Research Team
QL Research

Research Team

We managed to maintain a core team of five researchers throughout the ten years of the Inventing Adulthoods study, although a number of other people also contributed along the way.


Inventing Adulthoods Core Team


Janet Holland

Janet Holland is Professor of Social Research, at London South Bank University. Her research interests centre around young people, education, gender, sexuality and family life. She is also interested in feminist and qualitative longitudinal methodology. She has published widely in these areas, including (with colleagues in the Inventing Adulthoods team), Inventing Adulthoods: a biographical approach to youth transitions, 2007, Sage, (with Caroline Ramazanoglu, Sue Sharpe and Rachel Thomson) The male in the head: Young people, heterosexuality and power, Second Edition 2004, the Tufnell Press; (with Jeffrey Weeks and Matthew Waites (eds.) Sexualities and Society, 2003, Polity Press; and (with Caroline Ramazanoglu) Feminist Methodology: Challenges and Choices, 2002, Sage.


Tel: 020 7815 5180
Email: hollanj@lsbu.ac.uk


Rachel Thomson has a background in policy and practice development as well as academic social research. She has conducted research into many areas of young people’s lives and has published widely in the areas of sexuality, youth studies, biography and qualitative methods. Most recently she has been leading a 5-year study into ‘The making of modern motherhood’ (funded as part of the ESRC’s Identities and Social Action programme and the Timescapes initiative). The findings are now published as Thomson et al. (Policy, 2011) Making modern mothers. She has also written about methodologies Researching social change: qualitative approaches to personal, social and historical processes (with Julie McLeod, Sage 2009), and has published a book profiling 4 in-depth case histories from the Inventing Adulthoods study Unfolding lives: youth, gender, change (Policy Press 2009). From 2012, she is Chair of Childhood and Youth Studies in the School of Social Work and Education at Sussex University having worked for 8 years at the Open University where she and colleagues drew on the Inventing Adulthoods study to develop an acclaimed undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum aimed at professionals working with children and young people, for example: Kehily (ed.) Sage 2007) Understanding youth: perspectives, identities and practices; Robb (ed. Sage 2007) Youth in context, frameworks, settings and encounters; and Robb and Thomson (ed. Policy 2010) Critical practice with children and young people.

Email: R.Thomson@sussex.ac.uk

Rachel Thomson


Sheila Henderson

Sheila Henderson is a freelance researcher and Senior Visiting Fellow at London South Bank University with a background in the development and evaluation of both youth and public health policy and practice. Most of her research and writing focuses on aspects of young people’s lives, including health, sexuality, youth culture, gender, identity, social change, rural and urban contrasts, and the impact of new technologies. A sustained interest in the practical application, impact and representation of research and the role of the visual in this led to her involvement in the production of Young Lives, a DVD based on the Inventing Adulthoods study and forming part of an undergraduate and postgraduate course aimed at professionals working with children and young people. She is also author of this website. Since 2005, she has lead projects aimed at archiving and representing Inventing Adulthoods data and developing methods of QL case history analysis. Publications include: Women, HIV, Drugs: Practical Issues (ed. 1990. Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence, London); Ecstasy: Case Unsolved  (1997. London: Pandora); Inventing Adulthoods: A biographical approach to youth transitions (2006. With Holland, J. McGrellis, S. Sharpe, S. and Thomson, R. London, Sage); and  (2012. With Holland, J., McGrellis, S., Sharpe, S., and Thomson, R.) ‘Storying qualitative longitudinal research: sequence, voice and motif’, Qualitative Research, 12:1.


Tel: 020 7815 5821
Email: hendersa@lsbu.ac.uk


Sheena McGrellis is Visiting Senior Research Fellow at London South Bank University, located in the University of Ulster. Her interests are in youth research, youth transitions and identities, and health and wellbeing, with a particular concern for those in Northern Ireland. She was funded by Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2008-2010) to revisit participants in the Inventing Adulthoods study in Northern Ireland, updating their stories and reflecting on their journeys to adulthood against the backdrop of political, social and economic changes since 1996. Publications include (2011) Growing up in Northern Ireland. Joseph Rowntree Foundation; (2010) ‘In Transitions: young people in Northern Ireland growing up in and out of divided communities. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 33 (5) 761-778;  (2005) Pushing the boundaries in Northern Ireland: young people, violence and sectarianism, Contemporary Politics 2 (1) 53-71, and (2005) Pure and bitter spaces: gender, identity and territory in Northern Irish youth transitions, Gender and Education 17 (5) 515-529.


Tel: 02871 375221

Sheena McGrellis


Sue Sharpe

Sue Sharpe is a freelance social researcher whose interests have involved many aspects of young people’s lives and their experiences, such as gender and education, family life, and motherhood, and has published various books from her research including Just like a girl: How girls learn to be women’ (Penguin, 1994), and (with Mike O’Donnell) Uncertain masculinities: Youth, ethnicity and class in contemporary Britain (Routledge, 2000). She has worked on ‘The Making of Modern Motherhood’ project based at the Open University; and the ‘Making the Long View of Inventing Adulthoods’ project at London South Bank University (both part of the Timescapes Programme). Publications from these projects include (with Henderson et al.) Inventing adulthoods: a biographical approach to youth transitions (Sage 2007); and (with Thomson et al.) Making Modern Mothers (Policy Press 2011). She is a Senior Visiting Fellow at London South Bank University.



Tel: 020 7815 5821
Email: sharpsf@lsbu.ac.uk



Past Team Members and Contributors


Deborah Holder was involved in the Making the Long View Project as a part-time Research Assistant, then consultant for three years from summer 2005. Also a freelance journalist, writer and editor, she was drawn to the Project by its potential for practical application and making academic research accessible to a wider public. She has since worked with women and youth offenders on their first night in custody, as a Learning Support Assistant and Form Tutor in South Hackney, and is now a Counselor and Psychotherapist.


Email: deborahholder@hotmail.co.uk

Deborah Holder


Jorge Camacho

Jorge Camacho worked on the Making the Long View Project for 3 � years from June 2005 as a part-time Research Assistant. On completing his PhD in the School of Social Sciences, Media and Cultural Studies at the University of East London, he returned to Mexico where he is a Professor at the Centro de Dise�o Cine y Televisi�n.



Tina Grigoriou was a researcher on the Inventing Adulthoods study for two and a half years from 2002. She gained a Doctorate in Practitioner in Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapeutic Studies at the University of Surrey and is now a therapist.

Tina Grigoriou


Robert Bell

Robert Bell was a researcher on the Inventing Adulthoods study for three years from 1999. He then worked as a senior researcher in the Cabinet Office and the Department for Education for Skills, before becoming Director of the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust’s Young People Initiative. He is now Head of Social Justice at the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, an independent grant-making organisation that aims to help people to realise their potential and enjoy a better quality of life, now and in the future (www.phf.org.uk).


Email: rbell@phf.org.uk


Rebecca Taylor was a research assistant on the Inventing Adulthoods study between September 2000 and May 2002. She moved on to the Policy Studies Institute where, as a Research Fellow, she was involved in a wide range of research on work and employment with a particular focus on labour market disadvantage and the experiences of older workers and ethnic minorities. A Research Fellow at the Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham since 2009, she is working on several research programmes, including Real Times, its core qualitative longitudinal research project.


Tel: 020 7911 7533
Email: r.taylor@psi.org.uk

Rebecca Taylor


Quite a few other people have also helped us out on the study, including: Isabel Walter, Sean Arnold, Emerson Jackson, Amy Lenderyou, Helen Membry, Fergal Barr and Ian Draper.