Image of Jadwiga LeighDr Jadwiga Leigh

Lecturer in Social Work

(BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD)

Telephone: 0114 222 6407 (external), 26407 (internal)
Room: Elmfield, LG12


Jadwiga is a Lecturer of Social Work in the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield. In 2005 she qualified as a social worker and has since worked in both statutory and voluntary child and family settings up until 2013. Prior to qualification, she worked as a residential support worker in a number of different areas such as: learning disabilities, disability and older people.

In 2010 Jadwiga began her PhD, which focused on professional identity and child protection culture both here in the UK and abroad in Belgium. The method she used was that of a comparative ethnography which included visual methodology. She is currently in the process of writing a monograph from the findings of her thesis which is entitled: Blame, culture and child protection.

Jadwiga is a member of the Editorial Board for Child and Family Social Work.


Jadwiga's research interests are:

  • The impact of blame on social work practice;
  • The way in which professional social workers construct their identity;
  • How organisational culture affects and influences the practice of social work;
  • How European systems and models of child protection social work can be utilised in the UK;
  • Qualitative methodologies such as ethnography, narrative and visual methods.

Jadwiga discusses the Experiencing the Social Work World exhibition, which took place at the People's History Museum in 2017, depicting the lived experiences of social workers through a series of artwork.

Funded Research Projects
Date Sponsor Details
2018 Public Engagement Fund New Beginnings: An Impact Case Study (PI).
2017 ESRC Festival of Social Science: Experiencing the Social Work World exhibition.
2016-2018 ESRC Organisations, staff support and the dynamics and quality of social work practice: a qualitative longitudinal study of child protection work (Co-I).
2016-2017 ESRC Re-humanising Social Workers: Using Visual Methods to Explore the Lived Experiences of Social Workers.
2016-2017 Innovation, Impact and Knowledge Exchange (IIKE) support fund, University of Sheffield Developing specialist practice resources for child welfare and family support practitioners (Co-I).


Jadwiga teaches on the MA Social Work and MA Advanced Practice with Children and their Families.


Publications since 2005

Leigh, J. and Laing, J. (2018) Thinking about child protection: Case studies for critical reflection and discussion. Bristol: Policy Press

Leigh, J. T. (2017). Recalcitrance, compliance and the presentation of self: Exploring the concept of organisational misbehaviour in an English local authority child protection service. Children and Youth Services Review, 79, 612-619. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.07.016

Leigh, J. T. (2017). Atmospheres of mistrust and suspicion: Theorising on conflict and affective practice in a child protection social work agency. Qualitative Social Work. doi:10.1177/1473325017707028

Leigh, J. T., Worsley, A., & McLaughlin, K. (2017). An analysis of HCPC fitness to practise hearings: Fit to Practise or Fit for Purpose?. Ethics and Social Welfare. doi:10.1080/17496535.2017.1293119

Worsley, A., McLaughlin, K., & Leigh, J. T. (2017) A Subject of Concern: The experiences of social workers referred to the Health and Care Professions Council. British Journal of Social Work. doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcx005

Leigh, J. (2017) Blame, Culture and Child Protection. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. doi:10.1057/978-1-137-47009-6

Crossley, S. J. and Leigh, J. T. (2016). The ‘troubled’ case of Rotherham. Critical and Radical Social Work. 5(1), 23-40. doi:10.1332/204986016X14798319535531

Leigh, J. (2016) The story of the PPO Queen: The development and acceptance of a spoiled identity in child protection. Child and Family Social Work, 21(4):412-420. doi: 10.1111/cfs.12157

McLaughlin, K., Leigh, J. and Worsley, A. (2016) The State of Regulation: From the General Social Care Council to the Health and Care Professions Council. British Journal of Social Work, 45(4): 825-838. doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcv030

Leigh, J. (2015) ‘Being brave, doing creative: Using visual ethnography in social work research to explore the impact of space and environment’ in Hardwick, l., Smith, R. and Worsley, A. (Eds) Innovations in Social Work Research. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Leigh, J. (2014) Crossing the divide between them and us: Using photography to explore the impact organisational space can have on identity and child protection practice. Qualitative Social Work, 14(3): 416-435. doi: 10.11772F1473325014555442

Leigh, J. (2014) A tale of the unexpected: Managing an insider dilemma by adopting the role of outsider in another setting. Qualitative Research Journal, 14(4):428-441. doi: 10.1177/1468794113481794.

Leigh, J. (2014) The process of professionalization: Exploring the professional identities of child protection social workers. Journal of Social Work, 14(6):625-644. doi: 10.1177/1468017313504380.

Other Publications

Leigh, J. (2013) Constructing professional identity in child protection social work: A comparative ethnography. Unpublished PhD thesis. University of Salford.

Shardlow, S., Leigh, J., and Morriss, L. (2013) An audit of doctoral students in Social Work across the UK: a need for a national network. The Higher Education Academy.

Leigh, J. (2013) The blame game rippling through social work fails kids at risk. The Conversation. Published online, 3rd December 2013.


  • 8th Joint Social Work and Education Conference (2014).
  • Awarded the Professor John Triseliotis prize for outstanding contribution by an early career researcher to child and family social work.
  • Royal Society of Medicine Forum for Intellectual Disability (2005).
  • Received first prize for carrying out an ‘innovative’ health promotion project in a forensic institution for people with learning disabilities. Jadwiga explored sexual health issues, around preventing testicular cancer, with residents who were receiving treatment for having committed sexual offences.