Research Network: Risk-work in Young Lives

This Network for post-graduate and early career researchers at Liverpool, Manchester, Keele and Lancaster provides an opportunity to exchange knowledge on research approaches and methods for exploring the practices in various settings which can lead to children or young people being labelled as ‘risky’ or ‘at risk’, with children and young people, academics and youth practitioners.

'Risky' or 'at risk'

These practices are collectively referred to by Horlick-Jones (2005) as ‘risk-work’; both the formal and informal practices of discretionary and subjective risk perception, judgement and decision-making. This concept is expanded upon in the Risk Work Paper:

Risk is a concept which has come to permeate almost every aspect of children’s lives. In the settings of Youth Justice, Youth Work, Social Work, Education and Health, contemporary and newly emerging ‘risk-work’ with children can be observed in relation to safeguarding, ACE’s (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and ‘pre-crime’ or crime prevention legislation/initiatives.

  • So what does that mean for those who are designing and delivering research which enquires into their practice?

  • How do we develop research approaches and methods which place young people and their experiences at the centre?

  • How do we explore ‘risk’ but not reinforce the way it is gendered, classed, racialised and disabilised in how it is conceived?

Get involved

If you are interested in getting involved in shaping how this network supports post graduate and early career researchers across the North West, contact us:


Network launch

***Coronavirus (COVID-19) event cancellation***

The Network was due to officially launch at the University of Liverpool on Thursday 30 April 2020.

The University is closely monitoring national and international developments in relation to COVID-19 and taking actions as appropriate. As a result, we have taken the decision to cancel or postpone all University led public events until further notice. Future events will remain under review.

While we realise that the cancellation of events will cause some inconvenience and disappointment, the health and wellbeing of our students, staff and visitors is our highest priority. 


Online community

While world events have meant we have been unable to officially launch the Risk-work in Young Lives Research Network in spring 2020 as originally planned, we will be building an online community and producing blogs and vlogs on a new Risk-work Wordpress:


The North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (NWSSDTP) is a consortium of the Universities of Keele, Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the NWSSDTP supports postgraduate studentships and training in the social sciences in the North West.

In 2019, Dr Leona Vaughn, Post Doctoral Research Associate in the University of Liverpool's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, received an NWDTC Collaborative Innovation Grant to set up a Network for researchers looking at risk work in young lives.

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