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University of Oxford Department of Anthropology and the Loughborough University Department of Criminology will deliver academic research and evaluation into the outcomes of the Twinning Project

Loughborough University

We are thrilled and privileged to be invited to evaluate the Twinning Project. By visiting the twinned clubs and prisons and speaking to those directly involved, we hope to gain an understanding of both the process and the outcomes of the initiative. As a result, we will be able to identify what works and how; and this will enable us to contribute to the success of the Twinning project both in prison and in the community. Ultimately, our research aims to help bring about positive change in the lives of prisoners in order to enhance their chances of being able to make a positive contribution on their release from prison. We hope the ripple effect of these changes will then be felt across individuals, families, and the wider community.

Dr. Chris Kay

Christopher has worked in the School for Social Science and Humanities since 2017, having previously worked at Sheffield Hallam University.

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Dr. Carolynne Mason

Dr Carolynne Mason is a Lecturer in Sport Management in the School of Sport Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University.

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Dr. Chris Kay

Christopher has worked in the School for Social Science and Humanities since 2017, having previously worked at Sheffield Hallam University. He obtained a PhD from the School of Law at the University of Manchester in 2016 on the impact of the privatisation of the probation service on the desistance processes of young adult offenders. Prior to this, Christopher had completed two Masters degrees and an undergraduate degree in Criminology. He is also part of the European Society of Criminology Working Group on Community Sanctions and measures. Christopher's main research interests focus on the ways in which people cease their involvement in criminal activity and the transition from “offender” to “ex-offender”. He is also interested in the ways criminal justice and voluntary sector organisations are able to facilitate this transition. His doctoral research explored the impact of the privatisation of the probation service on the ways in which young adult offenders were able to continue to develop a desisting identity. The study has drawn attention to the “unintended consequences” of social policy interventions and the ways in which such interventions are experienced by those on the threshold of change. More recently, Christopher has been exploring the narratives of desistance from crime and recovery from problematic substanceuse, along with the ways in which involvement in the arts, can facilitate change. 

Dr. Carolynne Mason

Dr Carolynne Mason is a Lecturer in Sport Management in the School of Sport Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University. Carolynne previously worked as a Senior Research Associate at LoughboroughUniversity and in the Faculty of Education at Cambridge University. Carolynne’s extensive research experience has predominantly focused onyoung people living in areas of socio-economic disadvantage and she criticallyexamines the role of sport in enhancing the lives of young people living indisadvantaged communities. To this end she has conducted research supportedby organisations including Unicef, The Prince’s Trust, The Big Lottery Fund,StreetGames, Greenhouse Sports, British Gymnastics, and the Wellcome Trust. Most recently Carolynne has been Principal Investigator on a number of projectsthat have examined the contribution of sport to crime reduction through earlyintervention, prevention and in promoting desistance from crime. Carolynne isexperienced in developing resources that bridge the gap between academia andpractitioners and she has produced multiple research summaries, handbook andtoolkits to be used by practitioners in both community and educational settings.

Oxford University

The Twinning Project is uniquely placed to help Dr Newson investigate whether football-based interventions may help re-build the void in social support experienced by many formerly incarcerated people, leading to a reduction in re-offending. With longitudinal survey, interview, and database analyses, Dr Newson aims to address how one of the most powerful social identities in the UK – football – can effect meaningful, lasting changes to some of our most vulnerable and disenfranchised citizens.

Dr. Martha Newson

Dr Martha Newson is a cognitive anthropologist based at the Centre for the Study of Social Cohesion, University of Oxford. Her research centres on group bonding, ritual, and community.

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Professor Harvey Whitehouse

Professor Harvey Whitehouse is Director of the Centre for the Study of Social Cohesion, University of Oxford.

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Dr. Martha Newson

Dr Martha Newson is a cognitive anthropologist based at the Centre for the Study of Social Cohesion, University of Oxford. Her research centres on group bonding, ritual, and community. Over the last six years, she has worked in the UK, Brazil, Australia, and Indonesia to understand a particularly intense form of group bonding – identity fusion – among football fans and ‘hooligans’. Her research has appeared in a range of media including The Telegraph, International Business Times, and the New York Post; she has also featured on BBC Radio 4’s  PM and World at One, BBC World Service, the BBC News Channel, Sky Sports News, and the Freakonomics podcast. She has published as lead author in various academic journals, including Evolution and Human Behaviour, PLOS ONE, and the International Review for the Sociology of Sport.

The Twinning Project is uniquely placed to help Dr Newson investigate whether football-based interventions may help re-build the void in social support experienced by many formerly incarcerated people, leading to a reduction in re-offending. With longitudinal survey, interview, and database analyses, Dr Newson aims to address how one of the most powerful social identities in the UK – football – can effect meaningful, lasting changes to some of our most vulnerable and disenfranchised citizens.

Professor Harvey Whitehouse

Professor Harvey Whitehouse is Director of the Centre for the Study of Social Cohesion, University of Oxford. He studies the role of ritual in creating social cohesion and motivating cooperation, applying the insights of his research to practical problems, such as countering violent extremism, fostering wildlife conservation, and reducing recidivism among ex-prisoners. A recent article in Anthropology in Action explains how his theories could help motivate prisoners to stay out of trouble and encourage receiving communities to better support reintegration. These ideas are also central to Harvey's collaborations with the Twinning Project, exploring how the beautiful game can foster forms of group cohesion that could help people change their lives for the better.

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