Results matching “jobbing sociologist”


Hilary is a writer, researcher and lecturer.  Her lectures, reports, publications responsibilities & published papers include ~ (tbc) 2010: A Million Small Conversations, book on dialogue to support positive public service and other social transitions in a rapidly changing world (tbc) late...

Hilary is a writer, researcher and lecturer.  Her lectures, reports, publications responsibilities & published papers include ~

(tbc) 2010: A Million Small Conversations, book on dialogue to support positive public service and other social transitions in a rapidly changing world

(tbc) late 2009: 'Green Hubs, Social Inclusion and Community Engagement', in a professional journal

2009: 'Knowledge, the new currency in regeneration', Journal of Urban Regeration and Renewal, December

2009: Scoping Report, Blackburn Young Pakistanis Achievement Commission, November

2009: 'Where should we put the 'evidence base' when we make policy?', New Start blog, July

2009: Biography ('The tale of a jobbing sociologist'), British Sociological Association Sociologists Outside Academia magazine, June

2009: 'Can Liverpool's Arts And Culture Businesses Thrive Post-2008?', Liverpool Chamber magazine of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, January / February

2009: 'Was Liverpool a truly inclusive Capital of Culture in 2008?', New Start magazine, January

2008: 'Arachnid 'art', big toys and cultural communties', a-n magazine, December

2008: 'Liverpool 08: Cultural Turn or Cultural Tourism?', lecture at the Architectural Association seminar supported by the Architectural Review, London, 5 December

2008: 'If only scientists could remember - science has its responsibilities', an analysis of the DIUS A Vision for Science and Society, in Science Review, 5 November.

2008: DIUS Science and Society consultation submission, October

2008: From 'Regeneration to Sustainability: A Northern Take On Knowledge', keynote address at the NUREC conference, Liverpool, 28 July

2008: 'Regeneration Rethink' (equality and diversity), Public Service Review: Transport, Local Government and the Regions, issue 12, Spring

2008: 'Places for People: Hope Street Quarter as a case study', Communities and the Public Realm Masterclass, Bradford, 21 April

2008: 'Alice in economic context', (re: Big Science in Regional Economic Contexts: Daresbury Laboratory and the ALICE programme) Education Guardian letters page, 13 April

2008: Introductory speaker (and instigator) at the BURA Equality and Diversity Network Launch, London, 20 February

2008: Member, Editorial Support Team, Neighbourhood: The International Journal of Neighbourhood Renewal

2007: Social Research in Defra, report of the Defra Science Advisory Council (by Prof. Chris Gaskell (chair), Hilary Burrage, Prof Ian Diamond, Prof. Peter Guthrie, Prof Philip Lowe and Sir John Marsh), Autumn

2007: Putting scientific research in context, The Guardian (letters), 17 February

2006: 'Can I have a speaker that reflects the community? Too white, too male and too posh. It's time conferences had an injection of diversity', New Start, 27 October, p.11 (website version)

2006: 'Should women be starting more businesses?', Vision (Liverpool Daily Post's regional business magazine), Summer, p.52

2006: Sure Start in Halewood: Service Provision Overview, report for Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, March

2006: 'No-Win or Win-Win Gender and Babies Agenda?', Diverse Liverpool , March, pp. 113-115

2006: 'Knowledge Economies and Big Science: A challenge for governance,' Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) Local Work: Voice, No.68, February (website version)

2006: 'Make a move too far and you might find yourself exposed', New Start, 27 January, p.11 (website version)

2005: 'Regional Issues around the Very High Skills Knowledge Economy', Knowledge Economy Network Conference, London

2005: Evaluation Report on the Positive Activities for Young People (PAYP) & Schools and Youth Service (SaYS) Collaborative Programme, Salford Youth Service

2005: 'The Hope Street Quarter, Liverpool', Northern European Cathedrals Conference, Liverpool2002: 'Cultural Tourism as a Catalyst for Renaissance', Mersey Partnership Cultural Impact Conference.

2000: Paper presented to the Secretary of State for Culture, and the Millennium Commissioners on the Hope Street Millennium Festival, London, September

2000: 'Imagine all the people - and all the things they'd do.....', Manifesto for a New Liverpool (eds: M. Lyons & J. Egan), University of Liverpool et al

2000: Art at the Heart: The Role of Established Cultural Quarters in City Renaissance (commissioning editor, for HOPES: The Hope Street Association)

1987-96: Member of Editorial Board of Gender and Education

1993: 'The Sociology of Science and the Science of Society', Chapter 1 of Sociology Reviewed (eds: T. Lawson et al), Collins Educational

1991 onwards: articles and reports in the arts media and cultural publications (eg: Classical Music magazine, writing as Frances South) & many response / positional documents for CAMPAM and HOPES.

1991: 'Gender, Curriculum and Assessment Issues at 14-16+', Gender and Education, vol.3, no.1 (March)

1990: 'Health Education', Chapter 4 in The New Social Curriculum (ed: B. Dufour), Cambridge University Press

1986-90: Editor, Social Science Teacher (national professional journal)

1989: '"Recent, Relevant Experience": How CATE legitimates narrowly defined concepts of teacher education' (with W. Boxall), Journal of Further and Higher Education, vol.13, no.3 (Autumn)

1987: 'Epidemiology and Community Health:a strained connection?', Social Science & Medicine, vol.25, no.8 - later cited by WHO

1987: 'Striking at the Heart: sociology's place in the school curriculum', The Guardian, 11 August

1987: The National Curriculum 5 - 16: Response of the Joint Forum of Academic and Teaching Associations in the Social Sciences

1986: Paper delivered to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences / SANA symposium of The Socio-Economic Consequences of World War Three (July, Budapest)

1986: ATSS Submission to the Winfield ESRC Enquiry on PhD Completion Rates

1984: 'Doctors and Patients - Bird's Eye or Worm's Eye View?', Scottish Medicine (December)

1983: 'Women University Teachers of Natural Science, 1971-2: An Empirical Study', Social Studies of Science, vol.13, no.1, (February) (Report of M.Sc. research of same title)


Hilary Burrage is a professional writer, researcher and consultant working mainly in the areas of sustainability, regeneration, social policy and knowledge ecology.  She has a Master's degree in Sociology, is a qualified teacher (now teaching on professional training courses about sustainable communities, entirely on-line) and is...

Hilary Burrage (2009).jpgHilary Burrage is a professional writer, researcher and consultant working mainly in the areas of sustainability, regeneration, social policy and knowledge ecology.  She has a Master's degree in Sociology, is a qualified teacher (now teaching on professional training courses about sustainable communities, entirely on-line) and is a Non-Executive Director and / or member of a range of national and regional bodies concerned with progressive policy implementation. 

Hilary is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) .


Hilary's professional details are available on this website and on LinkedIn.  She also has a website magazine, Dreaming Realist, which is a journalistic look at life and where we all find ourselves as things happen and time goes by, and a website called a million small conversations, where she invites discussion on issues around progressive social change, for her intended book of the same title.

A brief lighthearted account of Hilary's career and activities to date is available here and a list of her publications etc can be found here.


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Salford MSc Sociology as a discipline in the UK was shaping up during the 1960s; but there was still an air of mystery about the whole thing when I chose to study it. There was no clear role model on which to base expectations. The discipline has however served me well ever since. For most of my working life I've been what might be called a Jobbing Sociologist. This is a version of the account I gave of my interwoven personal and professional experience, writing for the British Sociological Association's 'Sociologists Outside Academia' newsletter, published today.

Pre-History / HerStory (1950-), Social Science and Gender & Women.

1968 remains an iconic year for many. For some it represents a time of dramatic change preceding one’s own individual history, for others it was the start of a new way for us all to see the world.

But for me, 1968 was the point where the personal really hit the political-professional – the year I finished being a teenager and abandoned plans to be a natural scientist or a coloratura soprano (I’d tried both), and the year I got married and then enrolled for a degree in the most daring and mysterious subject I could think of: Sociology.

Needless to say, people opined that it would never last; but truth to tell my heart has stayed on both counts where I put it so long ago, and on many levels the two have interwoven over and over again as time marches on. Allies older and new will confirm that I’ve never been less than a fully paid-up feminist, but hard realities can sometimes get in the way of the more seductive theories of autonomy and self-determination.

My personal journey from undergraduate social science in the Nissen huts of the then North East London Polytechnic, to a freelance career as a writer and regeneration / sustainable communities consultant, via research and teaching Sociology and Social Policy in various institutions of Further and Higher Education and a decade of temporary ill-health ‘retirement’ when community activism was the only way to mitigate the tedium of physical immobility, has been part-moulded by my life as a spouse, mother, daughter, citizen and wage-earner. And I regret not a minute of it.

Following careers
I started my career in Sociology in London, because the Royal Academy of Music is where putative violinists such as my other half studied; we moved to Liverpool when he was appointed a member – as he still is - of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; I undertook my Master’s (Sociology of Science and Technology, 1973; the first serious piece of research on women scientists in the UK) at Salford, because by a miracle the (then very unusual) exact course I wanted was accessible from our new home city; my PGCE was at Liverpool, so every morning before lectures I could take our baby daughter to nursery.

Having been forced (just pre-1975 and the Sex Discrimination Act) to leave my original FE teaching post when I started a family, I taught the new Open University distance courses at home whilst also sewing in pre-school name tapes, and then returned to teach 'O' and 'A'-levels to many engaging young and older college students alongside checking juvenile homework. Later, I wrote the first-ever Sociology Access-to-HE modules, and academic papers and book chapters on aspects of Sociology. For some years I was (unpaid) commissioning editor for the journal Social Science Teacher, working from my prototype Amstrad computer.

Getting involved
I was also an active member of the British Sociological Association (BSA) Executive Committee, instigating the organisation, FACTASS (Forum of Academic and Teaching Associations in the Social Sciences), which eventually saw off the Margaret Thatcher-Keith Joseph proposal effectively to remove any notions of personal, health, social and civic education (PHSCE) from the school curriculum: ‘History finishes at 1945’ .... Oh no, it doesn’t, not if you’re teaching a decent school curriculum.

And as we all debated in those difficult times, I was learning for real how the prism of Sociology can offer a focus and analysis which rarely fails to stimulate or challenge.

Work experience
Early on, I was a social worker in Liverpool’s dire council estates, and briefly a youth worker; later I was Research Associate in teenage pregnancy at Liverpool Medical School, and then Head of Health and Social Care at a Merseyside FE college. And in the 1980s and ‘90s I had to take several years out of employment with severe arthritis; so I learnt first hand to cope with illness and disability (which much illuminated my later work as an NHS Trust Non-Executive Director and as a Lay Partner of the Health Professions Council) alongside how, as a volunteer and political activist, to lobby for arts and community organisations, so finding my way into the local and regional centres of decision-making.

Eventually from that arose the initiative to regenerate the area in Liverpool I designated as Hope Street Quarter – and thereby my re-involvement in the whole sustainable development agenda, on a very different basis from when my 1970s membership of Friends of the Earth and Scientists Against Nuclear Arms had been seen as almost subversive. Being Vice-Chair of the North West (region of England) Sustainable Development Group, and a Non-Executive Director and Equality and Diversity Champion of BURA, the British Urban Regeneration Association, are pretty respectable activities.

Widening the portfolio
And in the meantime I have undertaken independent consultancies on Sure Start and local authority Youth Services, helping to realign public service provision; I’m working with Muslim colleagues on a mosque project to engage disaffected young people, and to establish a Foundation for the inspiring black British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. I’ve spent three fascinating years as Lay Member of the Defra Science Advisory Council (actually working in the corridors of power of which C.P. Snow wrote so compellingly, not long before I went to Salford all those years ago).

I’m currently teaching practitioners about sustainable communities online for the Homes and Communities Agency Academy; I’ve addressed conferences on my take on regional science and the new knowledge economy (‘Knowledge is like water – it flows where it can...’). I write and am a referee for regeneration journals; I have a very active website; plus I suspect I’m about to become the author of a book on communicating to achieve grounded sustainability.

The personal and the professional
So many hours on trains with the laptop, so much still to do; and now delightful Grandma duties too. My personal life trajectory has always and indelibly framed the professional one, but how else could it have been?

Free-lancing as a social scientist isn’t an easy way to earn a living, but I don’t think that’s the point. Knowledge may be like water, but sociological analysis is pure crystal. It sharpens perceptions and illuminates the social world. That’s invaluable in innumerable ways, not least as a consultant-practitioner and enabler of progressive social change.

This article was first published in the British Sociological Association's newsletter for its Sociologists Outside Academia group: Sociology for All, Issue No. 7 (Summer 2009).

Read more articles about Pre-History / HerStory (1950-), Social Science and Gender & Women, and see Hilary's Publications, Lectures & Talks.


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