I am a sociologist of youth, faith and inclusion with particular research interests in faith-based youth work and the inclusiveness of such provision. I have wider research interests in young people, youth work, communities and issues of inclusion and exclusion.
Whilst I approach research primarily from a sociological perspective, interested particularly in the everyday narratives of young people and communities, I am very much inter-disciplinary in my approach – having undertaken my undergraduate degree in youth and community work in the School of Applied Social Sciences (SASS) at the University of Durham, and my MA in Education and PhD in Religious Studies, both with The Open University. My PhD was funded under the AHRC/ESRC Religion & Society programme and explored the peak and decline of the Sunday School Movement in the twentieth century, as well as young people’s engagement with churches in the present day.
My recent research has included a study of young female Muslim experiences at university, young people’s engagement with organised crime, Christian street-based youth work, and faith-based youth work’s engagement with civil society. I am currently working on research projects exploring community engagement with marginalised migrant Muslim women; hate and discrimination experienced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities; and whether professionally qualifying youth work training programmes equip practitioners to work with diverse religious communities. I also undertake evaluation for youth and community projects, and am currently doing so for Lewisham Youth Offending Service, as well as recently completing a community needs analysis for Youth First, the largest provider of youth services in Lewisham.
As a researcher, I am most interested in co-produced and applied research that ensures the voices of young people and communities are heard, particularly where these voices have been marginalised and/or excluded. I undertake research that provides clear implications for communities and services and regularly engage in public fora to disseminate my research findings. I edit for the open access journal, Youth & Policy (www.youthandpolicy.org).
Thompson, Naomi. 2018. Young People and Church since 1900: Engagement and Exclusion. Routledge. ISBN 978-1472489784
Stanton, Naomi, ed. 2015. Youth Work and Faith: debates, delights and dilemmas. Lyme Regis: Russell House.
Thompson, Naomi and Joseph, Ian. 2020. Social Media and Youth Justice – challenges and possibilities for practice. In: Claudia Megele and Peter Buzzi, eds. Social Media and Social Work: Implications and Opportunities for Practice. Bristol: Policy Press. ISBN 9781447327394
Connaughton, Paula; de St Croix, Tania; Grace, Pauline and Thompson, Naomi. 2019. In Defence of Youth Work Storytelling as Methodology and Curriculum in HEI teaching. In: Michael Seal, ed. Teaching Youth Work in Universities. UNSPECIFIED.
Bright, Graham; Thompson, Naomi; Hart, Peter and Hayden, Bethany. 2018. Faith-based Youth Work: Education, Engagement and Ethics. In: Pam Alldred; Fin Cullen; Kathy Edwards and Dana Fusco, eds. The SAGE Handbook of Youth Work Practice. London: SAGE, pp. 197-212. ISBN 9781473939523
Woodger, David; Thompson, Naomi and Anastasio, Jean. 2018. “Learning does not reside in a place called comfortable”: Exploring identity and social justice through experiential group work. In: , ed. Teaching Youth Work in Universities. UNSPECIFIED.
Thompson, Naomi. 2019. ‘It’s a no-win scenario, either the police or the gang will get you’ Young people and organised crime – vulnerable or criminal? Youth Justice, 19(2), pp. 102-119. ISSN 1473-2254
Thompson, Naomi and Pihlaja, Stephen. 2018. Temporary liberties and uncertain futures: young female Muslim perceptions of life in England. Journal of Youth Studies, 21(10), pp. 1326-1343. ISSN 1367-6261
Pihlaja, Stephen and Thompson, Naomi. 2017. “I love the Queen”: Positioning in young British Muslim discourse. Discourse, Context and Media, 20, pp. 52-58. ISSN 2211-6958
Pihlaja, Stephen and Thompson, Naomi. 2017. Young Muslims and Exclusion - experiences of 'othering'. Youth and Policy, ISSN 0262-9798
Thompson, Naomi and Ballantyne, James. 2017. 'Being church' The social and spiritual purposes and impacts of Christian detached youth work. Journal of Youth and Theology, 16(2), pp. 89-116. ISSN 1741-0819
Thompson, Naomi and Slovenko, Karolina. 2015. Social Pedagogy, Informal Education and Ethical Youth Work Practice. Ethics and Social Welfare, 10(1), pp. 19-34. ISSN 1749-6535
Davies, Bernard; Taylor, Tony and Thompson, Naomi. 2015. Informal Education, Youth Work and Youth Development: Responding to the Brathay Trust Case Study. Youth and Policy, 115, ISSN 0262-9798
Stanton, Naomi. 2012. Christian youth work: teaching faith, filling churches or response to social need? Journal of Beliefs and Values, 33(3), pp. 385-403. ISSN 1361-7672
Thompson, Naomi and Woodger, David. 2018. “I hope the river floods” Everyday hatred against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. Other. GATE Herdfordshire.