Dr Kathy Boxall
Lecturer in Social Work (BSc, MA (Econ), CQSW, Cert Ed, PhD)
Room: Elmfield, LG17 | Telephone: 0114 222 6413 (external), 26413 (internal)
I joined the Department of Sociological Studies in March 2005 having taught for a number of years in other colleges and universities. Most of my teaching and research has been in the area of learning disability. I've also worked alongside people with learning difficulties in self-advocacy groups, social care and social work settings and have experience as an independent (citizen) advocate. In my current post as a Lecturer in Social Work I teach and supervise research in the area of disability.
I am also a Board Member and Trustee for CHANGE, a national (UK) organisation campaigning for equal rights for people with learning disabilities.
My research interests fall in to four main areas:
- The social model of disability and people with learning difficulties
- The social construction of the ‘learning disability’ category and its implications for children and adults with learning difficulties
- Participatory research methodologies and the production of knowledge about ‘learning disability'
- Social model discussion and marginalised groups
I have a longstanding interest in participatory research methodologies and have used these approaches in my own work with people with learning difficulties since the early 1990s.
My research is underpinned by social model analysis and standpoint epistemologies. The central methodological question I explore is: How can people with intellectual disabilities be supported to be producers and knowers of their own knowledges? However, my primary focus is not the ‘support needs’ of researchers with intellectual disabilities: I work within a social model paradigm which locates problems in the dominant epistemology and exclusionary research practices of the academy, rather than in the individual ‘deficit’ of people identified as having intellectual disabilities. My research is concerned therefore with the challenges which researchers or 'knowers' with intellectual disabilities present to the academy and the status of the knowledges they produce; as well as with what it means to know about being an intellectually disabled person in our society.
I am also interested in similarities between the experiences of people with learning difficulties and other groups marginalised within social model discussion – for example, mental health service users and people with cystic fibrosis.
|Funded Research Projects|
|2011||University of Sheffield, Department of Sociological Studies Research Development Fund||Service user projects and research ethics|
|2010-2011||Hong Kong Baptist University||Employment enhancement measures and social quality of people with Down Syndrome, FRG1/09-10/060.
Dr Sam Yu (Hong Kong Baptist University) and Dr Kathy Boxall (University of Sheffield).
|2006-2009||University of Sheffield, Learning and Teaching Development Grant Scheme||Service User Involvement in Research for Policy and Practice: evaluation of project where service users, undergraduate students and university tutors worked in the same classroom learning from each other about how to do research together.
|2006-2007||ESRC Seminar Series||Service User Agendas in Research; Emancipatory and Inclusive Paradigms: funding to develop an accessible forum in which learning disabled people can engage with the academic community of researchers working in this area.
This seminar series was developed in response to learning disabled researchers' concerns about their exclusion from academic debate. It aimed to provide an accessible forum for dialogue between learning disabled researchers and university researchers.
|2004-2006||ESRC Research Methods Programme||Partnership Research: Negotiating User Involvement in Research Design.
I currently teach both undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Department of Sociological Studies.
Over the years, I’ve taught at a variety of different levels ranging from adult education classes for students with learning difficulties through to research training for PhD students and new researchers. I believe that all of us can experience ‘learning difficulties’ from time to time. One of the biggest difficulties we may face is anxiety about failure, or fearing that we are ‘not good enough’, sometimes to the extent that this ‘blocks’ our ability to learn. My aim is to create learning environments (at whatever level) which minimise this sort of anxiety so that students feel able to contribute to classroom discussions and debates and to challenge and question beliefs about ‘academic knowledge’. To this end, my approach is to explain and ‘demystify’ academic conventions and to present ideas and critiques as clearly and as accessibly as possible. I am also committed to using resources produced by people on the receiving end of social care services and, where possible, to teaching jointly with service users.
However, I don’t view teaching as a one-way process. I expect students to be independent, self-motivating learners who read widely and contribute to classroom debate. The areas I teach are grounded in the everyday experiences of service users, social workers and others. My hope is that, in classroom discussions, students will share the knowledge and wisdom of their everyday lives and working practices, making links between personal/professional experience, research findings and wider theoretical and policy debates.
I convene the following undergraduate and postgraduate modules:
- SCS357 Practitioner Development
- SCS3008 Learning Disability Policy and Practice
- SCS6140 Dissertation
I am also involved in the supervision of students’ extended essays and dissertations on the following undergraduate and postgraduate modules:
- SCS356 Safeguarding Adults and Children
- SCS6140 MA Social Work Dissertation
- SCS633 MA Dissertation in Professional Practice with Children and their Families
See our Undergraduate Degree pages.
I have supervised three PhD students to successful completion, all of whom undertook research in disability related areas. I am currently supervising five further PhD students exploring the following areas:
- Public participation in Primary Care Trusts
- Motherhood and mental health
- Attitudes towards impairment and disability
- British volunteering
- The relationship between disabled Christians and their churches (with David Chalcraft, Biblical Studies).
From September 2012, I will also be co-supervising an ESRC-funded White Rose DTC studentship exploring social work and parents with learning disabilities with Dr Angharad Beckett, University of Leeds.
I welcome applications to study for MPhil or PhD research degrees, either full or part time, and would be particularly interested in hearing from applicants who wish to undertake participatory research with people with learning difficulties.
To find out more about our PhD programmes, go to:
Publications since 2005
Jill Edwards and Kathy Boxall, (forthcoming 2012) Living a ‘normal life’? Formal and informal supports in the lives of adults with cystic fibrosis, Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research.
Kathy Boxall and Peter Beresford (2012) Service User Research in Social Work and Disability Studies in the UK, Disability & Society
Peter Beresford and Kathy Boxall (2012) Service Users, Social Work Education and Knowledge for Social Work Practice, Social Work Education, 31(2), pp154–166.
Kathy Boxall (2011) Review of Levinson, J. (2010) Making Life Work: Freedom and Disability in a Community Group Home, British Journal of Social Work, 41 (2), pp401-402, DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bcr020
Joe Smeeton and Kathy Boxall (2011) Birth parents' perceptions of professional practice in child care and adoption proceedings: implications for practice, Child & Family Social Work, 16(4), pp444-53. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2011.00759.x
Kathy Boxall and Sue Ralph (2011) Research ethics committees and the benefits of involving people with profound and multiple learning disabilities in research, British Journal of Learning Disabilities, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp173-180. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-3156.2010.00645.x
Jill Edwards and Kathy Boxall (2010) 'Adults with Cystic Fibrosis and Barriers to Employment', Disability and Society, Vol. 25, No. 4, pp 441 - 453. DOI: 10.1080/09687591003755831
Daniel Docherty, Richard Hughes, Patricia Phillips, David Corbett, Brendan Regan, Andrew Barber, Michael Adams, Kathy Boxall, Ian Kaplan, Shayma Izzidien (2010) ‘This is What We Think’, in Lennard Davis (Ed) The Disability Studies Reader (Third Edition), New York, Routledge, pp 432-440.
Kathy Boxall, Steve Dowson and Peter Beresford (2009) 'Selling individual budgets, choice and control: local and global influences on UK social care policy for people with learning difficulties', Policy & Politics, Vol.37, No.4, pp 499-515. DOI: 10.1332/030557309X445609
Lorna Warren and Kathy Boxall (2009) 'Service Users In and Out of the Academy: Collusion in Exclusion?', Social Work Education, Vol.28, No.3, pp281-297. DOI: 10.1080/02615470802659464
Kathy Boxall and Sue Ralph (2009) 'Research ethics and the use of visual images in research with people with intellectual disabilities', Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability (Australia), Vol 34, Issue 1, pp45-54. DOI: 10.1080/13668250802688306
Kathy Boxall and Speakup Self-advocacy and Eastwood Action Group (2009) 'Learning Disability', in Patricia Higham (Ed) Post-qualifying Social Work Practice, London, Sage, pp103-121
Alison Sheldon, Rannveig Traustadóttir, Peter Beresford, Kathy Boxall and Mike Oliver (2007) 'Disability Rights and Wrongs?' (Review article), Disability & Society, Vol.22, No.2, pp209-234.
David Race, Kathy Boxall and Iain Carson (2005) 'Towards a dialogue for practice: reconciling Social Role Valorization and the Social Model of Disability, Disability and Society, Vol.20, No.5, pp507-521.
Daniel Docherty, Richard Hughes, Patricia Phillips, David Corbett, Brendan Regan, Andrew Barber, Michael Adams, Kathy Boxall, Ian Kaplan, Shayma Izzidien (2005) ‘This is What We Think’, in Dan Goodley and Geert Van Hove, G. (Eds) Another Disability Reader? Including people with learning difficulties, Antwerp, Garant Publishers.
Sue Ralph and Kathy Boxall, (2005) 'Visible images of disabled students: an analysis of UK university publicity materials', Teaching in Higher Education, Vol.10, No.3, pp371-385.
A full list of publications can be downloaded by clicking the link on the right of this page.