Dr Katie Ellis

BSc, MSc, PhD

Division of Nursing and Midwifery, Health Sciences School

Senior Lecturer in Child and Family Health and Wellbeing

+44 114 222 2059

Full contact details

Dr Katie Ellis
Division of Nursing and Midwifery, Health Sciences School
Barber House Annexe
3 Clarkehouse Road
S10 2HQ

I joined the Health Sciences School in June 2017 having previously worked as a researcher at the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth in the University of Sheffield.

Research interests

I use research to advocate for young people living in out-of-family environments and champion young people as the experts of their own experiences. I have conducted research with children living in Youth Offending Institutions, Secure Children’s Homes, Special Education Provisions and also with children living at home with their parents.

I am interested in conceptions of vulnerability, responsibilisation and resilience and my research considers these themes in terms of young people’s criminal pathways and sexual exploitation. While much of my past research focusses on the experiences of young people who have been ‘let down’ by a system which was supposed to be caring for them, my current research focusses on the experiences of young people who successfully transitioned from being ‘in care’ to attend university.

Current Research

Pathways to University from Care

Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship:

Set against the backdrop of resilience, this research explores the notion of ‘care’ within the scarcely trodden pathway between local authority care and university. This research shares the voices of 234 care experienced students to make policy recommendations for those looking to promote the engagement of care leavers in higher education. Download our first report here


Journal articles


  • Fairbrother H & Ellis K (2018) Everyday Family Food Practices, Families, Intergenerationality, and Peer Group Relations (pp. 149-168). Springer Singapore RIS download Bibtex download
  • Fairbrother H & Ellis K (2016) Everyday Family Food Practices In Punch S, Vanderbeck R & Skelton T (Ed.), Families, Intergenerationality and Peer Group Relations (pp. 1-20). Singapore: Springer. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Curtis P, James A & Ellis K (2009) 'She's got a really good attitude to healthy food ... Nannan's drilled it into her': Inter-generational Relations within Families, CHANGING FAMILIES, CHANGING FOOD (pp. 77-+). RIS download Bibtex download
  • James A, Curtis P & Ellis K (2009) Negotiating Family, Negotiating Food: Children as Family Participants?, CHILDREN, FOOD AND IDENTITY IN EVERYDAY LIFE (pp. 35-51). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Forero O, Ellis K, Metcalfe A & Brown R (2009) Institutional Dining Rooms: Food Ideologies and the Making of a Person, CHANGING FAMILIES, CHANGING FOOD (pp. 226-+). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Curtis P, James A & Ellis K (2009) Fathering through Food: Children's Perceptions of Fathers' Contributions to Family Food Practices, CHILDREN, FOOD AND IDENTITY IN EVERYDAY LIFE (pp. 94-111). RIS download Bibtex download


Research group

Katie welcomes doctoral applications from students interested in the following research areas:

  • Children’s decision making
  • Issues or challenges in care
  • Transitions out of care
  • Experiences of care experienced adults
  • Perceptions of vulnerability
  • Child sexual exploitation

Young and homeless: Welfare Reforms in Practice

British Academy Small Grant (With Dr Danielle Leahy Laughlin) This research shares the experiences of young people living in a specialist youth homeless hostel and shares recommendations for those looking to support young people with no fixed abode.

TURNING 18: Independence or cliff edge? 

Crook Public Service Fellowship (With Alice Field, Robin Sen, Will Mason and Claire Johnston)
This research considers the experiences of young women living in a specialised residential unit for young people with significant needs. By sharing the voices of young people, and the professionals working with them, we consider the implications for those turning 18 and despite being assessed as needing a high level of support, are faced with the tremendous task of moving towards independent living. 

'There are no good kids here: Girls’ Experiences of Secure Accommodation’ ESRC Case Studentship PhD Project

Changing Families, Changing Food: Children as Familiy Participants  Leverhulme Large Network Grant (With Professor Allison James and Professor Penny Curtis)

Young People’s Pathways in and out of Crime - ESRC Large Grant and Priority Network (With Professor Derek Armstrong, Professor Alan France and Jean Hine)