Sarah is Associate Dean for research in the School of Social Science and Humanities. Sarah is an Associate Professor in social policy specialising in childhood. She has over twenty years of teaching experience in higher education and international primary education. At the University of Suffolk she has taught across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses where her teaching primarily focuses on social policy and research methods. Sarah is a member of the Social Policy Association and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Sarah’s publications highlight the centrality of both subject areas and her work on international adoption policy has received international attention. Sarah’s methodological publications highlight strengths and limitations of the dominant participatory approaches to research with children and young people. Such perspectives are informed by her own research and are used in her teaching strategies to support students. Sarah is currently a consultant for the Open University childhood studies routes.
Sarah is one of the organising members of the biennial children and childhood conference held at the University of Suffolk. This conference attracts international delegates and presents diverse and contemporary research in the discipline.
Sarah is also one of the organising members of the biennial storytelling conference held at the University of Suffolk. This conference also attracts international delegates from an academic and creative background
Anna Max, thesis title: A critical comparative analysis of the accountability discourse in early years education in England and Finland
Maureen Garrett, thesis title: A qualitative exploration of library services and lifelong learning
Kate Sida-Nicholls, thesis title: An ethnography of newly qualified teachers
John Hadlow, thesis title: An autoethnography of negotiating an unconventional fatherhood jointly supervised with Dr Sandya K. Hewamanne University of Essex
Founding member and co- leader of the Centre for the study of Children and Childhood
Member of Centre for Research in Education and Childhood
Current ongoing research projects:
‘Playing amongst the dead’, a qualitative participatory study where young children’s perceptions of their play area in a graveyard are explored
‘changed Lives’, a qualitative study funded by Heritage Lottery where existing and previous student at University of Suffolk discuss how graduate status has changed their lives and the lives of their families.
Richards, S. and Clark, J. ‘Researching Children and Childhoods’ (forthcoming) London: Bloomsbury
Vine, T., Clark, J., Richards, S. & Weir, D. (eds) (2018) Ethnographic Encounters London: Palgrave
Richards, S., Clark, J., and Boggis, A., (2015) ‘Ethical Research with Children: Untold Narratives and Taboos’ Palgrave
Clark, J., and Richards, S. (2011) (eds) An introduction to Children, Young People and Social Policy London: Sage
Richards, S. ‘Chóng ér fēi: Cultural Performances of Belonging’ in Vine, T., Clark, J., Richards, S. & Weir, D. (eds) (2018) Ethnographic Encounters London: Palgrave
Vine, T., Clark, J., Richards, S. & Weir, D (2018) ‘Introduction’ in Vine, T., Clark, J., Richards, S. & Weir, D. (eds) (2018) Ethnographic Encounters London: Palgrave
Vine, T., Clark, J., Richards, S. & Weir, D (2018) ‘Conclusion’ in Vine, T., Clark, J., Richards, S. & Weir, D. (eds) (2018) Ethnographic Encounters London: Palgrave
Richards, S. ‘Historical Policy and Provision’ in Boggis, A. (ed) Disabled Childhoods (2018) London: Palgrave Macmillan
Richards, S. and Clark, J. ‘Research with Disabled Children’ in Boggis, A. (ed) Disabled Childhoods (2018) London: Palgrave Macmillan
Clark, J. and Richards, S. (2017) The cherished conceits of research with children? Does seeking the voice of the agentic child in participatory methods deliver what it promises? Sociological Studies of Childhood and Youth, Vol. 22, Emerald Publishing (in association with the ASA)
Richards, S. (2013) ‘An introduction to Children and Social Policy’ in Taylor, J. Bond, E. and Woods, M. (Eds.) Early Childhood Studies an Holistic, Multidisciplinary Introduction (3rd edn) London: Hodder Arnold
Richards, S. and Clark J. (2018) ‘[Dis]ordered spaces? Managing the competing rights of children in the gendered space of the school toilet’ Journal of Reproductive Systems and Sexual Disorders 1 (5) OAJRSD.MS.ID.000122
Richards, S, (2018) ‘‘I’m more than just adopted’: Narratives of belonging in intercountry adoption’ in "Adoption Experiences and the Tracing and Narration of Family Genealogies" special edition edited by Derek Kirton Genealogy
Richards, S. (2018) book review of Wall, J. (2017) ‘Children’s rights, today’s global challenge’ in Global Studies in Childhood
Richards, S. (2015) ‘HCIA Implementation and the Best Interests of the Child’ Report for Thematic Area 1 of the International Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy’ AFIN, No 78 Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness
Richards, S. ‘The Market in Babies Stories of Australian Adoption’ A Review in Australian Historical Studies (2015) available here.
Richards (2014) ‘HCIA Implementation and the Best Interests of the Child’ Report for Thematic Area 1 of the International Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy (11-13 August 2014) available here.
Richards, S. (2012) ‘What the map cuts up the story cuts across’: narratives of belonging in intercountry adoption’ in ‘Multiculturalism, identity and family placement by Phoenix, A., and Simmonds, J., (eds) in Adoption & Fostering vol 36 (2012) pp 104-112
Richards, S. (2012) ‘Why are we not allowed to comfort children when they’ve been told off?’: The social positioning of children and their capacity for ethical agency in Childhood Remixed vol. 1
Mythical creatures and playing amongst the dead The 14th International Conference on the Social Context of Death, Dying and Disposal - Centre for the Study of Death and Society: University of Bath - September 4th -7th 2019 (Dr Sarah Coombs)
‘I’m more than just adopted’: Narratives of belonging in intercountry adoption’ Paper accepted at ICAR 6 The 6th edition of the International Conference on Adoption Research on July 8-12, 2018, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
‘Developing inclusive practices for Postgraduate programme development’ co-authored abstract for Creating Inclusive postgraduate cultures and communities 2018 UKCGE Annual Conference
Invited to present at Disability Studies and Intersectionality: Blurring the Boundaries Disabled Children’s Research Forum University of Suffolk 30 June 2017 (with Jessica Clark)
Talking about the ‘hard stuff’: Australian and British transracial adoptive families negotiating racial difference and issues about belonging co-authored presentation accepted for 5th International Conference on Adoption Research Auckland University January 2016
Stories of Death and Adoption Paper Accepted: The Storytelling Project. 7th Global Meeting. Dubrovnik Croatia. February 2015
Presentation by invitation to Institute of Education, University College London (April 2014) ‘Stories of paper and blood: Narratives of belonging in families with daughters adopted from China’ Presentation by invitation to Institute of Education, University College London (April 2014)
Chóng ér fēi: Cultural Performances of Belonging presentation at Fourth International Conference on Adoption Research Bilbao Spain July 7-11 2013
Chóng ér fēi: Cultural Performances of Belonging Interactive poster presentation in Children and Childhoods Conference at University Campus Suffolk England 8th July 2013
‘What the Map cuts up the story cuts across’ research presentation at International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences 2012 Inter-Congress Children and Youth in a Changing World Bhubaneswar, India November, 2012
Symposium Presentation Beyond the Boundaries at Diversity in Childhood Conference University of Sheffield July 2012
Chóng ér fēi: Cultural performances of belonging at, Emerging Ethnographies Conference University Campus Suffolk June 2012
‘The illusion of autonomy in research with children’ by invitation Presentation by invitation on Research Methodology to Millennium Cohort Research Team at IoE, University of London July 2011