Gill Main

Job Title: UAF in Young People & Precarity

I will be beginning my University Academic Fellowship in Leeds on the topic of Young People and Precarity, working with Professors Pia Christensen and Tracy Shildrick. I am excited to be starting in this new role, and am eager to meet and form collaborations with other Fellows with related interests.

Precarity refers to instability and insecurity (especially in employment but with knock-on effects on relationships, identity, and material and psychological welfare), purportedly arising as a result of globalisation and neo-liberal policies. A disproportionate impact on young people has been observed. My plan is to critically investigate precarity, drawing on quantitative data and also young people’s perceptions and accounts of their experiences to help establish the extent to which precarity, and the precariat as an emergent social class, tallies with these.

I completed my PhD (co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and The Children’s Society) at the University of York in 2014. My topic was the development of an index of child deprivation based on children’s own perceptions of their needs, and its value in helping to explore links between child poverty and children’s subjective well-being. I continue to work with The Children’s Society on their Well-being Research Programme ( Alongside my PhD, I was involved as a researcher in the 2012 UK Poverty and Social Exclusion Survey, focusing on child poverty and social exclusion. Before beginning my PhD I worked in the voluntary sector, managing a small charity which provided support and advocacy to people who had experienced childhood sexual abuse.

My current work is on the Children’s Worlds study, an international survey which covers a diverse range of countries and seeks to investigate children’s subjective well-being based on children’s reports of what is important to them, and drawing on children as participants and reporters on their own lives. Additionally, I am a Partner Investigator on an Australian Research Council funded project at the University of New South Wales, ‘Material Deprivation and Social Exclusion among Young Australians: A Child-Focused Approach’, which seeks to replicate my PhD research among children in New South Wales.

My twitter account (@gmain1) is used sporadically; I can also be found on Research Gate (