In 2019 we lost a member of our community whose work and company has enriched our lives. I refer to Kandy Woodfield: social researcher; trainer; CIPD professional; author; blogger; thought-leader, advocate and friend of NCRM. I had the pleasure of working with her for over a decade. Her enthusiasm, warmth, humour and sharp intelligence made her someone you wanted to spend time with. And she inspired many of us to reach beyond what we thought we were capable of, to push boundaries and to work together to bring about positive change for individuals, communities and wider society.
From the outset of her career, Kandy combined social research with teaching and learning, undertaking research that gave voice to marginalised and hidden groups. Her academic research career began in the field of violence against women and spanned various areas of socio-legal research. She joined the (then) Qualitative Research Unit (QRU) at NatCen Social Research in 1997, going on to become Deputy Director of the QRU, where along with colleagues she pioneered the development of NatCen’s software tool for qualitative data analysis – FrameWork (now part of the NVivo analysis package). In 2006, whilst still Deputy Director of the QRU she founded NatCen Learning. Her passion for teaching and learning was instrumental in forging lasting partnerships between NatCen and many organisations, including Cardiff, Edinburgh and City University’s QStep centres, and with Sage.
In 2012 she co-founded, with Sage and the Oxford Internet Institute the New Social Media, New Social Science (NSMNSS) international network. Funded by NCRM, the network sought to address the question: ‘should social science researchers embrace social media, and if we do, what are the implications for our methods and practice?’ The network produced numerous outputs, including a blog1 that is still going strong, and engaged with the wider community through its Twitter account - @NSMSS.
In 2015 Kandy became Head of Social Sciences at the Higher Education Academy before moving on to lead Learning and Development at the Samaritans and establishing her own consultancy. She remained actively involved in NSMNSS, editing The Ethics of Online Research2, writing her blog ‘Pushing at the Edges’3 and remaining ‘passionate about learning, leading change and helping people identify their strengths and reach their goals’ . Kandy was a champion for high quality, ethical, social research and training. She is sorely missed but lives on through her many achievements.
Submitted by Debbie Collins, Director of NatCen Learning and NCRM doctoral researcher on Wednesday, 15th January 2020