Dr Gill Hughes

Faculty and Department

  • Faculty of Arts Cultures and Education
  • School of Education


  • BSc (London South Bank University)
  • PhD (University of Hull)


Gill is a lecturer in Youth Work and Community Development and Education Studies. She is the convenor for the research theme Social Justice in the School of Education. As part of Gill's focus on community participation and engagement she is CI on Risky Cities - Living with Water in an Uncertain Future Climate, University of Hull, using arts, culture and heritage with communities to understand our relationships with water past, present and future. She is also working with the University of Sheffield project - MAGIC: MOBILISING ADAPTATION – GOVERNANCE OF INFRASTRUCTURE THROUGH CO-PRODUCTION - working with communities in Hull to explore creative ideas on developing flood resilience and adaptations - the project recognises that flooding cannot fully be prevented but people can generate agency and control in preparing for such situations.

Gill is a joint development co-ordinator for the Wellcome Trust funded British Science Association initiative - 'ideas fund' - an inspiring and innovative pilot, which changes the relationship between communities and researchers to work in partnership around mental wellbeing - https://theideasfund.org/.

Gill hosts #thehullwewant community partnership project, which was inspired and funded by Barry Knight [Webb Memorial Trust legacy via RethinkingPoverty.org]. #thww explores needs and dreams in the city of Hull using emancipatory participatory research, asset based and radical community development approaches and is part of the #ShiftThePower global movement. The '#we' approach has been developed to use in different themes, places and spaces such as; climate change [with the Energy and Environment Institute https://www.hull.ac.uk/work-with-us/research/institutes/energy-and-environment-institute] and #theculturewewant. #thww has inspired a young people's project at Micaia in Chimoio to develop a similar project attracting Commonwealth funding to explore young people's needs and dreams. It's ethos and approach were drawn on to engage people in refreshing the Health and Wellbeing strategy within the city [https://www.hullccg.nhs.uk/have-your-say/our-communities/the-hull-we-want/]. From this work Gill was invited to work with the Local Authority, CCG and the University on the development of a Poverty Truth Commission for the city.

Gill joined the Centre for Lifelong Learning (CLL), University of Hull in 1997, on its closure in 2009 she transferred to Social Sciences and is now in the School of Education. Her initial roles encompassed Trade Union Education and the HEFCE funded; Towards a Learning City project; a partnership with the Warren young people’s resource centre. The project aimed to re-engage young people into education – to meet their needs.

Gill has always been committed to public engagement and values a large partnership network in the city, and together with colleagues and partners from the community, voluntary and public sectors, she co-produced varied provision, which included; short courses to meet community and sector needs entitled Develop Yourself and Enable Others – which ranged from personal and continuing professional development to specific social issues. This was followed by co-producing certificate, diploma and degree programmes:

University Foundation Award in Discovering Community Studies [access route]

Diploma in Community and Youth Work (1998-2010)

BA Hons Social and Community Studies part-time (2001-2017)

Certificate in Neighbourhood Regeneration - developing skills and knowledge for Neighbourhood Renewal.

BA Hons Youth Work and Community Development 2010 to date

Gill also co-led a DFID project with Zimbabwean colleagues on developing a certificate around community participation (2001-4) and contributed to a DFID project in Sierra Leone co- facilitating a 3 day conference around education, citizenship and participatory engagement.

Gill’s doctoral study related to young people and their disconnection from education in England - entitled - The Construct of Care and its Place in School Connectedness. It explores the role of care as a catalyst for connection to school [and wider services].

BA Youth Work and Community Development:

Dissertation - level 6

Key Contemporary Issues in working with Children, Families and Communities - Level 6

BA Education Studies:

Education, Power and Knowledge - level 4

Social Justice and Social Change - level 4

Education, Inequality and Social Justice - level 6

Recent outputs

View more outputs

Book Chapter

Who cares and how would you know? Conceptualising 'doxic' care

Hughes, G. (2017). Who cares and how would you know? Conceptualising ‘doxic’ care. In J. Horton, & M. Pyer (Eds.), Children, young people and care (26-43). London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315686752-2

'Imagining otherwise' or tinkering with the system?

Hughes, G. (2015). ‘Imagining otherwise’ or tinkering with the system?. In C. Cooper, S. Gormally, & G. Hughes (Eds.), Socially just, radical alternatives for education and youth work practice: Re-imagining ways of working with young people (220-244). London: Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137393593_11

Journal Article

Exploring inclusive practices in primary schools : focusing on children’s voices

Adderley, R., Hope, M., Hughes, G., Jones, L., Messiou, K., & Shaw, T. (2014). Exploring inclusive practices in primary schools : focusing on children’s voices. European journal of special needs education, 30(1), 106-121. https://doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2014.964580

Student-led research training within the PhD: "PhD experience" conferences

Mercer, T., Kythreotis, A., Lambert, C., & Hughes, G. (2011). Student-led research training within the PhD: “PhD experience” conferences. International journal for researcher development, 2(2), 152-166. doi:10.1108/17597511111212736

Research interests

Gill’s research and practice interests vary, broadly focusing on:

• Rethinking poverty in 21st Century and re-imagining the society we want

• Social Justice/ Power and Empowerment

• Alternative ways of working with young people and communities including Utopia as a method

• The concept of Community

Youth Work

• Asset based and radical community development

• Community engagement and participation

• Young people’s experiences of dis/connectedness with education

• Alternative education, informal learning and critical pedagogy

• The construct of care its erosion in education [and welfare services]

Flood resilience and communities







Mobilising Adaptation: Governance of Infrastructure through Coproduction MAGIC


NERC Natural Environment Research Council




1 May 2020




#thehullwewant - Enhancing Community Development in Hull 2017


Webb Memorial Trust




1 August 2017



Charity role

Director Beats Bus


Director and Patron Beats Bus

Trustee Two Ridings Community Foundation



Director Rooted in Hull


Director role Rooted in Hull

Membership/Fellowship of professional body

Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)


Invitation to become a Fellow: Invitation to become a Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce). This is in light of your exceptional and longstanding contribution to the youth work and community development fields, and in particular your focus on re-engaging young people in education. We believe that you have an important contribution to make to supporting our work and that you will be a valuable addition to the Fellowship community.


Employee Excellence Award


Employee Excellence Award for Scholarship 2019