Sarah was a Senior Lecturer in Childhood in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities. Sarah began her career as a Registered Nurse at the Leeds General Infirmary. Subsequently, she graduated from the Open University with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and began a career in teaching. In 2014 Sarah gained a PhD from the University of Essex in Sociology, her thesis focusing on young people’s perspectives on end of life. Sarah is a co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Children and Childhood, part of the organising team for the biennial Children and Childhoods Conference and on the editorial team for the on-line journal Childhood Remixed.
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Sarah has extensive experience of teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Higher Education. She teaches a variety of modules across the childhood routes, predominantly focusing on the health and wellbeing of children, the impact of illness on children and families and the possibilities for intervention, family support and participation.
Sarah supervises undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations and teaches on the Graduate School programme for PhD students.
Sarah’s research interests remain predominantly within the interdisciplinary field of Death Studies; focusing on what might be deemed the ‘sensitive’ or even ‘taboo’ topic of children and death. Sarah is interested in qualitative and participatory methods that seek to uncover children’s perspectives, stories and experiences in this area.
Richards, S. and Coombs, S. (Eds) (Forthcoming 2021) Critical perspectives on research with children: Reflexivity, voice, interdependent agency and ethics, Bristol: Bristol University Press
Coombs, S. (2017) Young Peoples Perspectives on End-of-Life: Death, Culture and the Everyday, Palgrave Macmillan
Peer reviewed Journals:
Coombs, S. (2014) Deaths wears a T-Shirt: Listening to young people discuss the end of life, Mortality, 19(3), 284-30
Rawlings, V. & Coombs, S. (2016) Suffolk Young Peoples’ Health and Wellbeing Profiling Project 12-21, University Campus Suffolk iSeed with Suffolk County Council
The 14th International Conference, Death, Dying and Disposal, The University of Bath – Mythical creatures and playing amongst the dead. Co-Presenter, September 2019
The 1st International Story Telling Conference, University of Suffolk, - Children’s stories of death. Presenter, July 2018
The 13th International Conference, Death, Dying and Disposal (DDD)UCLAN – Magical spaces and where to find them. Presenter, September 2017
Hidden Harms Conference, University of Suffolk - Death wears a T-shirt! Adult assumptions of Hidden Harm and young people’s everyday relationship with death. Presenter, January 2017
British Sociological Society, Social Aspects of Death, Dying and Bereavement (DDB) Study Group – ‘Were Ok with death’ – Young people discuss the end-of-life. Presenter, November 2013
The 11th International Conference, Death, Dying and Disposal, The Open University Milton Keynes UK - Snowballs, Mad-Hatters, Shoeboxes and Stuff: A researcher’s experience of listening to young people talk about death. Presenter, September 2013
Children and Childhood’s Conference, University Campus Suffolk – Letting death out of the box. Presenter, July 2013
9th Global Conference: Making sense of death and dying, Salzburg Austria - Death wears a T-shirt: Conversations with young people about death and dying. Presenter, Nov 2012
4th International Conference, Celebrating Childhood Diversity, University of Sheffield UK – Beyond the boundaries. Co-Authored Symposium Presentation, July 2012
The 10th International Conference, Death, Dying and Disposal, Nijmegen Netherlands - Death wears a T-shirt: Conversations with young people about death and dying. Presenter, Sept 2011
University Campus Suffolk, Research Colloquium - Conversations with young people about death and dying – Initial findings and methodological approaches. Presenter, June 2011
Sarah is a member of:
The Early Childhood Studies Degree Network [ECSDN]
The British Sociological Society [BSS]
The British Psychological Society [BPS]
The Association for the Study of Death in Society [ASDS]
Royal College of Nursing [RCN]