I am a university professor and have been since 2014, holding professorial titles at four different universities – Sheffield Hallam, Derby, the Australian National University (as an Honorary Professor) and now at Leeds Trinity University where I am in the process of setting up the first UK Centre for Addiction Recovery Research.
But that is only a small part of the story. I am not a traditional university academic in two key respects – my work is very much applied and is about making an impact and a difference in my chosen area of research, teaching and policy work. More of this later. I am also not a traditional academic in the sense that I don’t have a traditional academic discipline or department and most universities struggle to know where to put me.
I was trained first as a psychologist and second as a criminologist but neither of these really encapsulate what I do although both have had a profound impact on my way of thinking any my way of working. I see myself as a social researcher and a research activist who, in the UK at least, has led the endeavours to provide an academic legitimacy and evidence base to the incredible work done by people in recovery for those who are managing their own recovery journeys.
I have written a lot about the subjects of addiction treatment, recovery and about criminal justice – eight books or edited collections, around 230 journal articles and about 70 technical reports or book chapters – but most of my work now is about trying to develop a science of recovery capital