Peter Harris


Dr Pete Harris spent 18 years as a youth worker and then as a senior manager for a children’s charity before joining Newman in 2010. He holds a BA in Social Policy, a Dip.H.E. in Youth and Community Work and an M.A. in Education Studies. He was Presidents Doctoral Scholar at Manchester University where he completed an ESRC funded PhD in Criminology.


Research Interests

Pete brings this cross disciplinary perspective to his research activity. In 2012 he co-led a multinational research project examining youth work responses to youth violence, the findings of which became a book entitled “Responding to Youth Violence through Youth Work” in September 2016. He has since presented at the British and European Societies for Criminology and Outreach Youth Work conferences in the UK, Malta and Scandinavia on the issue of youth violence and masculinity, and has produced several published works in the area of youth work and youth crime. His current research interests include how psychosocial criminology can inform relationships between youth practitioners and young people involved in violence, gender-based abuse and violence in schools, the impact of trauma inflicted on soldiers in training, and how critical pedagogues can produce transformative learning in Higher Education.

Current Teaching

  • Programme leader for MA Criminology and Social Justice
  • Teaching and providing tutorial support for students on the Criminology BA  and MA programmes
  • Module leadership including Young People and Crime; Crime and Power; The Psychology of Criminal Justice; The Sociology of Crime; Crime, Place and Space; Rehabilitation and Desistance; Applied Psychosocial Criminology; Dissertation
  • Phd Supervision

Current Administrative Duties

  • Coordination of the Social Policy and Social Work Unit of Assessment (REF)
  • Curriculum design and development
  • Liaising with external bodies and examiners and employers

Membership of Professional Organisations

  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the British Society of Criminology and Association of Psychosocial Studies

Other Activities

Publications, Conferences, and Other Research Activity


Cutler, H., Harris, P., Kewley, S. and Seal, M. (2023) “Preventing Harmful Sexual Behaviour: Developing a secondary prevention psychoeducational intervention for young boys using participatory research methods”. Journal of School Violence

Harris, P. and Willoughby, R. (2023) Religious Belief and Violence. Pathways between Justification, Desistance and Resistance. Studies in the Psychosocial. London: Palgrave Macmillan

Harris, P. (2023) “Sport and Crime Reduction” in Routledge Handbook of Sport, Leisure and Justice. London: Routledge

Harris, P. (2023) “He’s shown me the road: Role Models and Roadmen” in Levell, J., Young,T., and Earle, R. (eds) Exploring Urban Youth Culture Outside of the Gang Paradigm: Critical Questions of Youth Gender and Race On-Road. Bristol: Policy Press

Published books/articles

Harris, P., Seal, M. (2023). “Youth Work and Gang Violence Reduction”. In: Andell, P., Pitts, J. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Youth Gangs in the UK. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Harris, P (2022) “He’s shown me the road: Youth Work and Young Masculinities” in Frosh, S. et al. (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Psychosocial Studies,

Harris, P. (2021) “Rethinking Critical Pedagogy in Higher Education through a Psychosocial Lens” in Seal, M. (ed) Hopeful Pedagogies in Higher Education. London: Bloomsbury

Harris, P. (2020) “‘Just give up the ball’: In search of a third space in relationships between male youth workers and young men involved in violence”. Criminology and Criminal Justice. 1-16 Available at: DOI:10.1177/1748895820933929

Harris, P. (2020) “‘I needed to go backwards before going forwards’: A psychosocial case study exploring the interweaving of desistance from violent offending and professional youth worker identity formation”.  Journal of Psychosocial Studies. Vol 13:2 pp 193-208

Harris, P. (2019) “’Uneasy bed-fellows?’ Fusing participatory and psychosocial principles in research with youth workers and young people”. Journal of Psychosocial Studies. October, vol 12, no 3, pp245-257

Harris, P. (2019) “Down with the kids? Examining the male youth worker as role model and mentor to young men involved in violence”. Youth and Policy, April 2019, Available at: Accessed 26/4/19.​

Harris, P. (2018) “Youth workers must go digital”. Children and Young People Now. July 2018, p17

Harris, P. (2017) “Inter-Subjectivity and Worker Self-Disclosure in Professional Relationships With Young People: A Psychosocial Study of Youth Violence and Desistance”. Howard Journal of Crime and Justice. 2059-1098, pp. 1–16

Harris, P. and Seal, M. (2016) Responding to Youth Violence through Youth Work, Bristol: Policy

Harris, P. Haywood, C. and Mac an Ghaill, M. (2016) ‘Higher Education, de-centred subjectivities
and the emergence of a pedagogical self among Black and South Asian students’, Race, Ethnicity
and Education.

Harris, P. (2016) ‘Adult Education’ in Lees, H., Trotman, D and Willoughby, R. Education Studies:
Key Concepts. London: Routledge.

Harris, P. (2014) “The Youth Worker as Improviser: Foregrounding education ‘in the moment’
within the professional development of youth workers” Journal of Professional Development in
Education (online)

Harris, P. and Seal, M (2014) “It’s all about the Conversation” in Seal, M and Frost, S (eds) (2014)
Philosophy in Youth and Community Work. Lyme Regis: Russell House.

Harris, P. (2014) “Faith, Values, Moral Education and Indoctrination” in Youth Work and Faith:
Debates, Delights and Dilemmas. Lyme Regis: Russell House

Harris, P (2005) “Curriculum Debate and Detached Youth Work”, Youth and Policy, No 87, p57-65
Harris, P et al (2007) Guidelines for Detached Youth Work, The Federation for Detached Youth

Conference papers

“He’s shown me the road”? A psychosocial interrogation of the male youth worker as role model to young men involved in violence. A Youth Studies perspective on the discourse of youth violence: BERA. Nottingham Trent University 24/6/19

“Engaging with young people in violent subcultures” Gozo Youth Conference, Malta 14/4/18

“’Down with the kids’: On-road youth worker identities and pathways to desistance” Gender,
Violence and Antisocial Personalities, University of Manchester, October 2016.

“‘Down with the kids’? ‘On-road’ youth worker identities, and pathways to desistance. British
Society for Criminology Conference, Nottingham, 8th July 2016.

“‘Down with the kids’? ‘On-road’ youth worker identities, identification, recognition and pathways to
desistance”. Doctoral Conference, Newman University, July 7th 2016

“Prepared to be unprepared? The Participatory-Action-Researcher as Jazz-Improviser”. Troubling
Research, Birmingham, 8th July 2016.

“Responding Meaningfully to Youth Violence through Youth Work” International Conference for
Outreach Workers, Oslo, April 2014.

Harris, P. (2014) An Analysis of Melanie Klein’s “The Psychoanalysis of Children.

Responding Meaningfully to Youth Violence through Youth Work , ESC Bilbao, September 2013.
“Project ‘Touch’ – Street Based Youth Work and Street Violence”, University of Ireland, Maynooth,

“Making the Invisible Visible”, at “Words from the Street” International Conference for Street Based
Youth Work, Brussels, 2010