Her research paper entitled 'Creative Responses to Methodological Issues in Researching a Schools-Based Family Residential Programme', has just been published by SAGE. It is the result of her doctoral research here at the university and her own personal years' of experience working with families and youth workers through outdoor and experiential learning.
It is based on a qualitative research project into families' experiences of a schools-based family residential programme. Its key message is that research with young people, their families and schools raises a range of issues in relation to power. Keeping the voices of young people at the centre of the research process can be addressed through a variety of approaches requiring the researcher to be creative and playful, but also reflective and assertive in their negotiations with key gatekeepers.
Kate explains, 'My research examines case studies in three different contexts: a family centre, a federation of schools and a youth development organisation. Each has developed their own organic and creative response to the needs and aspirations of young people and their families, particularly through outdoor and residential programmes. The research has provided me with an opportunity to critically examine the contribution informal and outdoor education can make to work with families with a complexity of needs, in particular to explore the question "So how are youth workers working with families?"'
The University of Cumbria's unique relationship with the Brathay Trust and the Paul Hamlyn Foundaton has provided a strong basis for this research, enabling students to work with practitioners at the cutting edge of their practice and contribute to professional development in the wider field.