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  1. Arts and Social Sciences
  2. Sociology
About City

Holly Powell-Jones



PhD Topic

Young people’s understandings of digital communications offences


PhD at the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism

Department of Sociology, City, University of London (2014 – Present)

Awards: City University CLJJ Studentship

Masters in Radio Journalism - Media and Communications Department, Goldsmiths College University of London (2011 – 2012)

Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC) accreditation

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) - Drama and Theatre Department, Royal Holloway University of London (2007 – 2010)

The Study

My research focuses on young people (aged 11-18) and their perceptions and understandings of ‘misuse of digital communications’ (specifically potential interpersonal offences committed online, via social media or using mobile apps).

The research will involve participant observation of a series of interactive workshops within secondary schools, where participants will be encouraged to respond to and discuss a number of specific examples.

This research project is building upon extensive previous professional work I’ve undertaken on behalf of the Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office, teaching ‘Online and Social Media Law and Ethics’ within schools since 2013.


Research Interests

  • Media Law and Ethics
  • Representations of Youth and Childhood
  • The Internet and New Media
  • Online/digital deviance and criminality
  • Risk & responsibilisation


  • (Peer-reviewed book chapter) 'Bullying and Social Media' (2017) School bullying and mental health: Risks, Intervention and Prevention (Routledge)  In press.


  • 13-16th September 2017: 17th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology EuroCrim 2017, Panel session: Children, Young People and Social Media: Consent, Criminalisation and Culpability’. Paper presentation: “Digital and social media communications offences: Youth perspectives on risk and responsibility online”. (Cardiff University)
  • 21st July 2017: Feminist Reflections on Law, Society and Care Conference, Women's Bodies as Subjects panel. Paper presentation: “Distributing indecent images: Youth Constructs of Risk and Responsibility” (Manchester Law School, Manchester Metropolitan University)
  • 20th June 2017: Gender and Sexualities Research Forum, Gender, Sexuality and Digital Culture Symposium. Paper presentation: ‘Youth perspectives on the distribution of digital sexual content’ (City, University of London)
  • 15th June 2017: Youth Justice Network, ‘Turning Research into Action: Knowledge Exchange between Young People, Academic Researchers & Practitioners’ launch event. Paper presentation: ‘Recommendations for Future Policy-Making and Training: A Case Study of Youth Perspectives on “Risky” Social Media Content’. (University of Westminster)
  • 12th May 2017: Sussex Crime Research Centre, Graduate Conference, ‘Crime, Media and Technology’ panel. Paper presentation:  ‘How Do Young People Construct Criminal Risks in Relation to Social Media Content?’ (University of Sussex)
  • 8th-10th January 2017: The IAFOR International Conference on Education (2017). Paper presentation: ‘Incorporating Young People's Perspectives into Social Media and Cyberbullying Education in Schools’ (Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu)
  • 8th June 2016: BSA Gender, Crime and Media Conference. Paper presentation: 'Gendered youth perspectives on sexting and revenge porn offences' (Birmingham University)
  • 3rd June 2016: BSA Post-grad conference: ‘Close to Home: Moral dilemmas, ethical practice and complexities of reflexivity in ethnographic research’. Paper and poster presentation on 'The ethics of conducting research in schools' (London School of Economics)
  • 2nd June 2016: LCSS PhD Methodology Conference. Paper presentation on 'The Researcher-Tutor' (University of Westminster)


  • Media Law, Ethics and Regulation - UG2 and MA Journalism - Module leader, lectures and seminars - Goldsmiths, University of London (Autumn 2016)
  • Key Issues in Criminology - UG2 - Lecture: 'Crime and Anxiety: Managing Youth Cyber Deviance’ - City, University of London (Spring 2016)
  • New Media Challenges - UG2 - Seminar leadership - City, University of London (Spring 2016)
  • Criminology - UG1 - Seminar leadership - City, University of London (Autumn 2015/2016)

Professional and voluntary work

  • Online and Social Media Law and Ethics’ schools project and annual reports (Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey and Eagle Radio Ltd.) (2013 - ongoing)
  • National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Professional Training Committee (ProfCom) (June 2016 - ongoing)
  • Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) Post-graduate student rep for City, University of London (September 2016 - ongoing)
  • Panel guest, presenter and judging panel for ‘Engineer Our Future: Girl’s Hackathon’ event (Imperial College London & Turing Lab)
  • Using the Media for Science Academics (The Wellcome Trust & SciComms London)
  • Women in Academia - Managing Your Online Media Profile (City, University of London)
  • Introductory Media Law and Ethics for TV Journalists (The Media Trust and London360)
  • Media Law and Ethics for Community Journalists (Centre for Investigative Journalism)
  • Social Media Law and Ethics (Goldsmiths Students Union)
  • ‘Media Taster Week’: Media Law and Ethics in Journalism (Widening Participation/Outreach - City, University of London)
  • ‘Use the Media’, ‘Protect Your Business Online’ & ‘Protect Your Students Online’ (Eagle Radio Ltd. and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey)
  • The Brilliant Club Scholar’s Programme: PhD Tutor ‘Online and Social Media Law and Ethics’ (Spring 2016)
  • PubhD London: organising committee (Oct 2016 - ongoing)