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Professor Mel Hughes

Director of the National Centre for Cross-Disciplinary Social Work

I am registered Social Worker and Professor of Education and Practice. I have a degree in Human Communication and Communication Disorders from the University of Manchester and a Diploma and Masters in Social Work from the University of Edinburgh. I have been teaching social work at BU since 2005 and I have led both the BA and MA Social Work degree programmes. 

My research interests are focused on the lived experience of people who use social work services and the impact of public involvement in education and research. I believe that those who are most affected by social, economic and health inequalities should have a voice in shaping and informing the knowledge and practice of social work. I have edited and co-authored a textbook called ‘A Guide to Statutory Social work interventions: the lived experience’, which features chapters written by people with first-hand experience of statutory interventions. I have also developed various pedagogic tools to embed transformative learning and lived experience education in professional programmes. 

I am passionate about teaching and learning and I aim to create an engaging and inclusive environment for my students. I use a variety of teaching methods and approaches, such as digital stories, films, blogs, and workshops, to foster critical thinking and reflection. I also mentor, advise, and supervise students at different levels of study and I celebrate their achievements and successes. 

I have extensive professional experience in social work, having worked in various settings and roles, such as child protection, mental health, and substance misuse. I have also collaborated with many organisations and agencies, such as the NHS, local authorities, and voluntary sector groups, to conduct research and deliver training. I have presented my work at national and international conferences and published in leading journals and books. I am an editorial board member of the British Journal of Social Work and an Advance HE National Teaching Fellow. 

I am also actively involved in the social work community, both locally and nationally. I volunteer for several social work organisations and initiatives, such as the British Association of Social Workers, the Social Work Action Network, and the Social Work History Network. I also lead the PIER (Public Involvement in Education and Research) partnership and the Research Centre for Seldom Heard Voices at BU, which aim to promote and support the involvement of people with lived experience in social work education and research. 

Research and Recent Publications
Journal Articles
  • Beresford, P., Golding, F., Hughes, M., Levin, L., Mohamed, O., Schön, U.K. and Unwin, P., 2023. Editorial – Special Issue. British Journal of Social Work, 53 (3), 1275-1281.
  • Hughes, M. and Golding, F., 2023. Introduction to Creative Artefacts. British Journal of Social Work, 53 (3), 1849.
  • Hughes, M., Mohan, V. and jury, R., 2023. involving people with lived experience in physiotherapy education – Research report one: Reflecting together to enhance teaching outcomes. Openphysio.
  • Hughes, M., Collins, K., Easterbrook, T. and blackman, E., 2023. Involving people with lived experience in physiotherapy education – Research report two: Harnessing the expertise of people with lived experience. PyhsioOpen.
  • Hughes, M., Fazakarley, L. and Buckley, S., 2023. Involving people with lived experience in physiotherapy education – Research report three: Developing equal partnerships. PhysioOpen.
  • Clayton, C.E., Hemingway, A., Hughes, M. and Rawnson, S., 2022. The public health role of caseloading midwives inadvancing health equity in childbearing women and babies living in socially deprived areas in England: The Mi-CARE Study protocol. European Journal of Midwifery, 6 (April).
  • Hughes, M., Corbin-Clarke, S. and Greensmith, P., 2022. Insights into patient voices on digital access to health care. Journal of Community Nursing, 36 (4), 64-66.
  • Hughes, M., 2019. Social Work Practice: Integrating Concepts, Processes and Skills, 2nd edition. BRITISH JOURNAL OF SOCIAL WORK, 49 (6), 1689-1690.
  • Hughes, M. and Duffy, C., 2018. Public involvement in health and social sciences research: A concept analysis. Health Expectations, 21 (6), 1183-1190.
  • Pritchard, C., Hughes M, Rosenorn-Lanng and Williams R, 2018. Population-Based Study of Child Mortality (0-4) and Income Inequality in Japan and the Developed world 1989-91 v 2012-14: Excess Deaths Between the Most Unequal Countries? Japan Journal of Medicine, 1 (1), 101-107.
  • Polkinghorne, M. et al., 2023. Fusion Learning Conference 2023 – Proceedings. Poole, Dorset, UK, BH12 5BB: Bournemouth University.
  • Hughes, M., 2022. Social Exclusion in the UK The lived experience. Critical Publishing.
  • Allen, S. et al., 2022. Fusion Learning Colloquium 2022 – Proceedings. Poole, UK: Bournemouth University.
  • Hughes, M., 2019. A Guide to Statutory Social Work Interventions The Lived Experience. Palgrave.
  • Morley, D.A., 2018. Enhancing Employability in Higher Education through Work Based Learning. Springer.
  • Fenge, L.-A., Howe, K., Hughes, M. and Thomas, G., 2014. The Social Work Portfolio A Guide for Students. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).


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