Ariane Critchley-Morris

ariane critchley morris

Dr Ariane Critchley-Morris M.A. (Hons.), MSW, Msc., PhD, FHEA



Ariane took up a lecturing post at Edinburgh Napier University in January 2019 where she teaches on the innovative qualifying social work programme, offering integrated teaching to social work, occupational therapy and physiotherapy masters students.

Ariane qualified as a social worker in 2003, and worked in the areas of child welfare and protection, later specialising in adoption work. In 2013 she began a PhD in social work, focused on the understudied topic of pre-birth child protection. Ariane’s doctoral work, which used ethnographic methods to make a practice-near study of pre-birth work, was completed in 2019.

Ariane has been commissioned to undertake qualitative research into self-directed support for Social Work Scotland and been involved in analytical work for Scottish Government reviews of experiences of maternity and neonatal care. At AFA Scotland Ariane led on a project examining the social work role in adoption in Scotland over 50 years, published as part of Social Work Scotland’s celebration of the 1968 Act. She also worked with Dr Maggie Grant on a scoping of adoption support services across Scotland.

Knowledge exchange and public engagement are at the heart of Ariane’s approach. Her most recent public engagement work has been the Recognition Matters knowledge exchange project with Dr Mary Mitchell (University of Edinburgh) and partners, resulting in a series of short films and accompanying briefing. In 2018 Ariane’s research impact efforts were recognised by the Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences. As well as creating events aimed at practitioners and policy makers, Ariane is regularly invited to contribute to seminars, conferences and workshops in her areas of specialism. She enjoys working in spaces where practice wisdom and research knowledge can come together.

Ariane is interested in understanding how service users, practitioners, and managers construct their ‘work’ and interact in practice settings. Her research aims to draw near to the lived experiences of all those involved in social work at the sites of state intervention into individual and family lives. Her PhD focused on social work with ‘unborn babies’. As well as retaining a strong interest in strengthening practice in this area, this has left a legacy of ongoing research interests in involving fathers, and in the liminal in social work. She intends to develop research in these areas, and to further study social work with infants and adoption experiences.



4 results

'The Lion's Den': Social Workers'understandings of risk to infants

Journal Article
Critchley-Morris, A. (in press)
'The Lion's Den': Social Workers'understandings of risk to infants. Child and Family Social Work,
Recent research has highlighted the increasing trends in newborn and very young children entering child welfare processes and care proceedings in a number of countries. Furthe...

Jumping Through Hoops: Families' Experiences of Pre-birth Child Protection

Book Chapter
Critchley, A. (2019)
Jumping Through Hoops: Families' Experiences of Pre-birth Child Protection. In Families in Motion: Ebbing and Flowing through Space and Time, (135-154). Bingley: Emerald.
This chapter considers the mobilities of families subject to child protection involvement at the threshold of the birth of a new baby. The author presents data arising from an...

Quickening Steps: An ethnography of pre-birth child protection

Critchley, A. Quickening Steps: An ethnography of pre-birth child protection. (Thesis)
University of Edinburgh. Retrieved from
This thesis is a study of pre-birth child protection practice in the Scottish context. The ‘quickening’ in the title refers not just to the movement in utero of the unborn bab...

Pre-birth child protection

Critchley, A. (2018)
Pre-birth child protection. Glasgow: Iriss
Key points Pre-birth involvement forms a small but increasing part of child protection work in Scotland Social workers have the task of protecting the unborn baby from curre...