Posts Tagged disability

Rie Debabrata: M.A Social and Economic Development (1998), Ph.D. Sociology (2002)



I would like to thank Ken Plummer for inviting me to share my memories of Essex. I was Ken’s Teaching Assistant in 1998-1999 and 2000-2001, and to say that I was completely blown away by the vitality and incredible lucidity of his lectures – would be such an understatement. Listening to him (SOC 101: Introduction to Sociology) made me wish that I had learned from him as an undergraduate.

Besides Ken, some of the inspiring professors that I had the privilege to study and interact with, both during my Masters, and later PhD, were — Miriam Glucksmann (my PhD supervisor), Ted Benton, Lydia Morris (PhD examiner), Pam Cox, Jane Hindley, to name a few.

I came to Essex in 1997 to pursue a MA in Social and Economic Development (an inter-disciplinary course between the Departments of Sociology and Economics), which I understand is no longer offered. I had graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor’s degree in Economic (Honours) from the University of Delhi, India, but had chosen to pursue the inter-disciplinary course at Essex mainly because I had always been fascinated by Sociology (knew very little about it, though). It was also because at the end of my 3-year bachelor’s degree, I could not visualize myself pursuing a career in Economics. I had found it to be very econometric-centred, something that did not sit well with me. I was interested in Development Economics – or as my late-grandfather used to put it – the kind of economics that Amartya Sen (a fellow-Bengali and an acquaintance of my grandfather’s) teaches. The fact that Essex offered a course that combined both Development Economics and Sociology seemed like a win-win.

The academic environment at Essex was so vibrant – there we so many lectures, seminars and colloquiums to attend, constantly expanding one’s intellectual horizons. Up until then, I had mainly studied within the Indian academic system (except for a brief stint at the University of California, Berkeley, where I took a course on Women’s Studies). The Indian educational system places a premium on learning by rote (it still does, although changes are afoot), and I do not recall being encouraged or trained to critique the material in any way. Lectures were often a one-sided affair, with students memorizing the lectures/notes and readings, and there was very little space for genuine debate or reflection. Learning by rote was something that I was quite good at during my school years, but I simply could not sustain that by the time I entered University for my undergraduate degree. So much of what I was studying either did not make sense to me, or seemed at odds with my politics – and yet there was no avenue for expressing that. As a result, I retreated and did not engage with the material or attempt to genuinely learn from it. By the time I had arrived at Essex, therefore, I was craving an interactive and intellectually stimulating environment. And my, did Essex deliver!

Even though I was new to Sociology, I did not feel like an outsider for too long. I encountered a department full of professors, administrators (Brenda Corti, Helen Hannick, Diane Allison, Mary Girling, Sue Aylott) and peers that were unfailingly warm, accommodating and engaging. As a result, I developed some wonderful friendships, some of which continue till today, despite the distance.

Some snapshots from my time at Essex:

–        Introductory conference for new students, followed by a welcome dinner at Wivenhoe’s Tandoori Hut: a first glimpse into a fiercely talented and charmingly quirky community that was going to be home for the next, almost 4 years.

–        Lecture by George Ritzer on ‘McDonaldization’: a very engaging discourse on a fascinating concept, which was followed by Ted Benton’s equally incisive query along the lines of “where/how does class fit into all of this?” It confirmed Ted’s status as one of my intellectual heroes!

–        Fuller Scholarship: I was grinning like a Cheshire cat (for what felt like days) when I received news of having been awarded the scholarship. This ensured that I would stay on at Essex for my PhD. I can still recall Tony Woodiwiss’ (then HOD) warm smile as he informed me of the Department’s decision and congratulated me.

–        Mentorship and guidance: I was never more convinced that I had chosen the right PhD supervisor in Miriam, than when I would receive very pragmatic and consistently supportive messages from her while in the midst of my field research – this was a challenging year spent travelling to remote villages and towns in India. Miriam also did not hold back on her criticism, as she did when she quite bluntly warned me that I would not complete my PhD if I took a break during my third-year to commence a consultancy with the United Nations. While I was initially taken aback (Miriam later gleefully confided that she had overdone it a bit to ensure that I would listen!), it did force me to refocus my priorities and to persuade my future employers to wait until I had submitted my thesis.

–        ‘Ruth Cavendish’: I have always been terribly impressed by the fact that Miriam, as the pseudonymous Ruth Cavendish, wrote “Women on the Assembly Line” – a groundbreaking ethnographic study. I recall having mentioned this several years later to my husband, Bernard (we were newly dating then), and even though he’s a political scientist, he knew of this study – needless to say, he scored big points.

Before arriving at Essex, I had worked with several civil society organisations and NGOs including the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (which provides micro-credit loans to rural women). I grew up within the ‘NGO-world’ in many ways, owing in a large part to my parents’ political and social activism in India.

After leaving Essex, I worked (very briefly) with the Asian Development Bank (posted in Manila, Philippines), and then with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), where I have been since 2002. My work with UNDP has taken me to some exciting destinations – I was in Lao PDR for 2.5 years as the Assistant Country Director (I headed a team that worked on poverty eradication, HIV/AIDS prevention, gender empowerment, private sector development, and UNDP’s flagship ‘Human Development Report’). I also worked with UNDP’s regional programme on HIV/AIDS for South and Northeast Asia, specializing in anti-trafficking and migration issues. I have been posted in New York since 2006, where I am currently working as Donor Relations Adviser with UNDP’s External Relations Bureau. My team works on resource mobilization and maintaining partnerships with a variety of actors, including ‘donors’ to UNDP, such as the Nordic countries, Canada, UK, US, Australia, etc. A career with the UN certainly has its ups and downs. While it is hugely satisfying professionally, the pace of work and constant pressure to travel does take a toll on family life. Bernard and I have a young daughter and we find ourselves, as do many others, constantly trying to find that elusive work-life ‘balance’!

Looking back, I can quite confidently say that being at Essex was in so many ways a life-changing experience. I could not have asked for a better intellectual ‘home’. Even though I have not pursued an academic career since completing my PhD, the training that I have received here has held me in good stead!

Dr. Rie Debabrata Tamas

Donor Relations Adviser, Resources Partnerships Cluster, Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy,
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), One United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017

Photo: Miriam Glucksmann with Rie Debabrata Tamas (6 months pregnant!) and Bernard Debabrata Tamas in New York, October 2009

Rie and Miriam

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

John Veit-Wilson (1964-1967)


John Veit-Wilson is Emeritus Professor of Social Policy of Northumbria University and Visiting Professor in Sociology at Newcastle University.  He was one of the original ‘poverty researchers’ employed in the foundation year of the university (1964).  He has sustained a life-long interest in concepts, theories and measures of poverty, their uses and their histories, extending it to issues of human rights  to incomes adequate for social inclusion. He writes:

In September 1964 I was appointed a research officer in the just-opening Essex sociology department, working on the national survey of poverty under Peter Townsend at Essex and Brian Abel-Smith at LSE. It was a joint project, even if Peter’s name is inseparably associated with it; Brian later dropped out of the joint project when it became incompatible with his other activities. I’d been working in London in various jobs, management training and business services for five years, after a postgraduate degree in Stockholm, and so until we found a house in Colchester and sold ours in London I worked in one of LSE’s offshoot buildings (Skepper House near UCL). I also had the use of an office in one of the wooden prefab huts behind Wivenhoe House. We moved to Colchester in early summer 1965, by which time sociology had moved into the new concrete buildings, and I shared an office with Joan Busfield, who had just arrived…

I focused on the research project and didn’t have any teaching responsibilities. During the months I was still in London and working at LSE, I worked with Hilary Land on the intensive qualitative pilot study of large families, which she continued. When I got to Essex I worked on the study of long-term sick and disabled men and their families as my sole project. Dennis Marsden was studying single mothers and Adrian Sinfield had already written on his study of unemployed men and their families. The aim was for the first time to generate fruitful ideas about what people who were themselves experiencing situations in which poverty is a risk when other compensating resources are deficient, saw as the necessities and the deprivations of ordinary lives. From these ideas the team then developed new approaches to poverty, both conceptually in terms of the public rather than the expert perspective on what it meant, and also methodologically. It was the findings of these studies that suggested the key indicators of what deprivation was in the UK at that time as perceived by the public. In the light of subsequent argument about ‘who dreamt them up’ it’s important to re-emphasise their foundations in empirical research.

My contract as a research officer was specified as three years from the outset, so it was naturally expected to terminate in August 1967. By then the pilot projects had been completed and the team was drawing conclusions from them and planning the next, national, stage of the research. At that point the Rowntree funding did not cover as many staff and so my contract was not extended. Hilary (at LSE) and Dennis continued, and Adrian was already lecturing anyway. With a wife and three young children to support I had to take the first permanent teaching job I was offered, which turned out to be at what later became Newcastle Polytechnic. I worked there for 25 years and was head of the sociology group (about 16 people) from 1974 to 1987. I’ve been at Newcastle University  in various honorary or research positions since taking early retirement from the Poly (now called Northumbria University) in 1992.

As my first degree was in economics and social anthropology and with a masters’ degree (equivalent) in Swedish social policy, there was a tremendous amount of sociology for me to learn, and immersion in the busy intellectual life of the Essex sociology department certainly affected my life and career greatly thereafter. Peter sent me on the first BSA summer school for postgraduate students and new researchers, at Exeter University in the summer of 1965, which also taught me a lot. Colin Bell was a fellow student. He was a graduate student at Swansea at the time, I believe, but with some connection to the Banbury project I seem to recall. Essex was a small and very friendly and welcoming department while I was there, and I and my family had a lot of help in settling in from people like Ernest and Fiona Rudd. Ioan Davies’s partner found us an au pair (Eva Riekert with whom we are still in friendly contact) in an emergency when our third child was about to be born.

There’s one correction I should make, though, and that’s to the entry about Dennis Marsden, a lifelong friend from those times. He wasn’t appointed a year after the university opened but only four months later. He and I used to joke about the fact that I’d been appointed from 1 September 1964 and was therefore eligible for the additional allowance for staff children then paid by all universities. That allowance was abolished from the end of 1964; so when Dennis took up his post on New Year’s Day 1965 he did not get it for his children. All three research officers on the poverty team (Hilary, Dennis, me) were offered their appointments during 1964 and Dennis was the last to be able to take up the post. Michael Meacher was also a researcher in the department at this time, and was just developing his political interests — he fought the 1966 election in Colchester as an apprentice no-hope Labour candidate before being selected for Oldham. He’d already gone to York by the time I left Colchester in September 1967.

The work of the poverty research team and what I learnt at Essex made an enormous contribution to my entire subsequent career in poverty theory and method, as can be seen on my personal website ( It includes a rehabilitation of the pre-Townsendian theoretical work of the poverty research pioneer Seebohm Rowntree. That was followed by three archive studies: the Beveridge Committee’s covert assumptions about benefit levels (they recommended less-eligibility not adequacy); the only government in-house study of National Assistance (in)adequacy ever carried out (kept secret and firmly denied as even feasible ever since); and the absence of any conceptual justification for the level of the personal tax allowance.  My cross-national work in the early 1990s led to the development of the concept of Governmental Minimum Income Standards. It was not surprisingly rejected by government but a version of it is now widely accepted as an empirically justified basis for setting the living wage. And at a practical policy level, I accompanied Brian Abel-Smith who was speaking about the findings of Peter’s and his research (published as The Poor and the Poorest, 1965) to the meeting called by Quakers concerned about poverty at Toynbee Hall in March 1965. The participants decided to take action and set up what became the Child Poverty Action Group. I wrote its first policy paper and have been actively involved with it for most of the subsequent half-century, most recently as a trustee and vice-chair. And it could be said I owe all that to my Essex experiences in 1964-67.


John’s achievements and activities in recent years have included election as an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences and Honorary Fellow of the Joint University Council. He has held visiting professorships at the universities of Bremen and ELTE, Budapest, and numerous visiting scholar positions in other countries, including a Research Fellowship at the Hanse Institute for Advanced Studies, Delmenhorst, Germany 2008-09. He is consultant both to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation research programme on ‘Money Matters’ as well as member of advisory groups on  Minimum Income Standards and other projects, and to the Technical University of Lisbon’s research programme on Minimum Income Standards for Portugal. Journals in Greece and Korea have included him as an adviser, and his work has been translated into German, Greek, Polish and Russian. He has translated two social policy books from German, on poverty concepts and research and on European Foundations of the Welfare State, as well as from Swedish, the Social Democratic Party’s statement of Principles and Values.

, , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Victoria Veale (formerly Samuel), BA 2008

VictoriaVealeI graduated from Essex in 2008 with a 2:1 BA in Sociology and Media Studies. I really loved my time at Essex as an undergraduate. I moved to Suffolk in 2009. I got married back in 2011, hence the name change!

In 2010 I started I became a support worker supporting people with learning difficulties in their own homes. I also worked with children at a play scheme with children with learning difficulties. In 2012 I started to work for Suffolk Social Services as a Community Care Practitioner.

Among my interests are Sociology (of course!), social care, working in the community, politics, journalism (was part of the rabbit newspaper when at Essex). Social care and work around that, interests me greatly and disability equality is a big part of that interest.

, , ,

Leave a comment

Pauline Morris, PhD 1968

Pauline Morris: The first ever Ph.D was awarded in 1968

The first Ph.D. on Sociology at Essex was awarded to Pauline Morris in 1968, four years after the department opened. It is likely that she was supervised by Peter Townsend. Pauline Morris was at that time married to Terrence Morris, the criminologist at the London School of Economics. Pauline became Head of the Department of Sociology at South Bank around 1970; and chair of the board of examiners of the B.Sc. London External. She died in the mid 1970’s.

The book  has recently been republished by Aldine and the blurb says:

This classic book allows its readers for the first time to comprehend the size, organization, staffing and operation of a national system of hospitals and residential services for the subnormal. It also allows for the first time, reliable estimates to be given of the scale and severity of certain problems. The basis has been laid for an evaluation of the effectiveness of hospitals for the subnormal. All this has been made possible by a generous grant from the National Society for Mentally Handicapped Children to the Department of Sociology in the University of Essex upon the foundation of the University. Of course, a great deal of further research remains to be done but a preliminary network of information is now available to all those deeply concerned about the handicapped.

This is a study of the range and quality of institutional provisions made in England and Wales for that group of handicapped individuals who are known as mentally deficient. Dr. Morris reports on an investigation, which covered nearly half the hospitals for the sub-normal in the country: many of its findings can only shock and dismay.

The investigation was concerned to discover what facilities-physical, occupational and educational-there was for patients, and to learn more about their social environment. It was also concerned to determine the extent to which both staff and patients are affected by their social environment, and by administrative action, and to learn something of the relationship between the hospital as an institution and the outside community, as well as between the patients and the outside world. In addition, it examined the extent to which the provisions and facilities available met the needs of the patients in relation to their physical and mental handicaps.

Pauline Morris was Principal Lecturer in Sociology at the Borough Polytechnic, London. She worked in the field of social research. After a period in California looking at the services for the mentally retarded, Dr. Morris went to the University of Essex.

Peter Townsend is professor of International Social Policy, at The Social Policy Department at the University of Essex. He is a senior fellow and emeritus professor of social policy at the School of Policy Studies at Bristol University. In 1999 he was elected founder Academician to the new Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences. He has written much in the areas of old age, poverty, health, and social policy’.

For a full list of PhDs and MPhils completed in the department, see Memories

, , , ,

Leave a comment

Chrissie Rogers, BA 1995, MA 1996, PhD 2004

Book cover image: 'Parenting and Inclusive Education'Image of Chrissie RogersI studied as both an undergraduate and graduate student at Essex –  graduating with my PhD (ESRC) in Sociology in 2004.

My research was with mothers and fathers who have children identified with ‘special educational needs’, which I subsequently published as a monograph for Palgrave in 2007 under the title of Parenting and Inclusive Education. I then secured an ESRC post-doctoral fellowship at Cambridge University in 2004.

Since leaving Essex, I went on to lecture at Keele and Brunel before moving to Anglia Ruskin as a director of PhD research and the Childhood and Youth Research Institute.  I joined Aston Sociology in September 2012.

I have continued to publish in the areas of mothering, disability and the sociology of education, but have also moved on to more theoretical research in the area of, for example, Being Human and ‘Inclusion’ and am currently writing a book entitled Intellectual Disability and Social Theory: Philosophical and Sociological Debates on Being Human for Routledge. I have also followed up on research within the area of relationships and intellectual disability and completed a qualitative pilot with young disabled people on discussing their relationships, friendships and leisure time, with Dr Tam Sanger.  More recently still, I co-edited a book, Critical Approaches to Care: understanding caring relations, identities and cultures, with Dr Susie Weller, and am interested in continuing to follow up research within a care ethics discourse. I have also published research papers in, for example, Sexualities, British Journal of Sociology of Education, Disability and Society and International Journal or Inclusive Education. I remain passionate about intellectual disability research and social justice from a sociological perspective and a personal position.

Some personal reflections on my time at Essex

Essex has had such a massive impact upon my life from making lifelong friends to meeting my husband and it spans from 1992-2005 (I did venture out for four years into the world of full time work after my MA, but came back for my PhD research). So many people had an influence on my life, both socially and academically. Unfortunately some are no longer with us, such as David Ford who spent many an evening with Gary Potter, Jose Lopez, Oonagh Corrigan, myself and others putting the world to rights – dodgy photos withheld! Of course it always started that way after a seminar or such like, but by the time we were under the podia and rather drunk our conversations may well be left just there – under the podia! Ian Craib on the other hand was there for academic encouragement as my BA and MA dissertation supervisor. He once said to me when I asked him about becoming a drama therapist, ‘Chrissie you seem happy enough, doing therapy will open up a can of worms that are sometimes best left in the can’. Needless to say I did not continue down that path, but his silences in supervision clearly worked for me. He may no longer be with us, but his reflections are alive and well and certain quotations of his will never die in my work. That reflection was largely about the MA days. But really my journey began in 1992 when Nigel South interviewed me for a place. I was sitting in the reading room waiting for my turn and one student walked past crying. ‘I said what’s wrong?’ she replied saying ‘I was asked about what’s going on in the news! – I didn’t know’. At that point I thought ‘okay I’m leading this interview’. Needless to say Nigel and I had a great conversation about my voluntary work at a young offenders unit! The autumn came and my bright eyed and bushy tailed ‘mature student’ – I was 24 so not very mature really – lone parent self arrived at Essex to Ken Plummer and his theatrical way of delivering sociology. I was hooked and embraced academia in every way possible, from loving every minute of engaging with sociology (except for SPSS in the second year!), being blown away when in an Enlightenment lecturer Joe Allard played the grand piano – I was mesmerised – and joining TAS (Theatre Arts Society). My early memories of making lifelong friends began in a seminar in my second year. Vanessa Longley and I had a row in the seminar about social class (well more of a debate really, but she infuriated me and I her) much to the bemusement of Carlo Ruzza who was trying to take control of the situation. But we had a chat in the reading room after that and our assumptions of each other were torn away. We went on to share a house for a year in her third year and my MA year. She is still one of my very few closest friends. We too had our connection in the fact that John Scott introduced us to his daughter, who at the time was still wondering about what degree to pursue. Susie Scott of course was clearly a budding sociologist before maybe she knew! In our introductions then to Susie, Vanessa was calm and measured; I was simply loud and let’s say less calm. We hoped that the combination worked and that at the very least I wouldn’t scare her in any way: clearly I didn’t: much. My undergraduate days were full of drama – quite literally treading the boards (mostly with Kerry Stagg a Literature student another close lifelong friend – who by the way was introduced, by me, down in the SU bar as I sung a rendition of ‘I will survive’ to her, rather inebriated),  juggling my family life and soaking up sociology. My MA year was a lot quieter and riddled with relationship crises, and daughter and her education issues and hard work. Still I maintained my sociological sense of self and left Essex to pursue work as a support worker in London. In that period away from Essex I travelled round the world (in part) with my then 10 year old daughter on my own, and a year later shaved my head bald (much to my daughter’s dismay) and cycled from Jaipur to Agra for charity! By 2000 though clearly it was time to come back to Essex and I was very fortunate to gain an ESRC PhD grant (after starting part time) for full time study. At this time those I met during my MA who were PhDs were finishing up and I began that research journey. I made good use of all those activities such as the graduate conference and Rowena was then well established and always was there to organise the fun and frivolity at times like these. I lost the time to tread the boards, but loved the research and academic buzz that this was enough. My PhD supervisor Pam Cox had two babies during my time, but still we got the PhD ‘baby’ out in just under four years! Along the way relationships came and went but along with the friendships that stayed (aside from those mentioned) were particularly with Catherine Theodosius, Catherine Will and Eamonn Carrabine. Eamonn used to hang out with some of us along with a few of the other academic staff and was a friend for three years before we became an item. We were married in 2005! Even since leaving, Sociology at Essex brings people together as I have become friends with other Essex ex-PhD students and am enjoying social times with Liz Carter and the crew! There are of course so many more people who have influenced my Essex journey and I can honestly say Essex Sociology has given me more than a sociological imagination!!

My links:

Contact me at:

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

Susie Scott, BA Sociology 1999, MA Sociology 2000

I first came to Essex in 1996, as a shy 18 year old in my gap year, with the intention of filling in time before starting a Psychology degree. As my Dad (John Scott) was teaching in the department, I started hanging out in the Resource Room, with Helen Hannick and the team of student volunteers. We helped students with study skills, proof reading essays, and general support and advice. Later   on, Rowena Macaulay arrived to replace Helen, and did an equally great job of building up the Resource Room and creating a student community. I had such a fantastic time there and made such wonderful friends (including fellow Essex Sociology alumni Chrissie Rogers, Paul Howell, Lynne Pettinger and Agnes Skamballis) that I decided I wanted to stay and become a sociologist instead! The department was a lovely place to be, with so many interesting people and warm, friendly staff – I felt instantly at home there. I’ll always remember the day I was coming home on the train and met Tony Woodiwiss, then Head of Department, who answered my tentative question of whether he thought there was a chance I could stay on with a wry smile and the words, “I should think that would be quite likely.”

So I studied at Essex as an undergraduate from 1996-1999 (BA Sociology) and then as a postgraduate from 1999-2000 (MA Sociology). Never looked back on that lost career as a psychologist, which I’m sure I would have sucked at. I loved every minute of my time at Essex and learned so much – I really think it was the perfect place to study Sociology, as everyone was so interested and passionate about both research and teaching.  After that, I moved to Cardiff to do my PhD (2000-2003) on ‘the sociology of shyness’, which then became my trademark topic. Then in 2004, after a period of research bits and pieces and increasingly desperate job-hunting, I somehow landed both an ESRC postdoctoral fellowship and a follow-on lectureship at Sussex University, where I have been ever since.

My research interests are in self-identity, interaction and everyday life, and Sussex has allowed me to indulge my love of Symbolic Interactionist theory and Goffman’s dramaturgy in my research and teaching.  I’ve carried on the shyness research through my book, Shyness and Society (Palgrave, 2007) and various articles about shyness as interactional deviance, as well as subsequent projects about lecturers’ experiences of performance anxiety, and the effects of new technologies/digital media upon shyness in contemporary art galleries. My second book, called Making Sense of Everyday Life (Polity, 2009) was about the rituals, routines and norms that shape mundane social activities, such as sleeping, eating and shopping. The other strand of my research is in the field of health and illness, where I have worked on projects about risk assessment in both cancer genetics and the contested mental health condition ‘Dangerous and Antisocial Personality Disorder’, as well as a critique of the medicalisation of shyness as Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Disorder. Reading Goffman’s famous study, Asylums, I became fascinated by the social worlds of total institutions (places where people spend 24 hours a day) and my third book, Total Institutions and Reinvented Identities (Palgrave 2011) was about how these had changed since Goffman’s time to be more about voluntary self-reinvention. More recently, I’ve done some random quirky projects about swimming pool behaviour and etiquette, and stage fright in performing artists. I am soon to begin a Leverhulme-funded study of asexual identities and practices of intimacy, with Matt Dawson (also ex-Essex) at the University of Glasgow. Finally, sticking with my Goffman/SI-obsession, the next book that I am working on is called Negotiating Identities, which has been a lot of fun to research and hopefully won’t be too painful to write. At least, I couldn’t have asked for a better foundation than having studied Sociology at Essex!

My links: I can be contacted at Sussex here:

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Faye Savage, BA 2009

Image of Faye Savage, BA 2009I currently work as Lived Experience Officer at ecdp, a disabled people’s user-led organisation in Essex.

The role involves some research, policy and comms, but I particularly enjoy working with disabled people to understand the issues which affect them and trying to create change using this ‘lived experience’.

I am interested in issues related to equality, and particularly disability.

My Links:

Twitter: @fayesavage

, ,

Leave a comment

Karen Waddy, BA (Hons) 2008

Karen Waddy, BA 2008I’m currently working as a Marketing Administrator at LIFE-FORCE Counselling Service, Colchester, and volunteering with the British Heart Foundation, as a shop worker for 2 hours each week. In addition Im always looking for ad hoc work locally.

After I graduated I couldn’t get a job as employers didn’t seem interested in a degree, they all wanted you to have ‘work experience’ (typical) but eventually I offered to work a few hours a week for free at a local counselling service, in the office (I didn’t want a big gap on my cv) and eventually I was offered a paid position (part time).

I actually got frustrated at the lack of office jobs around (all stuff for shop workers…and I’d never worked in a shop in my life!) so I also volunteered at The British Heart Foundation shop in town (my dad died of heart woes during my 2nd year at uni). I’ve gained a ton of work experience and am still volunteering every week as I love it in there!

The olympic focus on volunteers has gone some way to promoting volunteering but there’s always a danger of companies hoping for free labour. I’d given myself a deadline of 12 months ‘free work’ at 2 hours a week (so as not to put anyone else out of a job) so I was fortunate to have been offered a paid position before the year was up! It did mean I had to become self-employed though (which I wasn’t keen to do) but since then I’ve set up my own webpage (see ‘My Links’ below) offering ad-hoc paid work locally (I don’t drive) to fit around my current hours. I haven’t had much response as yet but you never know….!!

Sociologically I’m interested in women’s issues, health (including mental health), disability and gender issues, while my non-academic interests are family history, gardening, writing satire and holidays!

My Links:

, , , ,

Leave a comment