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Hannah Absalom

Headshot picture of Hannah Absalom

Working and academic history

I have a broad and varied working career spanning over 18 years in social housing in England. My roles have included developing a digital inclusion strategy, leading a neighbourhood development team and various roles, including housing and resident involvement. My work has been award-winning. Most recently, I was highly commended in the William Sutton prize of 2022. My work has been shortlisted for Diversity and Inclusion awards and Housing Innovation awards. This recognition for my work in practice evidences my creativity and collaborative approach to leading positive change in social housing in England.

I advocate for continuous study in informing practice, which has resulted in my undertaking a PhD researching behavioural insights in social housing in England. This has provided amazing opportunities to research social housing abroad, in the Netherlands and Italy. My research has focussed on reconnecting English social housing with a core social purpose of providing safe and secure housing and services that alleviate material harms and trauma caused by housing precarity. I Take the perspective that housing work is uniquely emotional work and that sector practices could be significantly improved through seeing housing this way.

The combination of years of award-winning practice and the privileges afforded by advanced study gives me a unique perspective on what needs to change in English social housing and how to change it. Although my skills are unique, I believe a shared passion for making social housing better is key and working collectively is the means to bring about positive change to the social housing sector.


In terms of practice, my core interests concern bringing innovative thinking into practice, participatory approaches that level out the power asymmetry between tenants and social landlords and supporting the sector to develop professionalism grounded in the realities of social housing work and an understanding of home as an emotional place. My passion is in translating research and bringing a new perspective to individuals and organisations who share the passion for social housing being better than it is today.

My academic interests are exploring what assemblage theory can offer to the study of social housing work. Assemblage theory is a useful approach to studying the effects of behavioural technologies in social housing work, and I value opportunities to continue to explore this. I am interested in researching if co-design is a means to produce policies that work to alleviate some of the material and psychological hardships produced by financial inequalities. I am fascinated by the entanglements of context in our lives and thinking about how contextual focussed interventions can be made visible and acted upon. Finally, I am interested in the role of emotions in organisation processes and how we can incorporate these into relational forms of work in social housing.

In a typically assemblage-influenced orientation, the entanglements of practice and theory make sense to me, and I enjoy moving between theory and practice. This has furnished me with the ability to speak confidently to a broad range of audiences. However, I prefer to utilise my academic knowledge to shed light on key issues of the day (see this BBC Interview for an example) and to make research accessible to people and organisations who are best placed to make social change happen.

Type of work I offer

At the moment, I offer:

  • Training on thinking differently in social here (see LINK) for current module list.
  • Bespoke training on participation, research and engagement methods.
  • Policy and strategy review. I can provide psychological, geographical and emotional insight to inform your reviews and new ideas to aid the impact of reporting.
  • Tenant engagement and consultation work. Sometimes it’s best to commission a third party to find out how tenants really feel about your services. I do not undertake survey work as you will not find out what needs to change through that means of engagement.
  • Literature reviews and contextualising reports for social housing topics.
  • s part of the Rethinking homes Network aspect of my work, I am keen to discuss joint bids for research that focusses on improving social housing practices and tenants experiences of the home.

Please message me at to discuss future work opportunities.