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Liz Woolley

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Faculty Academic Support Lead in Faculty Education and Society

I am an experienced Community and Youth Worker and I'm very privileged to be a lecturer at the University of Sunderland. I am driven by a passion for social justice and critical pedagogy.

I have supported the delivery, development and management of third sector youth organisations across the West Midlands and joined the University of Sunderland in 2018.

I teach across the BA Community and Youth Work Studies course and I am strand leader on the MA Childhood and Youth Studies (Youth Work JNC strand). I am also Admissions Tutor for the BA (Hons) Community and Youth Work Studies course.

Teaching and supervision

I am a passionate teacher and support teaching across BA (Hons) Community and Youth Work Studies.

I am currently Module Lead for:

  • CYW320: Equalities, Diversity and Social Justice

Research interests for potential research students

I welcome research that has social justice at its core. I am particularly interested in participatory research that is action focused.


I completed my MA in Community and Youth Work from Newman University. My research dissertation titled “Understanding the relationship between Youth Work and Autism” was an autoethnographic piece of research that looked to understand the role of autism-specific youth work and the wider context of dis/ability in youth work. This piece of research was thereafter amended and presented in the Innovation in Youth Work publication by YMCA George Williams College.

During practice, I supported the development of participatory field-based research and evaluations covering a range of topics including: Youth Participation, Decoding the 'Anti' in Anti-Social Behaviour, Training Staff in Autism Specific Youth Work and Funding Strategies for Small Charities.

I am currently building my research and I'm excited to support the development of Sarah Martin Denham's research about Adverse Childhood Experience this academic year. I am also currently co-authoring a book chapter with Dr Ilona Buchroth, Dr Rick Bowler and Dan Connolly called 'Resistance is Not Futile' and will form a section of 'Teaching Youth Work in Universities'.

This academic year I hope to engage in participatory action research with students.

With just over a decade of practice experience, I have enjoyed working with a wide range of children, young people and vulnerable adults. While I have led and managed mainstream youth projects, my work has often had a focus upon working with young disabled people. I have also supported young people in restorative justice projects, rights and participation, mental health and neighbourhood development. I also oversaw the regional developmental (in the West Midlands) of services for young people with mild to moderate disabilities.

I enjoy innovative and experiential teaching methods that ensure a critical pedagogical approach.

Last updated 08 July 2024