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Dan Connolly

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Senior Lecturer in Community and Youth Work

I am an experienced Community and Youth Worker and I now have the great privilege of teaching on the Community and Youth Work Studies Degree here at University of Sunderland.

I joined the Community and Youth Work team at Sunderland on a full-time basis in 2014. Prior to that, I taught on the Masters Degree in Community and Youth Work at Durham University as a Visiting Lecturer for five years.

Teaching and supervision

I currently teach on, and I'm Module Leader, for a range of modules on BA (Hons) Community and Youth Work Studies including "Groupwork" and "Supervision."

My specialist teaching interests include dialogue and power inequalities, rights-based approaches to work with young people/communities and working with students as co-creators of learning.


I completed my MA in Community and Youth Work from Durham University in 1997. My research dissertation titled “Young People and Friendship” analysed data comparing the relative benefits of male to male and female to female friendships between young people in the former East Durham coalfield. 

I initiated a three year action-research programme “More To Life” comparing interventions with young people across two post-industrial, rural areas (Durham and West Cumbria).

As a freelance consultant, I have conducted field-based research and evaluations covering a range of topics related to community and youth work including:

  • Work with Gypsy and Traveller young people
  • Sex and relationship education in schools
  • Work with young people not in education, employment or training
  • Young carers transitional support
  • Support for the children of parents with severe drug addiction
  • Youth volunteering
  • Children and young people’s right to participation/UNCRC Article 12
  • Children’s Trusts
  • Young people who become disaffected from school
  • Training programmes for young people in “Self-Build” housing

I am a member of the Centre for Applied Social Sciences Research Institute here at Sunderland and I am currently researching strategies for overcoming barriers to achieving organisational changes identified via young people’s participation. This initial research is expected to lead to doctoral study in this field.

I am currently researching for an up-coming book chapter that I am co-writing with my colleague Dr Ilona Buchroth on the Voluntary Community and Youth Sector which will be titled "Youth Work - Dichotomous Futures." 


Jump to: Book Section
Number of items: 1.

Book Section

Buchroth, Ilona and Connolly, Dan (2019) Dichotomous Voluntary Futures. In: Youth Work - Global Futures. Sense.

This list was generated on Sat Jul 20 06:20:07 2024 BST.

I've worked in the Community and Youth Work field for over 23 years, covering a range of related posts – mainly in the North East of England but often linked to national initiatives. Specific areas of experience and expertise include environmental youth work, rural youth work, post-16 support to young people struggling to access jobs or further education/training, outdoor education, young people’s rights and participation, community regeneration, third sector management, young people with disabilities and young people/adults with additional, complex needs.

I am also an experienced consultant and trainer in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) with special interests in workplace bullying, mediation, third sector disputes and the role of trade unions. I achieved accredited mediator status in 2013 and I continue to run my own mediation and dispute resolution business alongside my work for the University.

I sit on the Management Board of Investing in Children, a County Durham-based children’s rights and participation CIC (Community Interest Company) with projects across the UK and internationally.

I was a co-founder and Vice-Chair of East Durham Youth in Action and was  Vice-Chair of Mobex North East, organisations specialising in addressing inequality by providing access to outdoor adventure for young people in County Durham and North East England. I also chair the management committee of my local community centre.

Last updated 30 May 2024