School of Social and Political Science

Dr Autumn Roesch-Marsh

Job Title

Senior Lecturer in Social Work

A picture of Autumn

Room number


Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

Street (Address)

15a George Square

City (Address)


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Post code (Address)


Research interests

Research interests

Children and families social work practice, Decision Making, Participatory arts-engaged research methods, Action research, Care experience, Relationship-based practice

PhD Supervision

I am currently supervising seven PhD students. Topics include: Carer Leaver Outcomes, Poverty and Social Work Decision Making in Children and Families, Kinship Care, Adoption Disruption, Foster Care Recruitment, Therapeutic Schools in the USA and Child Protection Decision Making in Health Visiting.

Topics interested in supervising

I am particularly interested in supervising PhD students researching topics related to looked after children/ people with care experience, child and family social work, social work decision making and organisational culture in social service and social welfare organisations.

If you are interested in being supervised by Autumn Roesch-Marsh, please see the links below (opening in new windows) for more information:


Current Research and Teaching Interests

I am a qualified social worker with a passion for social work education and working with children and their families. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and teach across postgraduate and undergraduate courses. I have a keen interest in practice and research informed teaching that is experiential and I am interested in developing scholarship in the area of learning and teaching. My teaching interests include child and family social work, community social work, and social work skills and values. These values are reflected in the work I did with colleagues for the Review of Social Work Eduction, Inquiry Area 4:  Philosophies of Learning in Social Work Education. My book A Guide to Therapeutic Childcare, co-authored with Dr Ruth Emond and Dr Laura Steckley, draws on my practice and teaching experiences and illustrates my practical and research informed approach to teaching and writing.

Much of my research to date has focused on developing understanding of the needs of people with care experience in Scotland and theoretical models for thinking about the dynamics and imperatives that drive social work decision making in the field of Children and Families. I have expertise in using qualitative methods, action research and case studies to explore the multi-dimensional nature of many practice problems.

I am currently PI on a project funded by eNurture : Care leaver relationships, mental health and social media. You can read about some of our findings here.

Further work to support those with care experience includes a partnership Knowledge Exchange Project with Dr Pearce McCusker, Dr Christina McMellon and young people from the Who Cares? Trust. We recently piloted a training course on care experience and mental health for residential workers, social workers and foster carers.  You can learn more about the project here.  

I have also been working with Dr Ariane Critchley to use poetry as an aid to reflective practice in social work education, we have recently run workshops organisations such as the Scottish Association of Social Work.  You can follow our work on poetry by following me on Twitter @DrARoeschMarsh #PoetryHelps  

This project also links to the work of the Empathy Network and the Centre for Creative Relational Inquiry.

Career History

I moved to Scotland from the USA after completing my undergraduate degree at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. I worked for a number of years in the voluntary sector before undertaking a Master in Social Work at the University of Edinburgh. After qualifying as a social worker I worked in various child and family focused settings including residential child care, the community and schools. I have experience of teaching in both the further education and higher education sector and completed my PhD in Social Work at the University of Edinburgh in 2011.

Recent Publications

Roesch-Marsh, A., McGhee, K. and Gillon, F. (2021)  The digital divide; The impact on the rights of care leavers in Scotland.  Glasgow: CELCIS. 

Critchley, A. and Roesch-Marsh, A. (2021)  Poetry Helps: Poetry as a means of creative reflection and learning in social work In D. Turner (ed.) Social Work and Covid-19 – Lessons for Education and Practice.  London: Critical Publishing.

Roesch-Marsh, A. and Emond, R. (2020) Care Experience and Friendship: Theory and International Evidence to Improve Practice and Future Research, The British Journal of Social Work, , bcaa131,

McGhee, K. and Roesch-Marsh, A. (2020) Bridging the digital divide for care experienced young people: If not now, when? CELCIS, available at:

Roesch-Marsh, A. (2020) Digital Exclusion and Care Leavers: It's time for social work to join this fight. Social Work 2020 under Covid-19 Magazine, available at:

Critchley, A. and Roesch-Marsh, A (2020) An Uncertain Future: Poetry as a response to the impact of Covid-19 on social work. Social Work 2020 under Covid-19 Magazine, available at:

Kirkwood, S., Roesch-Marsh, A., & Cooper, S. (2019). Evaluating social pedagogy in the UK: Methodological issues. Qualitative Social Work18(1), 8–23.

Emond, R., Steckley, S. and Roesch-Marsh, A. (2018) Parallel Processes: Getting it Write? Journal of Social Work Practice

Roesch-Marsh, A. (2018). Professional relationships and decision making in social work: Lessons from a Scottish case study of secure accommodation decision making. Qualitative Social Work17(3), 405–422. 

Roesch‚ÄêMarsh, A., Gillies, A., and Green, D. ( 2017) Nurturing the virtuous circle: Looked After Children's participation in reviews, a cyclical and relational process. Child & Family Social Work, 22: 904– 913. doi: 10.1111/cfs.12310.

Duncan, H. and Roesch-Marsh, A. (2017) The Ecology of Judgement: A Model for Understanding and Improving Social Work Judgements, The British Journal of Social Work, 47 (5): 1361–1376,

Emond, R., Steckley, L. and Roesch-Marsh, A. (2016) A Guide to Therapeutic Childcare. London: Jessica Kingsley.

Roesch-Marsh, A., Cooper, S. and Kirkwood, S. (2015) Social Pedagogy Pilot Project Evaluation Report.  Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh.

Roesch-Marsh, A. (2013) Risk assessment and secure accommodation decision making in Scotland: Taking account of gender? Child Abuse Review

Roesch-Marsh, A. (2012)  Behaviour as communication: understanding the needs of neglected and abused adolescents.  Stirling: WithScotland.

Mitchell, F., Roesch-Marsh, A. and Robb, L. (2012) Taking stock of alternatives to secure accommodation or custody for girls and young women in Scotland. Edinburgh: CJSW.

Roesch-Marsh, A (2012) 'Out of Control':Making Sense of the Behaviour of Young People Referred to Secure Accommodation. British Journal of Social Work, doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcs102.

Roesch-Marsh, A. (2011) Better Together? Learning lessons for group decision-making practice from a study of secure accommodation in Scotland.  Child and Family Social Work.

Helm, D. and Roesch-Marsh, A. (2011) Ecology of Judgement in Child Welfare and Protection: A Seminar Report Stirling: Scottish Child Care and Protection Network.

Roesch-Marsh, A., Gadda, A. and Smith, D. (2011) ‘It’s a tricky business’: The impact of identity work in negotiating research access, Qualitative Social Work.

Roesch-Marsh, A. (2010) Risky Enough? Perspectives on Responding to ‘Risky’ Behaviour. Paper Presented at Annual Scottish Institute for Residential Childcare Conference, Aviemore, UK, 9 June 2010.

Roesch-Marsh, A. (2010) Social Work Decision Making: A systems outcome? Paper presented at the Annual British Sociological Association Conference, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK, 7 April 2010.

Roesch-Marsh, A. (2007) Risk Discourses and the Construction of Young People Who Are Considered for Secure Accommodation in Scotland. Paper Presented at International Conference: Working with Young People At De Monfort University, Leicester, UK, 15 June 2007.

Roesch-Marsh, A and Morton, S (2007) Impact Study: ESRC Sponsored ‘Knowledge-exchange’ Seminar Series 2006. University of Edinburgh Child and Youth Studies Network.

Roesch-Marsh, A. (2005) Good enough care? Looking after sexually abused young people in residential care. Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care, Vol. 4, No. 1, February/ March pp. 45-58.

Works within

Staff Hours and Guidance

By appointment

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Devaney J, Power L, Jacobs P, Davidson G, Hiller R, Martin J et al. An agenda for future research regarding the mental health of young people with care experience. Child & Family Social Work. 2023 Mar 5. Epub 2023 Mar 5. doi: 10.1111/cfs.13015
Roesch-Marsh A, Edmond R. Care experience and friendship: Theory and international evidence to improve practice and future research. The British Journal of Social Work. 2021 Jan;51(1):132-149. bcaa131. Epub 2020 Oct 29. doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcaa131
Roesch-marsh A. Reflecting on boundaries and the use of self in professional relationships: Insights from social pedagogy. Families, Relationships and Societies. 2019 Jul 19;8(2):345-349. doi: 10.1332/204674319X15583479932873
Kirkwood S, Roesch-Marsh A, Cooper S. Evaluating social pedagogy in the UK: Methodological issues. Qualitative Social Work. 2019 Jan 1;18(1):8-23. Epub 2017 Apr 14. doi: 10.1177/1473325017699266
Roesch-Marsh A. Professional relationships and decision making in social work: Lessons from a Scottish case study of secure accommodation decision making. Qualitative Social Work. 2018 May 1;17(3):405-422. Epub 2016 Dec 13. doi: 10.1177/1473325016680285
Emond R, Steckley L, Roesch-Marsh A. Parallel processes: Getting it write? Journal of Social Work Practice. 2018;32(3):351-363. Epub 2017 Nov 30. doi: 10.1080/02650533.2017.1384998
Helm D, Roesch-Marsh A. The ecology of judgement: A model for understanding and improving social work judgements. The British Journal of Social Work. 2017 Jul;47(5):1361–1376. Epub 2016 Aug 2. doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcw091
Roesch-Marsh A, Gillies A, Green D. Nurturing the virtuous circle: Looked after children’s participation in reviews, a cyclical and relational process. Child & Family Social Work. 2017 May;22(2):904-913. Epub 2016 Aug 10. doi: 10.1111/cfs.12310
Roesch-Marsh A, McCulloch T, Simpson M, Cooper S. Is there a shared philosophy of learning in social work education in Scotland? The University of Dundee, 2016. 43 p.
Emond R, Roesch-Marsh A, Steckley L. A Guide to Therapeutic Child Care: What You Need to Know to Create a Healing Home. 1st ed. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016. 240 p.
Roesch-Marsh A, Cooper S, Kirkwood S. Social pedagogy pilot project evaluation. 1 ed. Edinburgh: Department of Social Work, University of Edinburgh, 2015. 57 p.
Roesch-Marsh A. Risk Assessment and Secure Accommodation Decision-Making in Scotland: Taking Account of Gender? Child Abuse Review. 2013. Epub 2013 Feb 26. doi: 10.1002/car.2259
Roesch-Marsh A. Better Together? Learning Lessons for Group Decision-Making Practice from a Study of Secure Accommodation in Scotland. Child & Family Social Work. 2012;17(4):468-477. Epub 2011 Oct 17. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2011.00804.x
Roesch-Marsh A. ‘Out of Control’: Making Sense of the Behaviour of Young People Referred to Secure Accommodation. The British Journal of Social Work. 2012. Epub 2012 Jul 19. doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcs102
Roesch-Marsh AE. Crossing the 'threshold of risk': a study of local secure accommodation decision making in Scotland. 2011.