We want to engage in an exploration of what constitutes vulnerability in its broadest sense and, in doing that, to challenge the predominant assumptions of neo-liberal social policy which sees the poor, the marginalized and the disenfranchised as the architects of their own misfortune.

Karen Argent has been a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education and Care at Newman University since 2001. Prior to this, she taught in a wide range of educational settings including special, nursery and primary schools and Further Education College. She has also worked in the voluntary sector as an Inclusion Worker on one of the first Sure Start Programmes. Her research interests include working with the families of prisoners and other socially excluded groups, children’s literature, disability awareness and children’s rights. She is also the Director of The Letterpress Project, a not for profit initiative campaigning for everyone to have access to books.

Graham Brotherton is Head of Working with Children Young People and Families at Newman University. Prior to working in Higher Education he worked in a number of roles within both the voluntary and statutory sectors in roles encompassing; looked after children, supported housing and disability. His particular interests are in the relationship between social policy and practice, especially in the context of ‘family’ policy.

Chris Collett was a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education and Care at Newman University, with a particular interest in SEN and Disabilities. Prior to that she taught in a range of special schools and SEN advisory services, working with children with moderate to profound disabilities from nursery age to young adults. Now retired, she volunteers at a local foodbank and retains an interest in issues around social justice.

Mark Cronin is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education and Care at Newman University. Prior to entering Higher Education he worked as a Children and Families Social Worker in both the statutory sector in a Local Authority Care Management Team and the voluntary sector in a community based Family Centre. He has also worked for a number of other voluntary organisations involved in supporting families and direct work with children. His particular interests are in safeguarding, social policy, looked after children and working with children and families.

Terry Potter has extensive experience of working in the statutory, voluntary and trade union sectors with families and individuals in poverty and has published a number of studies relating to the impact of low pay and unemployment. In 2001 he became the Director of Research for Birmingham Voluntary Service Council and in 2006 he was the founder of the Centre for Community Research. He went on to be a senior lecturer in Working with Children Young People and Families at Newman University where he specialised in community development, social class and participatory research. In 2021 he retired from his role as a lecturer and is now Chair of The Letterpress Project, a voluntary and community initiative that promotes the reading of  books.

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