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Dr Kelly Devenney

Senior Lecturer in Social Policy

BA Social Work (Bradford) MRES Social Work (York) PhD (York)
Programme Leader Social Work

Visit Dr Kelly Devenney's profile on the York Research Database to see a full list of publications and browse her research related activities.


Areas of interest

  • Migration
  • Immigration
  • Refugees
  • Young migrants
  • Young people leaving care
  • Anti-racism

Academic biography

I joined the University of York in 2018, following a previous lectureship at York St. John University. I completed my PhD at the University of York in 2016 and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. My research has focused on a range of migration related topics, with a particular interest in refugees and asylum seekers. My work includes studies of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children in the UK and explorations of 'marketisation' practices in refugee camps in the Global South. I am a member of the University of York Migration Network (Mignet) and the University of York 'University of Sanctuary Monitoring and Evaluation Group'

I have a strong interest in anti-racism, conducting research on the experiences of minority ethnic students and developing innovative anti-racism interventions, one of which was 'highly commended' by the University of York Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Impact Awards 2022


Recent publications

Devenney, K (2020) Social Work With Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Young People: Reframing Social Care Professionals As ‘Co-Navigators’ British Journal of Social Work. Volume 50, Issue 3, April 2020, P. 926–943

Devenney, K (forthcoming) “My own Blood”: The family relationships of asylum seeking young people in the UK, Families, Relationships and Societies

Devenney, K (2017) Pathway planning with unaccompanied young people leaving care: Biographical narratives of past, present and future, Child & Family Social Work 22:3 1313-1321

Professional activities

Professional activities

  • Founding Co-editor and Advisory Board Member- York Policy Review
  • Member- Community of Researchers in transition (CORIT)an international group of researchers interested in young people’s transitions from care.
  • Member- Social Policy Association
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Degree programmes and modules

  • MA Social Work
  • Integrated Masters Social Work

Research and PhD supervision

Supervision interests

  • Childhood & Youth
  • Young People and transition to adulthood
  • Migration and Immigration


I am currently involved in the following research projects

* A National Institute for Health & Care Research (NIHR) funded project exploring care leavers transitions to independence (with a particular focus on unaccompanied asylum seeking young people) 

* An exploration of the 'marketisation' of refugee camps in the Global south.

* Pilot and evaluation of an 'Anti-Racism' book club: exploring the use of fictional narratives as an anti-racism intervention.

Contact details

Dr Kelly Devenney
Senior Lecturer in Social Work
School for Business and Society

Tel: 01904 321231