The Valerie Karn Early Career Researcher Prize

The Housing Studies Association is pleased to invite submissions for the sixth annual Valerie Karn prize for best paper by an early career housing researcher.

Valerie was a housing researcher of compassion and conviction. She believed in the power of research to challenge and change policy by exposing the injustices of life in urban society. She was also a passionate advocate of community engagement and action.

She took her doctorate at the University of Birmingham on housing for older people. After working as a research fellow at York University she returned to Birmingham, where she lectured until 1984. She then spent a decade as Professor of Environmental Health and Housing at Salford University, before taking up the position of Professor of Housing Studies at the Manchester University in 1994.

Valerie’s interests were wide-ranging and her achievements many. One her most notable contributions was her joint authorship of Race, Class and State Housing (1987). Written with Jeff Henderson, this seminal work exposed the processes of institutional racism in public housing. Reviewing the book for Critical Social Policy in 1988, Norman Ginsberg recognised the work as “more comprehensive, sophisticated and perhaps radical in its implications than anything done before.”

Previous winners of the Valerie Karn Early Career Researcher Prize include:

  • Hannah Browne Gott (Cardiff University) Housing rights, homelessness prevention and a paradox of bureaucracy? (co-authored paper with Peter Mackie)
  • Regina Serpa (Heriot-Watt University) Exploring migrant homelessness: narratives of survival, freedom and opportunity
  • Jennifer Harris (University of Bristol) The digitisation of advice and welfare benefit systems: re-imagining the homeless user
  • Katherine Ellsworth-Krebs (University of St Andrews) Home-ing in on domestic energy research: “house,” “home,” and the importance of ontology.
  • Nicholas Choy (King’s College London): The many lives of building for life: the politics and governance of a UK housing standard

 The Prize

The prize is financed through donations made in Valerie Karn’s memory from her daughter and other family and friends. The prize winner will be awarded a £100 Waterstone’s gift voucher and will receive support towards the professional production and dissemination of the winning paper.

All papers submitted by an early career researcher will be considered for the prize, but particular preference will be given to papers sharing Valerie’s broad interests which include:

  • Race and housing
  • Housing standards and conditions
  • Homelessness
  • Housing management and governance
  • Comparative housing research

The Prize will awarded at the 2019 Annual Conference.


The submission deadline for the 2019 Valerie Karn prize is Monday 4th March 2019

Submissions to the 2019 Valerie Karn memorial prize are welcomed from all early career researchers, including: Masters students, PhD students, postdoctoral researchers (within 4 years of PhD completion), and junior researchers working outside academia and who are HSA members (details on how to become a member can be found here).

Papers should be between 4,000 and 8,000 words in length and submitted in Word format to Ian Wilson ( The deadline for 2019 papers will be announced soon but we encourage you to begin working on your submissions as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact Ian Wilson if you have any questions.