Dr Ruth Garbutt


I am a lecturer in social work and the Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) Social Work.  I am a qualified social worker and is registered with HCPC.  I have a PhD in social policy from the University of Hull looking at the area of disability and citizenship.  I have also undertaken a postdoctoral fellowship in social policy at the University of Leeds which looked at the views and experiences of people with learning disabilities around relationships and sexuality.

I have worked as a specialist social worker in disability and as a social worker in adoption/ fostering.  I have also worked in community development settings in the area of advocacy, participatory processes, physical disability/ learning disability, and young people.

My present teaching commitments are mainly in the area of social work with adults, working with people with learning disabilities, the Mental Capacity Act and in research methods. As well as my teaching commitments, I am a personal tutor, I supervise dissertations at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels and I visit social work students on placement.   I am a member of the Leeds University Inequalities Research Network, the Centre for Disability Studies, and the People, Systems and Services Network.  I am also a member of the School Module Assessment Board and the School Equality and Inclusion Committee.  I have worked in both research and teaching roles in Higher Education for about 15 years and I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  

I have numerous publications including academic journal articles, book chapters and articles for practitioner publications. 

I have presented my research at national and international conferences.  I have also been a reviewer for the following journals: Creative Approaches to Research; International Journal for Researcher Development; British Journal of Learning Disabilities.  Much of my work has involved collaborations between academic institutions, third sector organisations and the public sector.

Research interests

My research interests are in the following areas:

  • disability/ learning disability
  • inequalities
  • relationships and sexuality
  • emancipatory/ participatory/ collaborative research
  • social policy/ social work
  • citizenship



  • PhD Social Policy
  • MA/ DipSW Social Work
  • BA (Hons) Psychology/ Sociology/ Music
  • PG Dip Psychology

Professional memberships

  • Registered with HCPC
  • Senior Fellow HEA

Student education

I am the Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) Social Work.

I undertake module leadership and I provide teaching on numerous modules in relation to working with adults, research methods and social work theories.

I am a personal tutor.

I supervise dissertations on both BA Social Work and MA Social Work and I supervise PhDs.

I support students on placement.


<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>