Mrs Maria Brent


I am a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Work and Social Care and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am a registered social worker and qualified here at Kingston University in 1996. I have worked for many years in adult community care services and my professional interest areas are safeguarding, mental capacity,  self-neglect, and working with people living with Dementia. I am the university representative on Kingston's Alzheimer's Dementia Friendly Community Group (DFCG), which focuses on raising awareness and developing the skills and knowledge of students and the local community in supporting people living with Dementia.  As a Dementia Champion, I support students to undertake the Dementia Friends programme and have led Dementia raising awareness events for the last five years. The most recent being in May 2021, where, in partnership with the DFCG, I organised a range of events to support Dementia Action Week that explored students, partner agencies and social workers experiences of working through the pandemic.

I am passionate about supporting social work students and practitioners to develop their skills and knowledge in person-centred approaches.  I have developed post-qualifying modules in Safeguarding Adults at Risk, which explores the complexities of practice in balancing the right to autonomy with issues of risk and protection. I developed and now co-lead the Best Interest Assessor module and am currently developing new modules that will reflect the proposed changes within the Liberty Protection Safeguards.  My role in the department includes teaching across all the social work programmes, BA and the MSW, where I am currently the year one lead, and in September 2021, I will be taking on a new role, Course Director of Post Qualifying Programmes. I am currently writing up my doctoral thesis which is an ethnographic study that explores social worker's experiences of working with adults who self-neglect. The findings of my research have been presented at conferences and workshops and actively inform my teaching and the development of professional practice.

Academic responsibilities

Senior Lecturer


  • 1996 - Diploma in Social Work– Kingston University
  • 1996 - Diploma in Higher Education - Kingston University
  • 2006 - MA in Professional Education & Training in Human Services - Kingston University
  • 2007 - Practice Teaching Award - Kingston University
  • 2008 - Advanced Social Work Post Qualifying Award - Kingston University
  • 2015 - Best Interest Assessor Qualification - Bournemouth University
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 2018
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 2021

Teaching and learning


My research interests include working with safeguarding adults, mental capacity and how we support people accessing adult community services.  I am currently undertaking an ethnographic study that is exploring social workers' experiences of working with self-neglect as part of my doctoral thesis. I am interested in how social workers experience and understand self-neglect and what support they may need in this area of practice. I am also interested in relationship based practiced and was involved in a study that explored how social workers construct their relationships with the people they work with. I have been the project lead in developing a range of learning materials and films which have been co-developed with people who have accessed services in mental health, substance misuse, children and families and adults services. These films have been used in the education of social workers as they provide an authentic lens into the experiences of people who access services.  


Number of items: 3.


Hood, Rick, Brent, Maria, Abbott, Simon and Sartori, Daniele (2019) A study of practitioner–service user relationships in social work. The British Journal of Social Work, 49(3), pp. 787-805. ISSN (print) 0045-3102

Book Section

Brent, Maria (2015) Personalisation. In: Evans, Tony and Keating, Frank, (eds.) Policy and Social Work Practice. London, U.K. : Sage. pp. 82-99. ISBN 9781848606982


Mein, Gill, Brent, Maria, Byford, Ian, Hall, Nigel, Kahraman, Ayfer and Lindsay, Jane (2015) A review of Public Health Services for older people in the Royal Borough of Kingston: the perspectives of service users and residents. (Project Report) Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, Kingston University and St George's, University of London. 50 p. (Unpublished)

This list was generated on Thu Dec 2 06:23:07 2021 GMT.

Professional practice, knowledge exchange and impact

I am in the final stages of completing my doctorate which explores social workers experiences of working with people who self-neglect. This extended period of study has required me to engage with academic and professional literature and develop my scholarship in this area.   My findings contribute to pedagogical and practice l debates about working with self-neglect. I have used my knowledge to support further research projects and integrated this into my teaching.  I have been able to connect and share my findings with fellow academics and professionals nationally to develop professional practices, see below for a summary of presentations. The Teaching Partnership is a collaboration of partner agencies across southwest London where there is a reciprocal exchange of knowledge, skills and learning opportunities for both students and qualified staff in those agencies. I am the Academics in Practice workstream lead and was responsible for setting up the framework to connect academics with partner agencies to develop research ideas to exchange knowledge and improve professional practice. 

Conferences and seminars where I have presented my doctoral research

15th May 2021  Teaching Partnership - Presentation for Kingston Council and partner agencies

12th October 2020 - Sheffield Hallam University 

12th March 2020 Teaching Partnership - Merton Council Offices presentation on Self-Neglect and strengths-based approaches. Merton Council offices 

7th November 2019 - Royal Holloway University of London, Keynote speaker, on Seminar on Self-Neglect and Hoarding– Senate House, London.

9-10 September 2019 - Joint Social Work Education and Research Conference (JSWEC) Manchester.

12th November 2018 - Croydon Safeguarding Event – Presentation on Self-Neglect to Social Work and Social Care Professionals and staff, Croydon Town

9th October 2018 - Kings College London – Conference on Mental Health 

15th June 2018 - National Conference for Action on Elder Abuse - Presentation on Self-Neglect and abuse 

Professional and scholarly affiliations

  • British Association of Social Workers
  • Registered with Social Work England
  • University Representative on the Alzheimer's Society's, Kingston Dementia Friendly Community

Videos of my work