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Graham Bowpitt

Visiting Professor

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)
Social Work and Health Nottingham Civic Exchange


Graham is a part-time Associate Professor in Social Policy, combining PhD supervision and research in roughly equal proportions.

Although no longer involved in undergraduate teaching, in the past, Graham's teaching has encompassed a specialist interest in social exclusion, as well as more general modules on the policy process, comparative social policy, theoretical social policy and the development of social work. He has supervised numerous dissertations at Masters level, where students have undertaken studies in aspects of homelessness. His experience in doctoral supervision has grown through, for instance, two ESRC funded CASE studentships, and he is now able to share his experience by joining supervisory teams supervising students on a wide range of subjects. Graham has also maintained an active programme of research in recent years. In addition to PhD supervision, he has secured numerous contracts to evaluate local programmes in tackling social exclusion in its various dimensions, about which more is explained below.

Career overview

Graham has been at NTU for most of his working life, so most of his career is covered in the sections above and below. However, up until 2002, he also assumed numerous course management roles, being Course Leader for the BA Applied Social Studies and the BA Social Sciences. Graham also served as a Subject Reviewer for Social Policy for the Quality Assurance Agency, and undertook several Subject and Course Reviews at various HEIs.

In more recent years, he has served as Research Coordinator in the Department of Social Work and Health, seeking to enhance the Department’s research profile, encouraging research activity among colleagues and producing and helping to implement the Department’s research strategy. He has also served on the Research Degrees Committee and Research Ethics Committee for the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences, where he has supported the progress of PhD students and helped to ensure that research meets appropriate ethical standards.

Research areas

Graham has engaged in two main areas of research interest. In the field of tackling multiple exclusion homelessness, the focus of research has been on single adults who combine homelessness with one or more other indicators of deep social exclusion, typically drug and alcohol dependency, mental ill-health, criminality, and experiences of domestic abuse or eviction. The overall purpose has been to explore what works in addressing multiple exclusion homelessness and what barriers are encountered. It has included, for instance, a £92,000 grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (2009-10, RES-188-25-0001). Much of this work has been the product of a long-standing collaborative relationship with the Framework Housing Association for whom numerous evaluative projects have also been completed. The most recent success has been an eight-year contract (2014-22) worth £280,000 to undertake the local evaluation of Framework's Opportunity Nottingham programme, which is funded by the Big Lottery’s national programme, ‘Fulfilling Lives: Supporting Adults with Multiple Needs’.

Over the years, research in multiple exclusion has extended beyond the field of homelessness, designing and delivering evaluations of initiatives such as Sure Start Local Programmes, the Derby City Children's Fund and the Spiral bereavement service run by Family Care.

In addition, a long-standing and wide-ranging interest in the place of faith and faith communities in social welfare policy and practice has generated some activity. The focus of interest has been largely historical, being concerned with how the church's engagement with civil society in the social welfare field has responded to broader trends in secularity and post-secularity.

The outcome of research activity has been numerous journal articles and conference papers and inclusion in REF 2014 for Unit C22, Social Policy and Social Work, where Graham's work on homelessness was presented as an impact case study.

External activity

In connection with his work at NTU, Graham has been on the Editorial Board for Social Policy and Society (2010-12), and is regularly invited to review books and articles submitted to several journals, including British Journal of Social Work, Journal of Social Work, Social Policy and Society, Social Policy and Administration, Housing Studies and others from time to time. Graham  has also been a rapporteur for one or two ESRC funded research projects.

Of relevance to teaching, Graham has been external examiner in Social Policy at Brighton University, at South East Essex College and currently at Birmingham University in relation to their suite of Masters level courses in Social Policy.

Other external activities of relevance to Graham's research interests include his membership of the Board of Trustees at the Emmanuel House Support Centre, where he also chairs the Sub-committee that manages the Nottingham Winter Shelter. In the past, he has also edited The Extra Mile, the in-house journal of the Social Work Christian Fellowship.

Sponsors and collaborators

As noted above, Graham has collaborated with Framework Housing Association fairly continuously since 1997, undertaking contract research and supervising research students sponsored by FHA. He has assumed a similar role with Family Care Nottingham, who co-sponsored a PhD student working on their adoption records, and for whom he undertook the evaluation of their childhood bereavement service. Prior to these relationships, as indicated above, Graham has undertaken contract research with numerous Sure Start Local Programmes, the Derby City Children's Fund and the Radford Healthy Living Centre.

Press expertise

Graham has made occasional radio appearances around issues connected to areas where he feels he has a particular expertise. Currently, this is mainly in the field of single homelessness and rough sleeping. In the past, he has participated as an expert in the history of social work in Laurie Taylor's 'Talking Allowed' programme at the time of the publication of a book on the Salvation Army.

Graham is willing to be called upon, but only in areas where he feels he has a particular expertise, such as single homelessness or the role of the churches in social welfare.