Jill's research is framed by knowledge and experiences gained over the course of a portfolio career including teaching, funding (ERDF and Lottery bids), policy development, transnational project management in European, cultural and urban affairs and parallel long-term involvement in the arts as performer, trustee, strategist and marketeer/fundraiser. Jill is a former singer and current Board member of Ex Cathedra and is involved in the wellbeing and education work of the company, with a special interest in singing and recovery from stroke and other neurological incidents.
Throughout Jill's career, she has been concerned by the life chances of disadvantaged young people and has been aware of, or involved in, initiatives aimed at helping overcome some of the barriers facing them.
This has also been shaped by her involvement as co-author/project manager of the EU FP7 funded project CITISPYCE which explored young people’s social innovations to overcome barriers to inclusion against the backdrop of ‘a redrawing of social inequalities’ and ‘excessively high levels of youth unemployment and threats to the social provision enjoyed by previous generations’ (CITISPYCE 2016). In this project, they were concerned with those affected by social inequalities at the local level and those who try to manage the consequences of it nationally (e.g. through governmental policies and actions) and locally (through municipal officials and other actors in civil society). This revealed a mismatch between these actors’ perceptions of the problems and actions required to tackle them and those of the young people themselves. This has led to increasing distance and lack of trust between disadvantaged young people and officials, as well as frustration at the neglect and withdrawal of services for young people in local neighbourhoods (Guentner et al. 2018).