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Personal profile

Research interests

I have completed funded research on funeral costs and practice, and professional development for staff in the deathcare industry. In 2016 I acted as a Special Advisor to the Work and Pensions Select Committee Inquiry into Bereavement Benefits, after which I commissioned and edited a wide ranging policy review on the implications of devolution for death, dying and bereavement in 2017. In 2019 at their request I gave evidence to the Competition and Markets Authority as part of their investigation into the funeral industry.

Over the years my work has been widely disseminated through the media, including numerous appearances on BBC Radio 4 Today programme, BBC Breakfast, and features in The Guardian and The Telegraph. I have undertaken consultancy work with Royal London, Axa SunLife and Volunteer Cornwall.

I am co-editor of the journal Mortality and on the editorial board for the journals Sociology and Death Studies.

I have successfully supported five students to the completion of their PhDs and was twice voted Supervisor of the Year by the University of Bath and Students' Union (2013-14 and 2014-15). I would welcome enquiries about doctoral supervision.

Prior to working at the University of Bath I undertook my bachelors degree in sociology at Lancaster University, my masters degree in sociological research at the University of Warwick, and my PhD at the University of Sheffield. I have completed two postgraduate certificates in teaching in higher education, and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I am a member of the Centre for Death and Society (CDAS), the UK’s only research centre devoted to the study of social aspects of death, dying and bereavement.

Research interests

  • Funeral practice
  • Families and familial obligation
  • Qualitative methods and research ethics

Research projects

Institute for Policy Research

Dr Woodthorpe undertook a sabbatical project with the Institute of Policy Research (IPR) to examine the risks and opportunities associated with the national and regional devolution of policy and services associated with death, dying and bereavement.

More about this project

Death, Dying and Devolution

Dr Woodthorpe is working with the Scottish Government as the Social Fund Funeral Payment gets transferred.


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