Lynne McMordie wins prestigious Valarie Karn Prize

Lynne McMordie

I-SPHERE are delighted to share the news that our PHD researcher Lynne McMordie has won the Housing Studies Association Valarie Karn prize.
Lynne’s paper on how avoidance of temporary accommodation for people experiencing homelessness can be a rational and reasonable response to an intensely stressful environment was based on research she undertook with ISPHERE and the Oak Foundation as our first research intern in 2017.

Ian Wilson Valarie Karn prize co-ordinator, Housing Studies Association said:

“I’d like to congratulate Lynne for her excellent paper ‘Avoidance strategies: stress, appraisal and coping in hostel accommodation’ which has been award as the best paper by an early career researcher (ECR) submitted to this year’s Housing Studies conference. Im also delighted to hear that Lynne has since developed the paper and had it published in the Housing Studies Journal – a real achievement.

The Valarie Karn prize is very important to the Housing Studies Association not least in its role to support and celebrate early career researchers. Both the number and quality of submissions has continued to grow, which is testament to the ECRs in our discipline and those who continue to support their development. In a very competitive submission, Lynne’s paper really stood out to judging panel this year across all of our criteria. In particular we were impressed by its clear contributions to knowledge: applying frameworks from other fields (psychology) to her rich data to challenge notions that homeless people who avoid temporary accommodation act in some way irrationally. Indeed these principles were central to Valarie Karn herself, who believed in the power of research to challenge and change policy by exposing the injustices of life in urban society. “

Ed Ferrari, Managing Editor, Housing Studies said:

“It has been a great privilege for us at Housing Studies to be able to publish Lynne McMordie’s work on homeless people’s relationships with temporary accommodation. The article stands to make an a real impact on academic debate and professional discourse by providing a well-evidenced and nuanced analysis, which challenges a view held by some that homeless people who avoid temporary accommodation act in some way irrationally. This carefully crafted article uses an innovative conceptual framework which brings theories from psychology to bear on housing studies to posit that, instead, avoidance is a rational response to environments where individual agency in controlling stress is limited. I really enjoyed reading this article, which I think will pave the way for further research which builds on its findings.”

Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Director of I-SPHERE said:

“We were thrilled but not at all surprised to hear about Lynne winning the VK prize. Everyone at I-SPHERE, but most especially Beth Watts and I as Lynne’s PhD supervisors, are well aware of how lucky we are to have the opportunity to work with such a brilliant scholar. This is sure to be the start of a stellar career of top notch publications from Lynne that will change how we all think about temporary accommodation and associated issues”

You can read the Housing Studies paper here and Lynne’s report following her I-SPHERE Oak Foundation internship here.

Lynne is now working on her PHD ‘Understanding the design, use and impacts of temporary and supported accommodation models for homeless households in the United Kingdom’ and we look forward to sharing her PHD findings in due course!