Portrait of Professor Brid Featherstone Professor Brid Featherstone

b.m.featherstone@hud.ac.uk | 01484 472457


I joined the University of Huddersfield in October 2015 as Professor of Social Work. I qualified as a social worker and worked in the field of social work from 1982-1992. I have been involved in social work education and research since then and have worked at universities in Ireland, England and Germany.

I have an international reputation in the areas of gender, fathers and child protection. My recent co-authored book (with Sue White and Kate Morris) 'Re-imagining Child Protection: towards humane social work with families' has been highly influential and led to invitations to speak and advise on reforming child protection nationally and internationally. An article with White and Morris 'A marriage made in hell: early intervention meets child protection’, British Journal of Social Work, 44, 1735-1749 won the Kay McDougall prize for article of the year in 2015.

Research and Scholarship

Research projects

  • 2015-2017 Child Welfare Inequalities with Universities of Coventry (lead), Cardiff, Nottingham, Queen’s University, Belfast, Stirling and Edinburgh (Funders: Nuffield) (Role Co-I)
  • 2014-2015 Family Inclusive Thinking, Policy and Practice After 'Think Family’ with University of Birmingham and Nottingham University (Funders: ESRC Knowledge Exchange) (Role: Co-I)
  • 2013-2016 Researching families with complex needs with Professor Kate Morris (Funders: Family Rights Group ) (Role: PI)
  • 2013-2015 Beyond male role models: Gender Identities in Action with Martin Robb OU and Sandy Ruxton, Independent Consultant l (Funders: ESRC Grant No: ES/K005863/) (Role: Co-I) (Read the report)
  • 2012 Evaluation of Advice and Advocacy Services (Funders: Family Rights Group) (Role: PI)
  • 2010-2011 Evaluation of Triple P Parenting Programme with colleagues in Child and Family Research Centre, NUI, Galway (Funders: Longford Westmeath Parenting Partnership) (Role: PI)
  • 2009-2011 A feasibility study for a randomised controlled trial of a training intervention to improve the engagement of fathers in the child protection system (Cardiff University, University of Michigan and National University of Ireland, Galway) (Funders: National Institute for Social Care and Health Research, Wales) (Role: Consultant)
  • 2008-2011 Evaluation of Parental Advocacy Scheme (Funders: Family Rights Group) (Role: PI)
  • 2008-2009 Review of Safeguarding Arrangements (Funders: Bradford Safeguarding Children Board) (Role: PI)
  • 2008 Parents’ views of Parent Support Services (Funders: Bradford Metropolitan Council) (Role: PI)
  • 2007-2010 Engaging Mothers and Fathers: Challenges for Social Services Practices (McGill University, Montreal) (Funders: Standard Research Grant - Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) (Role: International Partner)
  • 2006-2008 Gender and Child Welfare, International Collaboration with McGill University, University of York and University of Cardiff, (Funders: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) (Role: Member of team)
  • 2004-2010 Fathers Matter (Family Rights Group in association with a varying range of partners including the Grandparents Association) (Funders: Parenting Fund, DfES and DCSF) (Role: Member of team)
  • 2004-2006 ‘Dads and Lads’ programme (With Fathers Direct and NCRC) (Funders: YMCA) (Role: Member of team)
  • 2002 Evaluation of Family Support in a School Setting (With NCRC) (Funders: The Children’s Society) (Role: Co-I)
  • 2001-2002 Families’ perceptions of the core assessment process (With NCRC) (Funders: Kirklees, Metropolitan Council) (Role: Co-I)
  • 2001 Evaluation of Parenting Programme for Fathers (Funders: Kirklees MDC) (Role; PI)
  • 2000-2006 Sure Start evaluation (with Nationwide Children’s Research Centre (NCRC)) (Funders: Sure Start local programme) (Role: Co-I)


  • 2015 Co-chair of Association of Professors of Social Work
  • 2014 Conferred as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences
  • 2013-2015 Chairperson of the Children and Families Faculty, The College of Social Work
  • 2012-2016 Co-editor of the journal Families, Relationships and Societies: An international; journal of research and debate

Selected advisory and consultancy roles

  • 2009-2010 Academic Advice on Man Made: a report produced by the Coalition on Men and Boys (funded by the Home Office, the Equalities Office and EHRC)
  • 2008-2009 Author of Submissions to Taskforce on Social Work and Select Committee on Children and Families on behalf of the Association of Professors of Social Work as a result of the death of Peter Connolly
  • 2011 Member of Expert Advisory Group on Training, Research and Practice, Health Services Executive (HSE), (then the main Irish government body for overseeing social work) Ireland
  • 2011 Adviser on parenting strategy document, HSE, Ireland
  • 2012 Expert Advisor Barnardos, Ireland
  • 2012-2013 Member of Centre for Social Justice Working Group on family breakdown
  • 2014 Member of Family Rights Group Law and Practice Reference group
  • 2015 Member of Your Family Your Voice advisory group

Selected invited and keynote presentations

  • Promoting humane organizations, Institute of Health and Social Welfare, Helsinki, November, 2015
  • Supporting the ethic of care in families, Santiago, Chile, 29 May 2014
  • Supporting resilience in child protection social work, Annual conference of Icelandic child protection social workers, Iceland, 28 March 2014
  • Human factors in child protection systems, Master class at European society for Prevention of child abuse and neglect, Dublin, Ireland, 15 September 2013
  • Research in social work, Faculty of Social Work, Universtad Complutense, Madrid, 12 December 2013
  • Child protection and inequality, Segovia, Spain, 11 December 2013
  • Re-imagining child protection, public lecture, University of Malta, 20 November 2013

Research Degree Supervision

Areas of interest

  • Fathers
  • Family support
  • Reforming child protection

Recent supervisions

Selected topics that I have supervised in recent years:

  • Masculinities and the paedophile: discursive strategies in Irish newspapers
  • Pregnant asylum seekers: a critical discourse analysis of midwifery training
  • Child-parent abuse: conceptual and methodological issues
  • Openness in international adoption
  • Street children in Zimbabwe

Postgraduate research opportunities with Professor Brid Featherstone

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Associate Director of Centre for Applied Childhood, Youth and Family Research
  • Lead for UOA22 REF 2021

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