Elen is now studying for a PhD

Elen, PhD student

Elen is a qualified youth and community worker in Cardiff and Newport. After studying the MA Working for Children and Young People (Youth Work Initial Qualifying) at USW, she decided to progress her knowledge with a PhD (Social Policy).

"My PhD focuses on an element of youth work called anti-oppressive practice, which looks to highlight social injustice, identify oppression(s) young people may be facing and challenging these, ensuring youth work practice is embracing the values of equity, diversity, inclusion and fairness, challenging power imbalances in society and putting young people at the forefront of all practice, so that they can inform future work and policies amongst other things.

"I fell in love with this topic during my MA at USW, and after focusing my dissertation on this topic at a theoretical level, I wanted to carry on my research in more detail. The topic is important to me as I come from a multicultural family, and because of this have had the joy of experiencing a diverse upbringing. Also, as a youth worker, anti-oppressive practice and challenging oppression and discrimination is something I do throughout my practice, whether that be questioning stereotypes that I come across in practice or challenging societal norms which may be oppressive.

"I chose to do a PhD both for my career and for personal reasons. During my MA I found myself getting frustrated that the theories I was reading about in relation to anti-oppressive practice were often focused on other people professions and were not necessarily from a youth worker perspective. I decided that I wanted to undertake research into this area in more detail, and to help inform youth work practice for the years to come!

"I generally come on to campus to do my research, but I also work remotely. I have a supportive and excellent supervision team in place, who come provide a variety of research expertise and this really helps in getting me to think about different perspectives on my research. They have pushed me and encouraged me to do things which were previously outside of my comfort zone, such as presenting at conferences.

"I chose USW for the benefits of learning from experienced researchers who also have an extensive experience in professional practice out in the field of work. I specifically applied to USW as I knew that whoever I had on my supervision team would have professional experience of working with children and young people, or working in the areas of social policy, and this was something extremely important to me alongside having a supervision team with extensive research experience and knowledge. USW has not disappointed in this area!"