Dr Sevasti-Melissa Nolas
|Post:||Lecturer in Social Work (Social Work and Social Care)|
|Location:||Essex House Eh 228|
|International:||+44 1273 678569|
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I joined the University of Sussex in September 2011 as a Lecturer in Social Work. My background is in social psychology and I have carried out research in the areas of children’s welfare (broadly defined) and children’s social policy. I have worked on a number of local and national evaluation of programmes for youth development and inclusion, child and adolescent mental health promotion, and for children and young people who have experienced domestic violence. I am interested in how children’s agency is constructed and performed within childhood and youth spaces, and how children exercise, or otherwise, that agency by, for example, giving voice to issues that concern them and by participating in decisions that affect them. My most recent research focuses on children’s experiences outside institutions looking at children’s participation in public life and the development of an orientation towards social action in childhood. I have been involved with social work education at all levels for the last three years.
Community and Business
I am currently Public Engagement Ambassador in ESW http://www.publicengagement.ac.uk/how-we-help/ambassadors/dr-sevasti-melissa-nolas
My areas of interest are youth development, children's participation rights, participatory programming and evaluation, action research, ethnography, and qualitative research methods.
I have carried out research on psychosocial programmes and projects aimed at improving the lives of marginalised and vulnerable children and young people in England including services for promoting youth inclusion and mental health, and preventing violence and abuse.
Often within these programmes much is made of the potential (for empowerment, for better service provision, etc) of children and young people’s direct involvement, or participation, in shaping the services they receive. In my research I explore the possibilities and limitations of such assumptions asking questions such as:What is happening when we say we doing ‘participation’? What contexts enable children and young people’s participation? What are children and young people’s experiences of being involved in intervention programmes? When children and young people don’t participate in programmes aimed at them what are the reasons for that? Who defines the contexts of participation? What else is going on?
My research aims to chart the dynamics of personal and social change in these intervention spaces, the relationship between knowledge and action, and the ethics of (inter) action. I am especially interested in what happens in the gaps between programme aspirations and lived experience, the practical knowledge necessary for enabling engagement and participation in change projects, the possibilities and limitation of different change contexts, and the role of research and other forms of social inquiry in further supporting participatory changes.
To this extent I focus on theories and methods that enable the articulation of the ambiguities, contradictions and tensions of social interventions projects. The aim of my research is to develop appropriate languages and support for managing the complex, emergent change that can be created by psychosocial support interventions.
You can read about my research and teaching activities at https://smnolas.wordpress.com/
Recent research projects
2014-2019 - ERC Starter Grant, Connectors: an international study into the development of children’s everyday practices of participation in circuits of social action (Principle Investigator).
2012-2014 - Kick Start Network, New Publics: Innovating Children & Young People's Communities. Funded by the University of Sussex & Higher Education Innovation Fund (Lead applicant).
2011 – Research on Inequalities and Multiple Discrimination in Access to Healthcare. For European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. (Qualitative Research Expert; PI: Prof Eleonore Kofman, Middlesex University).
2010-2012 - Evaluating the Children & Young People’s Community Group Programme. For Against Violence and Abuse (www.avaproject.org.uk) funded by Comic Relief (Evaluation Lead).
Recent conference and seminar talks
Nolas, S-M. (2012) ‘The Community Group Programme for children and young people who have experienced domestic violence’. Invited workshop to The British Psychological Society Annual Conference (Division for Clinical Psychology: Faculties for Children, Young People & their Families). Manchester, England. (September, 2012).
Nolas, S-M. (2012) ‘Unpacking children’s vulnerability: theories, methods and praxis’. The BPS Developmental Psychology Section. University of Strathclyde, Scotland. (September, 2012).
Nolas, S-M. (2012). Developing a poietics of participatory practice with children and youth. Seminar given for the Public Science Project and the Department of Psychology, City University of New York, New York (May, 2012).
Nolas, S-M. (2012). Charting dynamic movements through polymorphic spaces: developing a meta-theoretical perspective for qualitatively-driven multi-methodological praxis. 8th International Congress for Qualitative Inquiry: Mixed Methods Day. University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana, Illinois (May, 2012).
Nolas, S-M. (2012). Reflections on the contribution of qualitative research to social work interventions. 8th International Congress for Qualitative Inquiry: Social Work Day. University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana, Illinois (May, 2012).
I am the Course Convenor for the MA Childhood & Youth Studies, and I also convene the CPD module Working Effectively with Violence, Substance Misuse and Mental Health Issues in Services for Children that is part of the MA in Effective Practice for qualified social workers.
Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa (2013) Exploring young people's and youth workers' experiences of spaces for ‘youth development’: creating cultures of participation. Journal of Youth Studies. pp. 1-17. ISSN 1367-6261
Bradley, Jenna, Murphy, Samantha, Fugard, Andrew J B, Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa and Law, Duncan (2013) What kinds of goals do children and young people set for themselves in therapy? Developing a goals framework using CORC data. Child & Family Clinical Psychology Review, 1 (1). pp. 8-18. ISSN 2052-0956 (In Press)
Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa (2011) Grounded theory. In: Qualitative Research Methods in Psychology: Combining Core Approaches. Open University Press, Maidenhead, pp. 16-43. ISBN 9780335241507
Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa (2011) Pragmatics of pluralistic qualitative research. In: Qualitative Research Methods in Psychology: Combining Core Approaches. Open University Press, Maidenhead, pp. 121-144. ISBN 9780335241507
Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa (2011) Reflections on the enactment of children's participation rights through research: Between transactional and relational spaces. Children and Youth Services Review, 33 (7). pp. 1196-1202. ISSN 0190-7409
Frost, Nollaig A and Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa (2011) Editorial: Exploring and Expanding on Pluralism in Qualitative Research in Psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 8 (2). pp. 115-119. ISSN 1478-0887
Frost, Nollaig, Holt, Amanda, Shinebourne, Pnina, Esin, Cigdem, Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa, Mehdizadeh, Leila and Brooks-Gordon, Belinda (2011) Collective findings, individual interpretations: an illustration of a pluralistic approach to qualitative data analysis. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 8 (1). pp. 93-113. ISSN 1478-0887
Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa (2011) Stories as indicators of practical knowledge: Analysing project workers' talk from a study of participation in a youth inclusion programme. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 21 (2). pp. 138-150. ISSN 1052-9284
Frost, Nollaig, Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa, Brooks-Gordon, Belinda, Esin, Cigdem, Holt, Amanda, Mehdizadeh, Leila and Shinebourne, Pnina (2010) Pluralism in qualitative research: the impact of different researchers and qualitative approaches on the analysis of qualitative data. Qualitative Research, 10 (4). pp. 441-460. ISSN 1468-7941
Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa (2009) [Review] Mary Watkins and Helene Shulman (2008) Towards psychologies of liberation. Subjectivity, 27. pp. 217-220. ISSN 1755-6341
Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa (2009) Between the Ideal and the Real: Using Ethnography as a Way of Extending Our Language of Change. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 6 (1-2). pp. 105-128. ISSN 1478-0887
Mary, Newman and Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa (2008) Innovation in therapeutic practice with 'violent youth': a discourse analysis of the Non-Violent Resistance approach. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 8 (3). pp. 141-150. ISSN 1473-3145
Garcia-Lorenzo, Lucia, Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa and Zeeuw, Gerard de (2008) Telling stories and the practice of collaboration. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 28 ((1&2)). pp. 9-19. ISSN 0144-333X
Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa, Neville, Lucy and Sanders-McDonagh, Erin Evaluation of the community group programme for children & young people: final report. Project Report. University of Sussex.