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Health and Social Care Cluster

Health and Social Care Cluster

The Health and Social Care Cluster investigates a diverse array of issues drawing on expertise from law, criminology, sociology and social work. The cluster is co-ordinated by Dr Jane Marriott and Mr Karl Mason.

Research in the Health and Social Care Cluster focuses on three general themes:

  • The political, legal, ethical and institutional contexts of health and social care—looking at areas such as professionals and professionalism, regulation and compliance, human rights, safeguarding, approaches to the reform of the health, social care and welfare systems, the relationship between practice and judgements, spirituality and virtues
  • Care—particularly around chronic conditions and informal care within families, care in typical settings (care homes, own home, hospitals), as well as atypical settings (prisons and hostel accommodation) and the role of self-care and self-management;
  • Marginalised communities in health and social care—particularly in relation to ethnicity, mental health (including people with dementia), disability, sexuality, self-neglect, homelessness, prisons

The Cluster provides a forum for members to exchange ideas, share information and support one another's research through collaboration and peer review, and acts as a catalyst for funding, outputs and impact.

Dr Jane Marriott is working on constitutional rights to healthcare, human rights in care settings and older person abuse.

Karl Mason has been working with the Local Government Association (LGA) and the charity Research in Practice (Dartington Trust) in relation to Safeguarding Adults and Discriminatory Abuse policy and practice. Having been invited to join an advisory group consisting of national safeguarding adults board managers and chairs, he has co-authored a literature review on the subject, has written a briefing for practitioners ​and a webinar for the LGA and ​delivered three knowledge exchange workshops​, a blog ​and a podcast for RIP in June/July 2022.  ​He is currently working with academics in Bournemouth University to develop a bid to fund future work in this area.

Recent research, led by Prof Frank Keating, found that socially oriented recovery from mental ill-health was for men from African and Caribbean backgrounds bound up in intersecting questions of identity. More information about the study is available here.

Dr Serena Wright has worked as a co-investigator on a project funded by the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness, which critically explored ideas of trauma-informed care and practice and 'healthy' prisons for women. She was also part of a study led by Dr Emily Glorney and funded by The Disabilities Trust, which evaluated a Linkworker service for women with traumatic/acquired brain injury at HMP Drake Hall. Her most recent project was a longitudinal follow-up of 147 men and women serving life imprisonment for murder from a young age in England and Wales. The original study, undertaken in 2013/14, was published as a co-authored monograph entitled 'Life Imprisonment from Young Adulthood: Adaptation, Trauma and Time' (2020, Palgrave Macmillan).

Professor Robert Jago, Dr Anna van der Gaag CBE, Professor Kostas Stathis, Dr Ivan Petaj, Dr Piyawat Lertvittayakumjorn, Yamuna Krishnamurthy, Dr Juan Caceres Silva and Dr Michelle Webster conducted an investigation into the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to support regulatory decision making in complaints about nurses in the US, UK and Australia. This work also involved Professor Zubin Austin (University of Toronto) and Professor Ann Gallagher (University of Exeter). This project was funded by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and developed a prototype of an AI tool that if used by the regulators could improve the quality and consistency of decision-making in nurse regulation nationally and internationally.

Dr Niina Manninen has recently been studying Finland-based social care students’ moral virtues and how these are often intertwined with ethical dimensions of their religious beliefs. Further, she studied these students’ views on social justice to develop a related research-informed pedagogical model. These studies have been presented at international Association for Moral Education conferences. 

Dr Rich Moth has been involved in several recent research projects related to social work, mental health and welfare policy/provision. He was part of a team studying the impact of austerity and welfare state transformation on access to mental health services and the benefits system in England (2016 – 2019) (see This was funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (H2020). He was also involved in a comparative study of the impact of neoliberal policy reform on social work practice in Switzerland and England funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (2017-2020).  He is currently lead researcher on a follow-up to the H2020 study: Mental Distress and Welfare State Transformation: Social Harms in the Mental Health and Benefits System, which critically examines the implications of the increasing integration of an active labour market policy agenda within statutory mental health services.

Karl Mason's research on discriminatory abuse, built on engagement with local government and voluntary organisations and included a blog and a podcast for the charity Research in Practice and a report for the Local Government Association. This led to delivering a number of workshops for practitioners across England to develop practice in the area of discriminatory abuse and safeguarding adults.  

In the Health and Social Care cluster, Professor Frank Keating's innovative research on improving the quality of life for people with dementia living in care homes through reminiscence arts practice has provided evidence that a service model developed by Age Exchange, a charity in South London, is effective in improving quality of life for people with dementia. This research has supported the further development of the service and its expansion nationally and internationally. Frank Keating's research on Black men and mental health has also had a significant impact on services such as the Centre for Excellence in Black and Minority Ethnic Mental Health with Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network and the St George's Mental Health Trust.

Finally, Professor Robert Jago has recently been appointed as associate editor of Nursing Ethics, the leading journal in nursing ethics.

1 February 2023: research seminar with JJ Nadicksbernd

22 March 2023: research seminar with Dr Niina Manninen and Stefan Brown

17 May 2023: Sandpit event on research synergies and funding

This event bought together researchers from different disciplines to identify and discuss possible interdisciplinary research projects that would support a future application for funding bids via the Health and Social Care research cluster.


14 June 2023: Mini-Conference: Creative Methods in Health and Social Care Research

This conference focused on creative research methods, novel approaches to data collection, and participatory research practices, with presentations from:

- Professor Frank Keating: ‘Photovoice: Methodology and Application’

- Alix Walton: ‘Photography and Researching Organisational Practices in Social Work’

- Professor Dawn Watling: ‘Unlocking the Link between Nature Connectedness and Wellbeing’

- Dr Chris Waller (London South Bank University): ‘Mobile and Sensory Methods in a Men’s Local Prison’

- Dr Caterina Nirta: ‘Ideas for Ethnographic Designs’

- Dr Louise O’Connor: ‘Capturing Everyday Emotions and Reflections: Solicited Diaries in Ethnographic Research’

- Karl Mason: ‘Story Completion Methods in a Discriminatory Abuse Study'

The presentations were followed by a discussion of ‘Emerging Health and Social Care Plans’, drawing on the Cluster’s sandpit event on 17 May 2023, as well as a plenary discussion titled ‘Gimmick or Gold? Creative Methods in Health and Social Care Research’ led by Dr Jane Marriott.

Abdullah Al-Anezi:

Alison Benjamin:

Stefan Brown:

Anna Pathé-Smith: Pregnancy, positivity and the law: How are pregnant women conceptualised in law and society?

Karl Mason: How does homelessness impact on the experience of having care needs: what do adults with experience of homelessness and care needs say about these experiences?

Khadijah Naeem:

Taryn-Leigh Padmore: Security and trust in the use of Health apps for asthma

Ubaid Rehman: Socioeconomic and culture factors in suicide of Pakistani diaspora in England

Natalia Sali: The impact of migration on migrants’ mental health and emotional wellbeing: A Case study of 25 Filipino migrants in the UK

Lucy Skingle: An exploration of experience and understanding

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