How my PhD has led to an exciting career in research

Image of Keir
Keir Irwin-Rogers
PhD graduate
School of Law
Keir undertook a PhD following a masters here in the School of Law. Upon completion he has embarked on an exciting career in research across a range of sectors, gaining invaluable knowledge and experience.

Study period: 2011 - 2015

PhD Title:

Beyond the Prison Gate: Licencees’ Perceptions of the Legitimacy of Power Holders'

What was the topic of your PhD?

My thesis explored post-custodial supervision from the perspective of those on licence. In particular, it explored licencees' perceptions of the legitimacy of probation and hostel workers, and considered how these perceptions were shaped. I considered it important to understand licencees' perceptions of the legitimacy of power holders, because research had consistently identified a strong relationship between people's perceptions of power holder legitimacy and their willingness to cooperate and comply with the rules created and/or implemented by these power holders. In this sense, developing an understanding of legitimacy in this context would help enable better supervisory relationships and more effective supervision and reintegration into the community.

Why did you pick the School of Law for your doctoral studies?

I already had an excellent experience of studying a Masters in Law with the School, and was excited to work with Dr. Gwen Robinson on a subject for which her research is internationally renowned.

What have you valued the most about your experience as a PhD student?

The supportive environment it offered, both in terms of the numerous and varied opportunities the School provided for PhD students to meet together -- both socially and professionally -- and the generous support from its members of staff (in particular my supervisory team, but also within the School as a whole).

Where did life take you after your PhD?

Immediately after my PhD, I worked as a researcher for a charity based in London. I was invited to support something called the cross-party Parliamentary Youth Violence Commission, which was established with the aim of understanding the root causes of violence between young people, and to identify evidence-based policy solutions to reduce such violence. That piece of work led to many interesting and valuable experiences, for example, giving evidence to numerous Parliamentary Committees, discussions with Government Ministers and a meeting at Number 10 Downing Street, and extended periods of time spent with countless incredible and passionate people working to support children and young people in various capacities. Ultimately, it led me to apply for a lectureship with The Open University, so that I could further develop this research.

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