Dr Laura Kelly

Dr Laura Kelly

Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology
Research Fellow

Contact details

School of Social Policy
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Laura Kelly is a Research Fellow in the Third Sector Research Centre. Her focus is the development of external funding applications.


  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2011
  • PhD in Sociology, University of Liverpool, 2008
  • MA in Research Methodology (Sociology and Social Policy), University of Liverpool, 2004
  • MA in Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam, 2002
  • BA (Joint Hons) English and Philosophy, University of Liverpool, 2001


Laura joined the TSRC in 2017. She has previously held lectureships at Durham University (in Sociology) and Liverpool John Moores University (in Criminology).


Social Research I


Laura’s research interests centre on youth crime and criminalisation, youth transitions and social inequalities. She is particularly interested in exploring how welfare and criminal justice policies intersect in areas of practice such as crime prevention, community safety and targeted youth support. She is also keen to understand the impact of such policies and broader welfare reform on practitioners and those involved with services.

Laura’s doctoral research analysed sports-based interventions intended to reduce crime and promote social inclusion. This work was funded by an ESRC +3 studentship. From 2012-15, she was co-investigator on an ESRC funded project entitled ‘Implementing Policy Change in Youth Justice’ (ES/J009857/1 and ES/J009857/2) (with PI Professor Jo Phoenix and RA Dr Vici Armitage). Most recently, Laura has worked with the Royal Court Liverpool Trust to explore how theatre can support young people’s personal and social education and contribute to community safety objectives (with CIs Dr Victoria Foster and Anne Hayes). This project was funded by Liverpool John Moores University and the Rayne Foundation.

Other activities

Laura is a member of the British Society of Criminology, the National Association for Youth Justice, the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, and the Howard League for Penal Reform. She follows the activities of the Voluntary Sector Studies Network and the British Sociological Association Youth Study Group.


Kelly, L. (forthcoming), ‘Youth and Sport for Development and Peace in the Global North’. In Darnell, S., Giulianotti, R., Howe, D. and Collison, H. (eds.) Sport for Development and Peace Handbook. Abingdon: Routledge.

Kelly, L., Foster, V. and Hayes, A. (2017), Evaluating Drama-based Crime Prevention: Young People’s Affective Engagement with Performance. Liverpool: Centre for the Study of Crime, Criminalisation and Social Exclusion, Liverpool John Moores University.

Armitage, V., Kelly, L. and Phoenix, J. (2016), Janus-faced youth justice work and the transformation of accountability, The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice, 55(4): 478-495, doi: 10.1111/hojo.12181.

Kelly, L. and Armitage V. (2015), Diverse diversions: youth justice reform, localized practices, and a ‘new interventionist diversion’?, Youth Justice, 15(2): 117-133, doi: 10.1177/1473225414558331.

Kelly, L., Foster, V. and Hayes, A. (2015), ‘Evaluating drama-based crime prevention: problems, politics, and new directions’. In Joseph, J. and Crichlow, W. (eds.) Alternative Offender Rehabilitation and Social Justice: Arts and Physical Engagement in Criminal Justice and Community Settings. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp.144-164.

Phoenix, J. and Kelly, L. (2013), ‘You have to do it for yourself’: responsibilization in youth justice and young people’s situated knowledge of youth justice practice, British Journal of Criminology, 53(3): 419-437, doi: 10.1093/bjc/azs078.

Kelly, L. (2013), Sports-based interventions and the local governance of youth crime and anti-social behavior, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 37(3): 261-283, doi: 10.1177/0193723512467193.

Kelly, L. (2012), Representing and preventing youth crime and disorder: intended and unintended consequences of targeted youth programmes in England, Youth Justice, 12(2), pp.101-117, doi: 10.1177/1473225412447160.

Kelly, L. (2011), ‘Social inclusion’ through sports-based interventions?, Critical Social Policy, 31(1), pp.126-150, doi: 10.1177/0261018310385442.

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