My initial reason for coming to Sheffield was to work on an ESRC-funded project on 'Communication processes within and around flashpoints of public disorder'. This research focus on the policing of riots, disorderly demonstrations and picket-line confrontations was pivotal to the development of the 'Flashpoints Model of Public Disorder', with which I have since become widely associated, and was the springboard for a succession of related research projects and publications based on case studies in the UK, United States, Canada and France. From March 2011 to July 2013, I acted as External Evaluator for the EU-funded GODIAC project, in which academics and police officers set out to produce a more permissive and less confrontational common European approach to protest policing.
Due to its heavy concentration on events during the miners' dispute, the original 'flashpoints' study also stimulated an abiding research interest in the post-strike experience of mining communities, reflected in back-to-back ESRC-funded projects which looked, firstly at the consequences of the strike for community relations, and then on the human impacts of the contraction and subsequent regeneration of the mining industry.
I recently completed a 100-year social history of the former Fryston Colliery football team (West Yorkshire). This study was instrumental in helping us secure an AHRC All Our Stories grant, on the basis of which we were able to design and get financial support (from the Heritage Lottery Fund) for local groups seeking to develop a heritage website for Fryston and a DVD commemorating the exploits of the village football team.