Denise Turner

Dr Denise Turner is a Senior Lecturer in the Social Work department at London Metropolitan University. Prior to this, she worked for over a decade within the Department of Social Work and Social Care at the University of Sussex. Denise has a strong track record of innovative teaching and research.

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Denise Turner

Denise holds a PhD in Social Work and has been the recipient of several University of Sussex Teaching Awards including an Excellence in Teaching Award (2015), a University Teaching Innovation Award (2015) and a Technology Enhanced Learning Award for 2015/16. Additionally, Denise was awarded four Student Led Teaching Awards for 2015/16. She is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her teaching and research methods are characterised by the innovative use of digital practices and co-construction with service users and students. She also developed an innovative mobile app' for use by social work students and practitioners in partnership with local business. This work has prompted wide interest within the social work community.

Denise is a qualified and Registered Social Worker. She has worked within various statutory settings, including as Duty Social Worker within a Children and Families Team and within Mental Health and Probation. She has also worked widely within the voluntary sector, with homeless people, sex offenders and most recently within a Hospice. Denise's teaching and research work has been widely covered by the media, including an appearance on BBC Radio 4's 'Woman's Hour' and several pieces in The Guardian.

Denise has experience of course and module leadership in her present role and within her previous institution. Denise has taught extensively at both masters and undergraduate levels, as well as undertaking Continuing Professional Development (CPD) teaching and supervising PhD and Professional Doctorate students. Denise has also acted as an External Examiner for PhD theses at several leading Institutions, including the Tavistock Centre.

Denise also has experience of curriculum development, having designed, validated and delivered a very popular Elective - ‘Exploring Death and Dying,’ in her previous Institution. This gained outstanding feedback with several students pronouncing it their ‘best module ever.’

Denise's major teaching and research areas are diverse but encapsulated by the concepts of loss and change. She is interested in the ways in which digital practices and methodologies are transforming the world and in the positive relational opportunities of this. She is also passionate about using creative digital practices in research and teaching and has created both a mobile app' for social workers and innovative teaching collaborations. Denise also has a reputation for work in the field of social media and social work (see Research, publications) and is particularly interested in how the rapidly developing landscape of social media is changing traditional notions of boundaries, including those between life and death Denise's PhD and initial research interest was in the experience of and cultural responses to child death. This interest has broadened into a wider interest in death/dying and the impact of digital technology, together with cultural constructions of loss. She is also interested in family practices and how digital affordances are disrupting more traditional notions of family. A strength of Denise's teaching and research is also working with service user testimony and co-construction with service users.

Authored books and chapters

  • Turner, D (2017) Perspectives on the Experience of Sudden, Unexpected Child Death: The Very Worst Thing? Palgrave MacMillan
  • Turner, D (2016) ‘Writing the Tapestry ‘in White, J. (Ed). Permissions: The Work of Laurel Richardson. Sense publishing, Canada
  • Turner, D (2015) ‘Not behaving as a grieving mother should’: Exploring the ethical pitfalls of identity construction within an insider study of sudden, unexpected child death. Chapter 6 in: Tolich, M (Ed) Qualitative Ethics in Practice, 2015) Left Coast press. N.Z
  • Turner, D (2015) Psychosocial aspects of engagement with social media and digital technology – personal thoughts from the frontier in Middleton, A, Smart Learning MELSIG, UK
  • Turner, D (2014) Creating #Team Turner: An Autoethnography of connection within Social Work Education in Westwood, J. (Ed). Social media in Social Work Education (Critical Publishing)

Book reviews

  • Turner, D (2018) Review of The Comfort of People by Daniel Miller Anthropology in Action
  • Turner, D (2017) Review of The Learning Wheel: A model of Digital Pedagogy by Deborah Kellsey and Amanda Taylor (2017 Critical Publishing). Social Work Education.
  • Turner, D (2015) Review of Megele, C. (2015) Psychosocial and Relationship Based Practice, Critical Publishing. British Journal of Social Work 2015;doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcv056

Articles in refereed journals

  • Turner, D, Bennison, Gerry, Megele, Claudia and Fenge, Lee-Ann (2016) Editorial: Social work and social media: best friends or natural enemies? Social Work Education: The International Journal, 35 (3). pp. 241-244. ISSN 0261-5479
  • Turner, D (2016) Only connect: unifying the social in social work and social media. Journal of Social Work Practice, 30 (3). pp. 313-327. ISSN 0265-0533
  • Turner, D (2016)'Social media on trial': using technology to enhance inter-disciplinarity and practice experience in Higher Education. Educational Developments. ISSN 1469-3267
  • Turner, D (2015) Research You Cannot Talk About: A Personal Account of Researching Sudden, Unexpected Child Death Illness, Crisis & Loss 1054137315587642, first published on May 29, 2015 as doi:10.1177/1054137315587642
  • Turner, D (2014) Memories are made of this': personal reflections on the creation and maintenance of memorials and mementoes: Bereavement Care 33 (3)
  • Turner, D & Webb. R (2014) "ethics and/or Ethics in Qualitative Social Research: Negotiating a Path around and between the Two" Ethics & Social Welfare, 8 (4) pp.383-396

Online and other publications

Invited Conference Keynotes (National)

  • ‘Sudden, unexpected child death: Learning about practice from parental experience’ Oxford Parent Infant Project June 2016
  • 'Sudden Unexpected child death: learning about practice from parental experience’ Centre for Social Work Practice, Tavistock Centre, March 2015:
  • Telling the Story’ The Coroner's Support Service, Volunteer Conference, 2011 (Invited keynote to speak to an audience of Coroners, Volunteers, Police and other professionals involved in sudden, unexpected child death).
  • ‘Telling the Story’ Somerset Local Safeguarding Children's Board, 2011 (Invited guest to speak to a specially invited audience of Police and other professionals involved with sudden, unexpected child death.)
  • ‘Telling the Story’ Child Bereavement Trust, Unexpected Death in Childhood Conference, 2010.

Invited keynote presentations (Regional)

  • Using Digital Media and Material in Research: Processes and Evolving Dilemmas. Tavistock and Portman Doctoral Conference, 2018
  • Learning From Lived Experience: Students and service users as co-producers of knowledge. Academic Development and Quality Enhancement Teaching and Learning Conference, University of Sussex April, 2017.
  • How I stopped worrying and learned to love technology’: A novice’s guide to using technology in teaching. Academic Development and Quality Enhancement Teaching and Learning Conference, University of Sussex April, 2016.
  • The Social Scholar, Technology Enhanced Learning Seminar Series, University of Sussex, November 2015.
  • Staring myself in the ‘I’: When personal stories make public impact: Autoethnography: Learning from Stories. A joint conference with the University of Brighton (May, 2015) 
  • Guest Speaker at 'Feminist Cultures' (October 2014) - University of Sussex Cultural Studies Event
  • From boundary transgressions to live twitter sessions: The challenges and opportunities of social media for social work education and practice’ Media Enhanced learning Group (MELSIG), University of Sussex (2014)

Selected Conference presentations

  • #ASYEngage; Exploring the Opportunities and Challenges of Social Work Encounters with Social Media. Making Research Count Conference, University of Central Lancashire, January 2016
  • ‘Discussing Death online,’ Joint Education Social Work Conference (JSWEC 2015) Open University, Milton Keynes, June 2015
  • Challenging the myth of vulnerability: Insider perspectives and implications for practice within experience near research on sudden, unexpected child death. European Research Institute for Social Work (ERIS) October 2014:
  • Telling the Untellable: Researching emotionally challenging and sensitive topics. St Catherine's College, Oxford. ESRC Research Methods Festival 2014.
  • Telling the Story: An experience of researching sudden, unexpected child death. Pain, Illness, Trauma and Death in Childhood: University of Greenwich, Centre for the Study of Play and Recreation, with the Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past and the London Network for the History of Children, 2014.
  • 'Telling the Story’: An experience of researching sudden, unexpected child death. Discourse, Power and Resistance', Greenwich, UK, 2013
  • 'Telling the Story’: An experience of researching sudden, unexpected child death. University of Sussex, Doctoral Conference, 2012
  • 'Telling the Story’: An experience of researching sudden, unexpected child death. NSPCC: New Horizons in Safeguarding Children (Manchester, 2012)
  • ‘Ethics/and or ethics in qualitative research. University of Sussex, Doctoral conference, 2011
  • Writing the self’ International Autobiography Association (UK) 2010

Media Activities

  • Turner, Denise, Mustaffa, Marhani and Jacobs, Juliet (2016) Parenting adventures #2: dealing with the death of a child. [Audio]
  • 2014 - Feature in The Guardian Family Section (Joanna Moorhead) 
  • 2014 - Podcast for the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) - 'Telling the Untellable': researching emotionally sensitive topics: Podcast - 
  • 2011 - Guest on BBC Radio 4's 'Woman's Hour' discussing research into sudden, unexpected child death.

Editorships/Editorial Boards

Dr Denise Turner
Senior Lecturer for Social Work BSc (Hons)