Dr Stephen Parkin
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Stephen Parkin joined the University of Huddersfield as Research Fellow within the School of Human and Health Sciences in May 2012. In this role, it is anticipated that Stephen will further develop his research interest in various topics relating to illicit substance use, public health and community safety.
Stephen Parkin has worked predominantly as a qualitative researcher in the field of substance use since 1995. During the period 1995-2001, as an employee at the relevant universities (Newcastle and Glasgow), he was responsible for the design, management and application of numerous research projects with a substance use remit. All of these projects were conducted as applied research for numerous local health authorities and/or regional health boards and were located throughout England and Scotland. Additionally, all studies were qualitative in design and aimed to prioritise local policy and practice concerning particular drug-related, health issues. Within this period, Stephen also conducted several ethnographic studies of substance use in locations throughout England and Scotland (including Gateshead, Shetland and Lanarkshire).
After a four-year period of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (in Kuwait, Thailand and throughout the UK) Stephen returned to health research in 2005. In 2006 he joined Plymouth University as part of an ESRC (CASE) studentship (co-funded by Plymouth Drug and Alcohol Action Team) where he conducted an ethnography of public injecting drug use as his doctoral research in sociology. After obtaining his doctorate (in 2009) he continued to apply qualitative and ethnographic methods in commissioned studies of public injecting drug use. Since 2006, Stephen has conducted 3 separate ethnographic studies of street-based heroin and crack-cocaine use in various UK locations (in Devon, Essex and Greater London); each of which have directly informed local policy and practice agendas concerning substance use matters in those particular geographic areas.
His current research interests include social theory, injecting drug use, visual methods, peer education and conducting solution-focused research to assist with applied harm reduction intervention (especially those interventions concerning injecting drug use/rs). Since 2008 he has presented 17 papers at national/international conferences and published 12 papers in peer-reviewed journals / edited book collections on substance use issues. In 2011, he was nominated for the Vice Chancellors Early Career Researcher Award at Plymouth University.
Research & Scholarship
University research group memberships
Dr Stephen Parkin is currently a member of the Institute for Research in Citizenship and Applied Human Sciences and the Centre for Health and Social Care Research.
Stephen continues to seek opportunities to develop research in matters relating to injecting drug use, alcohol use, harm reduction, public health, community safety as well as wider (and related) issues relating to HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. As part of this ongoing programme of research development, Stephen also aims to proactively form collaborative partnerships with non-academic / service-focused partners in order to develop links between the academy, policy, practice and applied intervention.
Following the publication of a paper concerned with the effects of fluorescent blue lights in public conveniences (as part of measures to prevent injecting drug use), Stephen has provided informal advice, suggestions and recommendations to numerous national and international bodies (statutory and non-statutory) concerning their use, installation and management since 2010. These bodies include numerous Drug and Alcohol Action Teams throughout the UK, drug agencies throughout UK and Australia and various businesses within the private sector throughout the UK. This informal advisory role is ongoing and has also included Stephen designing and delivering a workshop at the National Conference for Injecting Drug Use (Gateshead 2010) that was dedicated to formalising a dedicated harm reduction response to this public health issue.
Stephen provides regular peer-reviews for several international journals on issues relating to qualitative research, injecting drug use and blood borne virus transmission. These journals include Addiction, Health and Place, International Journal of Drug Policy, Social Science and Medicine and Substance Use and Misuse.
Research Degree Supervision
Stephen is currently supervising two candidates enrolled on the Professional Doctorate programme (2012) within Human and Health Research. These are:
- Zanib Mohammed
- Catherine Smyth
2006-2009: Stephens doctoral research was an ESRC Collaborative Award in Science and Engineering (CASE) studentship that involved co-funding by a non-academic partner. In this CASE, the latter was Plymouth Drug and Alcohol Action Team (PDAAT). Due to this funding, a great deal of collaborative work was conducted in order to ensure academic and applied value. As a consequence of the successes that followed this studentship, Stephen continued to assist PDAAT in a wide variety of other applied research projects concerning injecting drug use (until 2012).
2009-2012: As a direct consequence of the above studentship, Stephen subsequently co-managed an initiative at Plymouth University known as the Public Injecting Rapid Appraisal Service (PIRAS). This was set up to provide solution focused responses as commissioned research to various statutory bodies that may have a (harm reduction) interest in street-based injecting issues. Between 2010-11, two PIRAS commissions were conducted and successfully completed within their allocated timeframes.