James is currently a lecturer in Criminology at London Metropolitan University, having previously lectured in similar fields at both Kingston and Goldsmiths Universities. Before his time at London Metropolitan University James was previously employed by IARS as the Equalities and then later Justice projects coordinator.
Throughout his career James has had extensive experience in working with people considered marginal or disadvantaged. James' previous roles include running an alternative education centre in Lambeth, South London that worked with those who had been excluded from mainstream education or had left education with little or no qualifications. He has also set up a practical training programme where unemployed young people were supported take on repair and refurbishment jobs for local authorities, housing associations and charities, helping them to gain the skills and experience needed to gain a job in the construction industry. Within both of these roles James developed partnerships with YOT and Probation services developing through the gate referral pathways for those leaving secure institutions as well as working with those on community orders.
James is a trustee and a coach at the St Matthews Project based in the Brixton/Tulse Hill area, which offers sports and educational activities for local young people. He has also helped local residents where he live take on the management of a local community centre and has run a number of community engagement initiatives.
James has also worked in helping to empower local community groups across London to engage with and support local people, something he still does actively where he lives in South London.
James has a Masters in Communication Culture and Society from Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is also completing and ethnographic study of a South London housing estate for his Sociology PhD. The research considers the role of friendships in resolving local issues and whether the involvement of professional organisations help or hinder this friendship formation.