Dr Anna Barker

Dr Anna Barker


I joined the School of Law as a Lecturer in Criminal Justice in 2016, and I was promoted to Associate Professor in Criminal Justice & Criminology in 2020.

I am a graduate of the University of Leeds (MA Criminological Research with distinction, 2007 and PhD, 2012), the University of Bradford (Post-Graduate Certificate in Higher education Practice) and the University of Brighton (BA Hons Social Science with first class, 2005), and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Previously, I was a Lecturer in Sociology (Crime & Deviance) at the University of Bradford (2011-2016). 


  • Academic Impact & Engagement Co-Lead (2019-)
  • Programme Manager (MSc Criminal Justice & Criminology/LLM Criminal Justice & Criminal Law (2018-2021

Research interests

Three inter-connecting themes shape and unite my research interests and projects. These are:

  • The governance, regulation and policing of urban public spaces, notably public parks
  • Perceptions of (in)security and fear of crime
  • Social and cultural diversity, conflict and conviviality

In 2022, I commenced a new collaborative project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, on ‘Fostering safer parks for women and girls in West Yorkshire and beyond through multi-agency collaboration, knowledge exchange and the co-design of research-informed guidance’ with West Yorkshire Combined AuthorityWest Yorkshire PoliceKeep Britain TidyMake Space for GirlsLeeds Women’s Aidthe Vulnerability and Policing Futures Research Centre and the University of Leeds which aims to share and exchange knowledge, evidence and best practices to improve understanding of women and girls’ safety in parks and co-produce research-informed parks guidance. More information can be found here.

In 2022, I completed a collaborative project, funded by the Home Office, on ‘Safer Parks for Women and Girls’ with West Yorkshire Combined Authority. This project used Q methodology to explore the views of women and girls in West Yorkshire towards safety in parks, identifying areas of consensus and divergence in what makes parks feel safe or unsafe. The findings are shaping the development of design and management guidance for new and existing UK public parks.

In 2022, I co-founded and launched with Dr Nicola Dempsey, University of Sheffield, and Carl McClean, Keep Britain Tidy, the Parks & Green Spaces Research Portal. The Portal provides a free and accessible platform to connect researchers, policymakers and green space managers in the UK and internationally. It aims to facilitate knowledge exchange and foster collaboration to inform the best practice management of parks and green spaces for the benefit of communities and the environment.

In 2019, I completed a collaborative project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage & Community Funds, Big Lottery and Nesta, on 'The Leeds Parks Fund: Developing a Model for Charitable Giving to Parks' with Leeds City Council Parks and Countryside Service, Leeds Community Foundation and the Leeds Parks and Green Spaces Forum. This project formed part of the national ‘Rethinking Parks’ programme. The findings have shaped the development of the Love Leeds Parks charitable initiative, the marketing strategies of Parks Foundations across the country, and informed government policymakers thinking on new park revenue streams. 

In 2015-17, I led a major research project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in partnership with Leeds City Council Parks and Countryside Service, on people’s experiences and expectations of urban public parks across time. This two-year multi-disciplinary project: ‘The future prospects of urban parks: The life, times and social order of Victorian public parks as places of social mixing’ (Grant No: AH/N001788/2, 2015-2017) explored expectations about the social role of urban public parks in the past, the present and the future, and examined how these relate to people’s everyday experiences of the park and its regulation. This was a collaborative research project with Dr David Churchill and Professor Adam Crawford.

Prior to this, I have previously undertaken policy-focussed research on: (i) reassurance policing and public insecurities in collaboration Safer Leeds (Community Safety Partnership) as part of an ESRC Collaborative Award Studentship; (ii) probation programmes for racially motivated offenders in collaboration with West Yorkshire Probation Service; and (iii) the management and regulation of Bradford's City Park in collaboration with Bradford Metropolitan District Council.

<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>


  • PhD, University of Leeds
  • MA Criminological Research (Distinction), University of Leeds
  • PG Certificate of Higher Education Practice, University of Bradford
  • BA (Hons) Social Science (First Class), University of Brighton

Professional memberships

  • British Society of Criminology
  • European Society of Criminology

Student education

In 2018-21, I managed the MSc Criminal Justice and Criminology and the LLM Criminal Justice and Criminal Law programmes.

I teach a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules on the BA Criminal Justice and Criminology, the MSc Criminal Justice and Criminology and the LLM Criminal Justice and Criminal Law. Teaching areas since 2016 have included: Policing, Criminal Justice Processes, and Contemporary Criminological Theory and Approaches.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Criminal Justice Studies
  • Centre for Law and Social Justice

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>