Sarah Crafter

Dr Sarah Crafter is a Professor in Cultural-Developmental Psychology in the School of Psychology and Counselling at the Open University, UK. Her research challenges traditional developmental psychological paradigms that view children’s maturation according to age-graded or ‘normative’ patterns of growth, often described as developmental transitions.

Instead, she argues that developmental transitions, when reframed as a dynamic sociocultural process provide practitioners and the academy with enhanced understandings of the lives of vulnerable children, whose challenging life experiences mean they do not follow the ‘normal’ or ‘ideal’ transition to adulthood. Her work mostly falls along two strands: i) a focus a child language brokers, who are children and young people who translate and interpret for family members following migration and ii) a focus on the care of separated child migrants as the navigate the asylum-welfare nexus.


Sarah is currently involved in an Horizon 2020 funded project enabled refugee and migration young people to be be included in learning settings. She is also part of a National Institute for Health project that helps to improve communication skills for children with social and communication difficulties. Sarah was the PI on an AHRC-funded project which explored child language brokers as mediators of cultural knowledge and identity belonging. This project was supplemented by funding from the UCL Beacon Bursary, which facilitated arts-based workshops and exhibitions with young people who act as language brokers. Other research funding includes Nuffield Foundation, National Institute for Health Research, EU ERASMUS PLUS, South Essex Partnership Trust and the Department of Health.

Methodologically, she has developed dialogical uses of vignette approaches in qualitative research. She is co-author of Developmental Transitions: Exploring stability and change through the lifespan (2019, Routledge). Sarah is a member of the British Psychological Society and belongs to the Psychology of Women’s and Equalities Section, Qualitative Methods in Psychology and Developmental Psychology section.

Sarah is:
  • Principal Investigator of CCoM
  • Leading Work Package 2research on adult stakeholders’ perspectives on care relationships and practices.