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Dr Tom Disney

Senior Lecturer

Department: Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing

I am a Social Geographer and my research interests centre on families and children experiencing interventions of the state, with a conceptual focus on care and control across a variety of institutions. I explore how these interventions break or facilitate cycles of marginalisation of children, young people and families. My work lies at the intersection of Geography and Childhood Studies.

Tom Disney

Campus Address

Coach Lane Campus



Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

I am a Social Geographer and my research interests centre on families and children experiencing interventions of the state, with a conceptual focus on care and control across a variety of institutions. I explore how these interventions break or facilitate cycles of marginalisation of children, young people and families. My work lies at the intersection of Geography and Childhood Studies.

My previous research has focussed on residential care settings in Russia and I have also conducted research into family visits to prison in the UK. I have recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship on a major ESRC-funded longitudinal, ethnographic study of child protection work in the UK. This interdisciplinary research explored how social workers establish and sustain relationships with families in order to keep children safe.

More recently, I have completed a project titled ‘Young People Leaving Care in the Russian Federation’, funded through a British Academy Small Grant. The project critically explores the forms of transition and aftercare services available to care leavers in Russia. In the UK, I am currently conducting participatory research into the needs  of families accessing early help and social care services, in collaboration with local government. I am interested in developing collaborative research proposals to further develop cross-disciplinary dialogues between Social Work and Geography.

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Hostile relationships in social work practice: Anxiety, hate and conflict in long-term work with involuntary service users, Ferguson, H., Disney, T., Warwick, L., Leigh, J., Cooner, T., Beddoe, L. 2 Jan 2021, In: Journal of Social Work Practice
  • Reclaiming failure in geography: Academic honesty in a neoliberal world, Davies, T., Disney, T., Harrowell, E. Feb 2021, In: Emotion, Space and Society
  • Revealing the hidden performances of social work practice: The ethnographic process of gaining access, getting into place and impression management., Leigh, J., Disney, T., Warwick, L., Ferguson, H., Beddoe, L., Cooner, T. 1 Jul 2021, In: Qualitative Social Work
  • Supervision in child protection: A space and place for reflection or an excruciating marathon of compliance?, Beddoe, L., Ferguson, H., Warwick, L., Disney, T., Leigh, J., Cooner, T. 26 Aug 2021, In: European Journal of Social Work
  • From snapshots of practice to a movie: Researching long-term social work and child protection by getting as close as possible to practice and organisational life, Ferguson, H., Leigh, J., Cooner, T., Beddoe, L., Disney, T., Warwick, L., Plumridge, G. 1 Sep 2020, In: The British Journal of Social Work
  • Orphans, Disney, T. 2020, The SAGE Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood Studies, SAGE
  • Relationship-based practice and the creation of therapeutic change in long-term work: Social work as a holding relationship, Ferguson, H., Warwick, L., Disney, T., Leigh, J., Cooner, T., Beddoe, L. 30 Nov 2020, In: Social Work Education
  • The nature and culture of social work with children and families in long‐term casework: Findings from a qualitative longitudinal study, Ferguson, H., Warwick, L., Cooner, T., Leigh, J., Beddoe, L., Disney, T., Plumridge, G. 1 Aug 2020, In: Child & Family Social Work
  • Towards geographies of child protection, Disney, T., Lloyd, J. 1 Dec 2020, In: Geography Compass
  • “Isn’t it funny the children that are further away we don’t think about as much?”: Using GPS to explore the Mobilities and Geographies of Social Work and Child Protection Practice, Disney, T., Warwick, L., Ferguson, H., Leigh, J., Cooner, T., Beddoe, L., Jones, P., Osborne, T. 1 May 2019, In: Children and Youth Services Review

PGR Supervision

Fiona Ranson Finding home: identifying ‘best interests’ provision for Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children, who are trafficked. Start Date: 18/01/2021

Qualifications

  • PhD
  • PGCert
  • MA
  • MA (Hons)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy FHEA
  • Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society FRGS


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