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The Strategy and Advisory Groups comprise policy makers, practitioners and researchers working in the fields of families and personal relationships. The management structure is designed to maintain close links and continuing dialogue with third sector organisations, government departments and academic research centres throughout the duration of the project, to facilitate debate and information-sharing. This will ensure that our research agenda is attuned to contemporary theoretical and methodological debates and remains up-to-date with policy developments and government thinking.

Strategy Group

The purpose of the Strategy Group is to ensure that the project remains policy relevant and that the research questions we address are pertinent to current and/or emergent developments in the field, notably government thinking and third sector interventions around supporting couple relationships.

Members of the Strategy Group

  • Annabel Burns: Dept. for Education (Section for Family Law and Relationships)
  • Penny Mansfield: One Plus One
  • Nick Turner, Jenny North: Relate
  • Susanna Apse, Thomas Speilhofer: The Tavistock Institute
  • Dame Janet Walker: University of Newcastle; Relate
  • Prof Leon Feinstein: The Treasury Office
  • Dr Meg Barker: College of Sexual and Relationships Therapists; The Open University
  • Terry Prendergast: Marriage Care
  • Harry Benson: Bristol Community Family Trust
  • Kulbir Randhawa: Asian Family Counselling Service
  • Prof Brid Featherstone: The Open University
  • Catriona Cormack, Joe Beecham: PACE (Project for Advocacy and Counselling and Education)

Advisory Panel

The Advisory Group provides expertise and research experience that will be drawn upon to manage any particular substantive, methodological and ethical issues that may arise during the course of the research.

Members of the Advisory Panel

  • Prof Stevi Jackson: University of York
  • Prof Simon Duncan: University of Bradford
  • Dr John Oates: The Open University
  • Prof Sue Himmelweit: The Open University
  • Jane Lewis: New Economics Foundation
  • Prof Brian Heaphy: University of Manchester
  • Dr Gail Lewis: The Open University
  • Prof Yvette Taylor: London South Bank University
  • Prof Sue Scott: Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Prof Rachel Thomson: University of Sussex
  • Prof Tracey Reynolds: London South Bank University
  • Amandine Scherrer; The Open University
  • Dr Sarah Irwin: University of Leeds
  • Fatima Husain: NatCen Social Research
  • Kate Figes: Freelance writer and journalist
  • Prof Ros Edwards: University of Southampton
  • Dr Claire Hewson: The Open University
  • Prof Ann Phoenix: Institute of Education, University of London
  • Dr Jean Duncombe: University of Chichester
  • Prof Val Gillies: London South Bank University

Contact us

For further details on the project and all media enquiries, please contact: 

Principal Investigator

Professor Jacqui Gabb

Chair of Sociology and Intimacy


The Open University
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences and Global Studies
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes