Professor Debbie Watson
B.Sc.(Ed) (Hons.) (Exon), Ph.D.(Exon.)
My research focuses on understanding and improving the lives of children and young people, particularly those in adverse circumstances such as poverty and maltreatment. I utilise creative and sociomaterial approaches to research.
- Digital Futures
Professor In Child and Family WelfareSchool for Policy Studies
I was previously a secondary school biology and science teacher and have taught trainee teachers, as well as students in Education Studies, Childhood Studies and Social Policy courses. I qualifed as a teacher at University of Exeter and subsequently taught in two Devon schools before gaining ESRC studentship funding for my PhD studies. My PhD was in Education and was a longitudinal study of 50 young people's learning careers with a focus on how young people construct and engage with scientific knowledge.
Since completing my PhD I was employed as a research assistant and teaching assistant at Exeter University- both in the School of Education and in Peninsula Medical School where I was a researcher on a peer led sex and relationships education programme for young people in schools.
In 2007 I secured the post of Senior Lecturer in Childhood Studies at the University of Bristol and I have since been promoted to Reader and then to Professor in 2019. I am currently the Head of the Centre for Children and Families Research in the School for Policy Studies and have held a number of other posts since 2007 including Programme Director for Childhood Studies, Impact Director and Director of Postgraduate Research. I currently teach on Childhood Studies and have nine PhD students.
Poo Patrol http://www.bristol.ac.uk/brigstow/projects/poo-patrol/
Life Chances http://www.productivemargins.ac.uk/projects/low-income-families/
DescriptionResearching the experiences of young people at risk of criminal exploitation who engage in a dance and immersive technology programme. Collaboration with East London Dance Company
01/01/2021 to 31/12/2023
‘Difficult Conversations: developing research-led training in dealing with care experienced and adopted children’s difficult life story questions’
DescriptionThis project seeks to co-create training tools and mechanisms of delivery to help adoptive parents, foster carers and social workers deal honestly and directly with difficult questions and conversations around…
02/09/2019 to 31/03/2021
DescriptionDeveloping distance travelled tools for place based learning. Paul Hamlyn funded project with Architecture Centre. Looking at under 5 year olds sense of place and learning of architectural design.
14/01/2019 to 13/01/2020
DescriptionDeveloping distance-travelled tools for volunteers providing cultural competency in primary schools. Paul Hamlyn funded project run by St Pauls nursery and children's centre working with culturally diverse parents.
01/10/2018 to 31/05/2019
Interdisciplinary public engagement event with the Somali communities in Bristol focused on young Somali wellbeing and outcomes
DescriptionDrawing on the concerns of the Bristol Somali forum we have identified the following themes for young people in the Somali communities which warrant further consideration and research effort:
03/11/2017 to 28/02/2018
Decision-making for the infant sleep environment among families with children considered to be at risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy
BMJ Paediatrics Open
Improving engagement with services to prevent Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) in families with children at risk of significant harm
Child: Care, Health and Development
Journal of Material Culture
- Accepted/In press
Children & Society
I currently teach a Year 2 Undergraduate unit for the Childhood Studies BSc programme called 'Play and Creativity'. I also contribute specialist teaching on other units for Childhood Studies students including related to education. Previously I have taught units on Education, Child and Family Policy and Advanced Qualitative Research Methods. I also supervise undergraduate and masters level dissertations in addition to the PhD supervision I provide.