University of Salford PhD’s – a student’s experience

DR Toni Wood

Congratulations to Dr Antonia Wood who recently completed her Ph.D. titled: Challenging Occupational Norms: An Ethnographic Study of Female Prison Officers in a Women’s Prison.

Having gained a first class Honours degree in Criminology from Manchester Metropolitan University, she went on to gain further knowledge in the subject by completing the MRes in Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies at The University of Manchester. Following a successful application and interview she took the role of Graduate Teaching Assistant (now known as Graduate Teaching Student) and embarked on her PhD journey under the guidance of Dr Elaine Crawley and Dr Muzammil Quraishi at the University of Salford. In summary, her PhD thesis was based upon an ethnographic exploration of female prison officers in a women’s prison in the North-West of England. The findings make contributions to debates around staff-prisoner relationships, mental illness in prison and gendered empathy.

At the University of Salford she had the opportunity to present her research at the schools Celebrating Postgraduate Research Days, and to date she has presented at three of them. Throughout the final stage of her Ph.D. journey she had other opportunities to present her research and quite recently presented some of her findings to criminal justice practitioners at the Criminal Justice Showcase event organized by myself and the Salford Professional Development team.

During the last year she also assisted in delivering a workshop to bring academic researchers together from the School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences and from across the wider university. Her own research interests predominantly sit within the prison environment with a special interest in the health and wellbeing of both prisoners and prison officers. These areas fit comfortably with a number of disciplines in the school of NWSWSS, for instance mental health, learning disabilities, midwifery and dementia. Currently, she is developing an application for funding with colleagues from the department of Psychology and School of Law at the University of Salford to explore learning difficulties in two distinctly different prisons.

Antonia stated she had been inspired by colleagues and peers at UoS and had “enjoyed the whole of my experience whilst at the School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Science. The facilities were outstanding, modern and welcoming”.

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