; Fathers and Daughters (Routledge) 1994; Uncertain Masculinities (Routledge) 2000, (with M. O’Donnell). She worked on the Making the Long View: Inventing Adulthoods project, which followed the lives of a sample of young people in the UK, and with Henderson et al., the research was published as Inventing adulthoods: a biographical approach to youth transitions (Sage 2007). It was based at London South Bank University where she is a Visiting Fellow. She also worked on the longitudinal study, ‘Making of Modern Motherhoods/Dynamics of Motherhood (MoMM/DoM) project at the Open University, contributing with Thomson et al. to ‘Making Modern Mothers’ (Policy Press 2011). She has been working on the extension to this project, the ‘F2F’ (Face to Face) Project based at Sussex University.