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Dr Mel Hughes

  • Principal Academic
  • Bournemouth House BG501, 19 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, BH1 3LH
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Dr Mel Hughes is Principal Academic in Social Work at Bournemouth University (BU). Mel champions lived experience expertise through her roles as Academic Lead for the PIER (Public Involvement in Education and Research) partnership and Deputy Lead for the Research Centre for Seldom Heard Voices. Mel is committed to ensuring that those who are most affected by social, economic and health inequalities have a voice in shaping and informing research, education and practice. She is editor and co-author of the textbook: ‘A Guide to Statutory Social work interventions: the lived experience’. Chapters are co-authored with people with first-hand experience of statutory interventions including having a child removed; being detained under the Mental Health Act; and going through the adoption process. Mel is an editorial board member of the British Journal of Social Work and an Advance HE National Teaching Fellow.


Principal investigator: Parents Story Project: Gaining insight into parental substance use

Principal investigator: evidencing the impact of service user involvement in professional health and social work programmes

Gaining insight into what works to minimise loneliness and isolation. A participatory action research project in collaboration with the Poole Wellbeing Collaborative

Developing standards of care in residential homes: A participatory Action Research project in collaboration with The Patient Association

The impact of service user and carer involvement on students' subsequent social work practice: a follow up study

Principal Investigator. Gaining insight into the lived experience of older male carers (over the age of 85)

Principal Investigator. Exploring the relationship between rough sleepers and primary care services


Journal Articles



  • Rooney, Z. and Dray, R., 2019. I was detained under the Mental Health Act. In: Hughes, M., ed. A Guide to Statutory Social Work Interventions The Lived Experience. Red Globe Press.
  • Kleipoedszus, S. and Leanne, 2019. My Child was taken into care. In: Hughes, M., ed. A Guide to Statutory Social Work Interventions. The Lived Experience. London: Red Globe Press, 95-107.
  • Hughes, M. and Warren, A., 2018. Use of simulation as a tool for assessment and for preparing students for the realities and complexities of the workplace. Enhancing Employability in Higher Education through Work Based Learning. 73-89.



  • Hughes, M., 2012. Is social work education life changing?: a unitary appreciative inquiry into the impact of social work education on a person's beliefs, values and behaviour. PhD Thesis. Bournemouth University, School of Health and Social Care.


  • End of Life from a Carer's Perspective, 2019. Film.
  • Understanding self management for people with a long term neurological condition, 2019. Film.
  • Transforming health through lifestyle change, 2019. Film.
  • Living with an enteral tube, 2019. Film. Bournemouth, Dorset: Bournemouth University. Available from:
  • Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, 2018. Film.
  • Living with Crohn's: Lou's story, 2017. Film.
  • Experiences of using technology to manage health conditions: Derick's story, 2017. Film. BU PIER Partnership Website: Bournemouth University.
  • Experiences of using technology to manage health conditions: Laura's story, 2017. Film. BU PIER Partnership Website: Bournemouth University.
  • Experiences of using technology to manage health conditions: Carol's story, 2017. Film. BU PIER Partnership Website: Bournemouth University.
  • Simulated Child Protection Conference, 2017. Film.
  • Mothers' experiences of having their baby removed at birth, 2017. Film.
  • Johnny's story, 2016. Film.

PhD Students

  • Debbee Houghton. Using midwives perspectives to unravel medicine management in contemporary practice
  • Albert Heta. Imagining New Futures: Engaging Young People Through Participatory Arts in Post-Conflict Kosovo
  • Helen Ribchester. a study into the perceptions and engagement in reflective practice of occupational therapists in India.
  • Charlotte Clayton. Models of maternity care for women with low socioeconomic status, living socially complex lives: What works, for whom, and in what circumstances
  • Matt Simpson. Exploring decision making in the Approved Mental Health Professional role

Profile of Teaching PG

  • First substantive placement
  • Final substantive placement
  • Social work dissertation (supervisor)
  • Graduate Certificate in Practice Education (Enabling learners)
  • Msc Clinical Research (Public Involvement in Research unit lead)

Profile of Teaching UG

  • First substantive placement
  • BA social work: Learning from the lived experience unit
  • Final substantive placement


  • Patient voice (Community fund (Healthwatch Dorset), 04 Feb 2019). In Progress
  • Older carers story project (Dorset Community Fund, 19 Nov 2017). Completed
  • Film creation to embed public involvement in education (BU Centre for Excellence in Learning (CEL), 06 Feb 2017). Completed
  • The power of narrative and stories in enabling learning for professional practice (Higher Education Academy, 16 Apr 2013). Completed

Internal Responsibilities

  • Academic lead for BU PIER partnership, BU Public involvement in Education and Research (PIER) partnership. <a href="" class="iconRight" target="blank"><i class="fa fa-external-link"></i></a>
  • Deputy Lead of Research Centre for Seldom Heard Voices, Research Centre for Seldom Heard Voices
  • Programme lead for BA and MA Social work, BA and MA social work

Conference Presentations

  • Humanisation Conference 2018, Humanising social work practice. Reflections on writing a book with service users and carers. A Guide to Statutory Social Work Interventions: The lived experience., 20 Jun 2018, Bournemouth
  • SocNet European Social work education conference, SocNet International Social work Education Conference. Bournemouth University,16-18 April 2018 Embedding the lived experience into Social work Education: the BU model., 16 Apr 2018, UK
  • INVOLVE conference 2018, Building on a partnership’s experiences from coordinating involvement in health and social care education to developing user-led research: lessons learnt, 28 Nov 2017, London
  • Humanisation Conference 2017, The older male carers research project, 28 Jun 2017, Bournemouth, UK
  • Joint Social Work Education Conference: Celebrating that which unifies us, Unitary appreciative inquiry – research method, therapeutic intervention and innovative pedagogy., 13 Jul 2016, Milton Keynes
  • Challenges and best practice in co-production, Taking a life of its own: reflections on co-production with a theatre company and film makers’, 18 May 2016, Sheffield University
  • Service user and carer coordinators in HE, Sharing good practice, 28 Oct 2015, Bournemouth
  • Gaining insght into parental substance use, The Parents Story Project: Unitary appreciative inquiry, 29 Apr 2015, Bournemouth


  • Doctorate in Professional Practice in Social Work Education (Bournemouth University, 2012)
  • Practice Educator award in Social work practice education (BU, 2005)
  • MA in Social Work (Edinburgh University, 1997)


  • Special Recognition Carers Award for the Older Carers Research study (Bournemouth Echo Carers Awards, 2018)
  • Finalist (shortlisted) The David Watson International Award for community partnerships (The David Watson International Award for community partnerships, 2017)
  • Finalist of Unsung Hero category (Bournemouth University VC Award, 2017)
  • Shine overall winner for ‘Hearing the Patient Voice in Education and Training’ (HEA Wessex, 2015)
  • Senior Fellow (HEA, 2015)


  • HCPC, Member,
The data on this page was last updated at 04:17 on April 11, 2021.