I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). My current teaching is around policy development. I have broader teaching interests is residential child care, ethics and social work theory and a particular interest in professional education.
I was a practitioner and manager in residential child care settings for almost 20 years before entering academia. My first academic post was at the University of Strathclyde, where I set up and taught a Masters programme in residential child care. In 2005, I moved to the University of Edinburgh as lecturer, and subsequently, senior lecturer, in social work. I served as head of social work there from 2013 - 2017. I joined the University of Dundee as Professor of Social Work in 2017.
I have a broad range of research and writing interests. I have published three books on residential child care and an edited volume on moral panics. An edited text (with Viv Cree), 'Social Work in a Changing Scotland' was published early in 2018. My research interests lie in the areas of care and upbringing, social pedagogy, social work ethics and theorising social work. I have a particular current interest in historical abuse in residential child care.
I would be interested in supervising PhDs in any of the above areas, or more broadly, through negotiation.
Introduction. in M Smith & VE Cree (eds), Social Work in a Changing World. Student Social Work, Routledge, Abingdon.
Ethics for Social Work. in VE Cree & M Smith (eds), Social Work in a Changing Scotland. Student Social Work, Routledge, Abingdon.
'The emotional labour of austerity. How social workers reflect and work on their feelings towards reducing support to needy children and families' British Journal of Social Work. DOI:
'The origins of the Jimmy Savile scandal' International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 38, no. 1/2, pp. 26-40. DOI:
Social Work in Scotland. in J Harris & V White (eds), A Dictionary of Social Work and Social Care. 2 edn, Oxford University Press, United Kingdom. DOI:
'Creating spaces for change: engaging civil society to harness change in criminal justice practice' European Journal of Probation, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 231-247. DOI:
'From attachment to recognition for children in care' British Journal of Social Work, vol. 47, no. 6, pp. 1606-1623. DOI:
'Moral panics and social work: A response to David Pilgrim' Critical and Radical Social Work, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 223-229. DOI:
'Social Suffering: changing organisational culture in children and families social work through critical reflection groups- insights from Bourdieu' British Journal of Social Work, vol. 47, no. 4, pp. 973-988. DOI:
Standing up to Complexity: Researching Moral Panics in Social Work. in W Lorenz & I Shaw (eds), Private Troubles or Public Issues?: Challenges for Social Work Research. Routledge, London.
Residential childcare in faith-based institutions. in BR Crisp (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Religion, Spirituality and Social Work. Routledge International Handbooks, Routledge, Abingdon.
'A cautionary tale regarding ‘believing’ allegations of historical child abuse' Ethics and Social Welfare, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 62-76. DOI:
Rethinking Criminal Justice in Scotland. in S Barrow & M Small (eds), Scotland 2021. Bella Caledonia/Ekklesia, Edinburgh, pp. 161-166.
Professional identity in the care and upbringing of children: towards a praxis of residential child care. in SA Webb (ed.), Professional Identity and Social Work. 1 edn, Routledge, United Kingdom.
'Sexuality, innocence and agency in narratives of childhood sexual abuse: implications for social work' British Journal of Social Work, vol. 46, no. 8, pp. 2173-2189. DOI:
'Editorial' International Journal of Social Pedagogy, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 1-5. DOI:
'Critical reflection workshops and knowledge exchange: findings from a Scottish project' Child and Family Social Work, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 548-556. DOI:
Telling Stories? Adults' Retrospective Narratives of Abuse in Residential Child Care. in R Burnett (ed.), Wrongful Allegations of Sexual and Child Abuse. Oxford University Press, United Kingdom.
'The Role of Practitioner Research In Developing Cultures of Learning In Children and Families Social Work' Practice: Social Work in Action, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 181-197. DOI:
'Towards a theory of upbringing in foster care in Europe' European Journal of Social Work, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 152-170. DOI:
'Editorial' Ethics and Social Welfare, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 193-196. DOI:
'Standing up to Complexity: Researching Moral Panics in Social Work' European Journal of Social Work, vol. 19, no. 3-4, pp. 354-367. DOI:
'Something lost along the way: changing patterns of leadership in Scottish residential schools' Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 1-16.
Preface. in VE Cree, G Clapton & M Smith (eds), Revisiting Moral Panics. Moral Panics in Theory and Practice, Policy Press, Bristol, pp. xi-xvi.
Moral panics and beyond. in VE Cree, G Clapton & M Smith (eds), Revisiting Moral Panics. Moral Panics in Theory and Practice, Policy Press, Bristol, pp. 261-269.
'Therapeutic Residential Care for Children and Youth: developing evidence-based international practice' British Journal of Social Work, vol. 45, no. 3, pp. 1073-1076. DOI:
'Social Work and Pornography: some ethical considerations' Ethics and Social Welfare, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 317-331. DOI:
'The Presentation of Child Trafficking in the UK: an old and new moral panic' British Journal of Social Work, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 418-433. DOI:
'Moral Panics, Jimmy Savile and Social Work: a 21st century morality tale' no. 4.
'Forgotten connections: reviving the concept of upbringing in Scottish child welfare' Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 13-29.
'Moral Panics, Claims-Making and Child Protection in the UK' British Journal of Social Work, vol. 43, no. 4, pp. 803-812. DOI:
'Moral Panics and Social Work: towards a sceptical view of UK child protection' Critical Social Policy, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 197-217. DOI:
'‘It's What Gets Through People's Radars Isn't It’: relationships in social work practice and knowledge exchange' Contemporary Social Science, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 292-306. DOI:
'Supporting children’s upbringing: connecting across the generations' Relational Child and Youth Care Practice, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 16-22.
'Engaging with Involuntary Service Users in Social Work: findings from a knowledge exchange project' British Journal of Social Work, vol. 42, no. 8, pp. 1460-1477. DOI:
'A Collaborative Approach to Defining the Usefulness of Impact: lessons from a knowledge exchange project involving academics and social work practitioners' Evidence & Policy, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 311-327. DOI:
'Children and Families' Involvement in Social Work Decision Making' Children & Society, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 74-85. DOI:
'Social Pedagogy from a Scottish Perspective' International Journal of Social Pedagogy, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 46-55.
'Time to be Heard: the Scottish Government and the Construction of a Myth of Historical Sexual Abuse' Scottish Affairs, vol. 78, no. Winter, pp. 1-24.
'Reading Bauman for Social Work' Ethics and Social Welfare, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 2-17. DOI:
'Engaging with families in child protection: lessons from practitioner research in Scotland' Child Welfare, vol. 90, no. 4, pp. 117-134.
'Victim Narratives of Historical Abuse in Residential Child Care: Do we really know what we think we know?' Qualitative Social Work, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 303-320. DOI:
Gender in Residential Child Care. in B Featherstone, C-A Hooper, J Scourfield & J Taylor (eds), Gender and Child Welfare in Society. John Wiley & Sons Inc., Chichester, pp. 247-273. DOI:
'A brief history of (residential child care) ethics' Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care, vol. 9/2, pp. 2-10.
Camphill Schools in the context of Scottish residential child care. in R Jackson (ed.), Focus on Camphill: new perspectives, research . Floris Books, Edinburgh, pp. 136-154.
'Social work as social education' European Journal of Social Education, vol. 16/17, pp. 229-239.
Educational Outcomes and Social Justice in Scottish Residential Care. in SA Moore & RC Mitchell (eds), Power, Pedagogy and Praxis. Critical Issues in the Future of Learning and Teaching, no. 1, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, pp. 219-233.
'Historical abuse in residential child care: an alternative view' Practice: Social Work in Action, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 29-41. DOI:
'Social Education and Social Pedagogy: reclaiming a Scottish tradition in social work' European Journal of Social Work, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 15-28. DOI:
'Redox metals and oxidative abnormalities in human prion diseases' Acta Neuropathologica, vol. 110, no. 3, pp. 232-238. DOI: