Dr Gill Main

Dr Gill Main


I joined the University of Leeds in 2015. Before this I worked at the Social Policy Research Centre, University of York.  Previously I have worked on a range of national and international projects focusing on child poverty and social exclusion, including the 2012 UK Poverty and Social Exclusion Study, the Children's Worlds study, and The Children's Society Well-being Research Programme.

Research interests

My research focuses on child poverty, social exclusion, and subjective well-being.  I am particularly interested in children’s and families’ own perspectives on child poverty, and how listening to children and families can help us to better understand and address child poverty.

I have conducted research in partnership with a range of civil society and public sector organisations, including The Children’s Society, the Child Poverty Action Group, and Leeds City Council.  Most of my research draws on mixed methods, combining surveys with interviews, focus groups, and observations.  I am particularly interested in survey research with children, and in the use of longitudinal mixed methods.

Current research projects

I am PI on Fair Shares and Families, an ESRC-funded project run in partnership with The Children’s Society and Leeds City Council Children and Families Services. This research investigates the links between child poverty and subjective well-being, with a focus on how children and families understand and negotiate the sharing of family resources.

<iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/293149281" width="600" height="360" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

An animation based on some of the findings from the Fair Shares and Families project

  • I am PI on A Different Take, funded by the Leeds Social Sciences Impact Acceleration Account in association with the ESRC and run in partnership with the Child Poverty Action Group and Leeds City Council Children and Families Services. This project aims to promote the voices of children, young people and families with direct experience of poverty to actors in policy, practice and media settings.
  • I am Partner Investigator on Deprivation and Exclusion among Young People, funded by the Australian Research Council. This project replicates my doctoral research – which developed and tested a child-derived measure of child deprivation - in New South Wales.

Professional activities

  • I am co-editor of the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice
  • I am co-editor in chief and co-founder of the Childhood Vulnerability Journal
  • I regularly review articles for a wide range of journals, including Child Indicators Research, Children and Youth Services Review, Social Indicators Research, the Journal of Social Policy, and Environment and Planning A.
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Student education

I am deputy programme leader for the MA Childhood Studies, and teach on the BA Childhood Studies and MA Childhood Studies.  My teaching relates to child poverty and well-being; children’s rights and social justice; and quantitative and mixed research methods.

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>