Remembering Dr Ben Pattison, an outstanding Housing and Welfare Researcher

Dr Ben Pattison
Dr Ben Pattison

CHASM and the Housing and Communities Research Group (HCRG), in particular, mourn the loss of their friend and talented researcher, Dr Ben Pattison, who recently passed away.  

Ben was an exceptional ESRC funded CHASM Doctoral Researcher at the University of Birmingham from 2012-2015. The title of his PhD was ‘Understanding the growth of the private rented sector in England: Has Generation Rent been Priced Out?'.  During his time at the University of Birmingham he worked as a teaching associate and a researcher and was an active member of CHASM and HCRG. This included presenting his research findings at Housing and Communities Research Network seminars and undergraduate Housing and Communities module lectures based on his PhD research and input to  a CHASM  international project comparing housing wealth and welfare and HCRG projects on Social Lettings Agencies.  

Ben was a passionate advocate for policies to help those most disadvantaged by the inequalities within our society’s housing system.  At the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University, Ben worked on various housing-related research projects particularly around homelessness, social lettings, affordability and young people.  This included a follow on project with HCRG on Social lettings Agencies for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. 

Prior to his PhD Ben worked for the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF), now renamed World Habitat, on a variety of topics including Housing Benefit, self-help housing and the private rented sector.  For three years, he was a trustee of a charity which provided accommodation for refugees and asylum seekers in the East Midlands. Ben was a member of the executive committee of the Housing Studies Association from 2012 to 2018.  He also had experience of conducting research for public and third sector organisations across subjects including health and international development. 

Read the tribute to Ben written by his colleagues at CRESR for the Housing Studies Association.

Our Birmingham memories of Ben include:

'I was lucky enough to have known Ben in three of the organisations that he worked for over the years. I first met him at Building and Social Housing Foundation where he was part of a remarkable team of young researchers who I worked with on empty homes and community led housing. Later I was one of his PhD supervisors for his thesis on the growth of private renting at Birmingham University and valued his wider contribution to teaching and research seminars. Finally I worked with him on two research projects on social lettings agencies, one at Birmingham and later at Sheffield Hallam University. The things I remember most about working with Ben were his understated and calm manner, his deep concern about social issues, and his ability to produce high quality forensic research work that hit the nail on the head. He also had a wonderful dry sense of humour. These qualities made supervising his PhD a pleasure. It was also a  priviledge to later work in research teams with him as he was a great team player and would always deliver what it said on the tin.'  

David Mullins, Emeritus Professor of Housing Policy

 'I knew Ben as a fellow doctoral student at the University of Birmingham, and as a housing research colleague. I had the pleasure over the past few years of working with Ben on the Social Lettings research projects at the University of Birmingham and Sheffield Hallam. Ben was an active and respected member of the housing research community, and it was always great to have a catch up chat with him at seminars and conferences.

What struck me about Ben was his intelligence, proficiency and focus. He had a quiet determination and always seemed to have a clear understanding of his research aims and purpose and how to achieve these, whether it was in his accomplished thesis or later through his excellent and impactful research work. He was highly capable and confident as both a team leader and collaborator. Ben seemed unassuming but also astute, serious but wry too. Ben was a genuinely decent person who will be missed by his colleagues in the housing community.'

 Halima Sacranie, Housing and Communities Research Group Lead

If you have memories of Ben that you would like to share, please contact Ed Ferrari, Director of CRESR.