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Speaker biographies

Session One: Open Stream – 20th October 2010

Nazia Hussien, Centre for the Study of Women and Gender, University of Warwick: Colour of Life Achievements: Historical and Media Influence of Identity Formation Based on Skin Colour in South Asia

Nazia Hussein is currently a PhD student at the Centre for the Study of Women & Gender at University of Warwick. Her current research work is on Negotiated Identity of Autonomy among Urban Bangladeshi Women. She did her Masters from London School of Economics in Gender & Media, this research paper was her dissertation for the Masters. Last year she presented this paper at the Feminist & Women’s Studies Associations’ conference on Feminist Transitions. This year it was published in the Journal of Intercultural studies (Vol. 31, No. 4, August 2010, pp. 403-424). Before her Masters she worked as a Gender Sector Specialist at BRAC (NGO) Bangladesh and also taught at the Media and Communication department at Independent University, Bangladesh.

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Sariya Contractor, University of Gloucester: De-mystifying the Muslimah: Using Muslim women’s digital stories to develop notions of women’s solidarity and shared femininity

Dr Sariya Contractor recently completed her doctoral thesis entitled De-mystifying the Muslimah: Exploring different perceptions of young Muslim women living in Britain. Her research juxtaposes the religious Muslim woman’s voice with feminist-pragmatist philosophy, thus bringing together religious and secular standpoints. By bringing Muslim women’s life stories to audiences from other backgrounds, her work facilitates discourses about inter-community dialogue, social diversity and syncretic British identities. She was also part of a research team that completed an independent review of Muslim faith leader training in Britain commissioned and funded by the Department of Communities and Local Governments (DCLG). This review is due to be presented to the Secretary of State later this year. She is currently working on an HEA funded project aimed at encouraging and enhancing Alimahs’ (Muslim women religious scholars) uptake of university education. She is also the Associate Chaplain (Muslim) at the University of Gloucestershire. Her recent academic publications include articles about identity politics and migration, the hijab and online Sufism as experienced and expressed by young people on the internet. Sariya has also written a number of articles on the persona of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for internet audiences.

Tom Horn, Goldsmiths College: Who's taking the biscuit? The influence of online discussion forum use and media framing on experiences of efficacy in the 2010 'Mumsnet election'

Tom Horn is interested in the relationship between individual experiences of political efficacy and media. This interest is in specific regard to the evolving context of media systems and the growing role of new media in community formation and participation. A Media and Communications post-graduate from Goldsmiths College (University of London), his previous research has focused on new media, political communications and the political economies of mass media. Arriving in the UK in 2007, Tom previously studied at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. He currently works as Head of Communications for Free to Dance, a national campaign promoting the importance of providing young people with the skills to understand, question and debate political and social situations and developments.

Session Two: Sport, Leisure and Gender – 10th November 2010

Jonah Bury, School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, University of Bristol: Homosexuality, homophobia and masculinities in professional and grassroots football

Jonah is currently completing his Masters dissertation at Bristol University, where his dissertation examines the different ways a gay and gay friendly football team negotiates competitiveness with their overarching aim of inclusion. In October 2010, he will take up a PhD position at Bristol University where he aims to explore the institutional landscape of campaigns tackling homophobia in European football. His research interests lie in the interconnectedness of sports, sexualities and masculinities. He completed his undergraduate degree (BA) in Sociology and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Frankfurt in 2009. He has recently published an article in the anthropological journal Gefka (16//2009), entitled ‘Kritik der Kulturkritik. Ein Plädoyer für eine historisch-reflexive Perspektive von Kultur’ (Critique of cultural criticism: A plea for a historically informed and reflexive perspective on culture), published by the Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology at the University of Frankfurt, Germany.

Georgina Roy, Chelsea School, University of Brighton: Feminism and the Female Surfer: Theorising Surfing Spaces

Georgina Roy is a PhD student at Brighton University, Chelsea School. The topic of her research is the feminist significance of the women's surfing 'boom' and the gendered experiences of female surfers. In addition to women's surfing, her research interests include sport, feminist theory and sexuality and broadly, issues related to sport, culture and identity.

Deb Butler, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick: Becoming a stranger to the data – the trials and tribulations of trying to leave the field – N.B. Horseracing study


Session Three: Women and Work – 1st December 2010

Rosario Undurraga, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick: How would you define work? Recognition and identity in relation to the conceptualisation of work

For more information on Rosario, please see her Warwick eportfolio here.

Jenny Nex, Sociology department, Goldsmiths College: Women in the musical instrument trade in London, 1760–1820.

Following her early education in Cambridge, Jenny studied music at the University of Edinburgh from where she went on to specialise as a singer in early music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She gained her MA in Museum and Gallery Management in 1997 from City University and in August 2005 took over as Curator of the Museum at the Royal College of Music, where she previously held the post of Assistant Curator (Research). Jenny’s research interest include the design and construction of historical keyboard instruments and she is working towards a PhD in the Sociology department of Goldsmiths College, studying the lives and businesses of instrument makers in early industrial London (c1760-1820).

Session Four: Women Writers – 16th February 2011

Leanne Bibby, School of Cultural Studies, Leeds Metropolitan University: Complicitous Critiques: A. S. Byatt, the Woman Writer-Intellectual and Feminist Classics Revisited


Sally Waterman, University of Plymouth: Literary Transformations: A Self-Representational Arts Practice

Sally Waterman’s interdisciplinary media arts practice is concerned with the interpretation of literature into self-portraits. She creates poetic still and moving image works that explore issues of female subjectivity, memory and autobiography, drawing upon writers such as Henry James, Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf. Sally gained her joint BA (Hons) English with Design Arts at University of Plymouth in 1995 and an MA Image & Communication (Photography) at Goldsmiths College, University of London in 1996. She was awarded her PhD in Media & Photography at the University of Plymouth in September 2010 (subject to minor corrections), which used T.S Eliot’s poem ‘The Waste Land’ as an explorative text to examine her self-representational strategies and interpretative methods, within the theoretical framework of film adaptation theory.

Sally’s photographic and video installations have been exhibited extensively, including ‘Shifting Horizons’, Derby Museum & Art Gallery and Midland Arts Centre (2000-2001), ‘Forest’, Nottingham Castle Museum, Oriel Davies Gallery, Wolverhampton Gallery and York Art Gallery (2004-2005) and ‘What Happens Next?’ Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery, London (2008). Waterman's photographs have featured on book covers for publishers such as Virago, Random House, Harper Collins and Faber & Faber and her work is held in public and private collections including The School of Art Institute of Chicago, King St. Stephen Museum, Székesfehérvar, Hungary, the National Art Library at the V&A and the Yale Center for British Art, New York. She has been a part-time lecturer in Film Arts at Plymouth College of Art, an associate lecturer in Media Arts at the University of Plymouth and a visiting artist at Goldsmiths College and Thames Valley University, London.

Session Five: Erotic Dance – 9th March 2011

Joanne Mitchinson, Loughborough University: Community-based perceptions of lap dance clubs and licensing laws


Katy Pilcher, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick: Women Customers’ Experiences in Erotic Dance Venues

For more information about Katy, please see her Warwick eportfolio here.

Session Six: Invisible Bodies/Sexualities – 11th May 2011

Kirsty Liddiard, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick: Disabled men and women's experiences of intimate relationships: The relationship as a site of emotional work 

Kirsty’s PhD research focuses on the ways in which ablest constructions of disabled peoples’ sexualities (for example, as sexual or sexually inadequate) affect the lived experiences of sexuality and relationships for disabled people. A further focus is upon how disabled people mediate and manage these constructions, and the ways in which they narrate and present their experiences.

Kirsty’s research interests are primarily centred on disability, health and illness, embodiment, sexualities, sexual rights, the body, and empowering research methodologies. She also has an interest in disability rights and activism, and disability at a structural and sociopolitical level, particularly around social welfare, care policy and legislation.

In her non-academic work, Kirsty is a Director of Milton Keynes Centre for Integrated Living and a representative for young carers on the Milton Keynes User Led Organisation Network Development group. She also supports local disabled peoples’ groups, for example, volunteering secretariat services for Milton Keynes Theatre and Gallery MK Access Group which works to consult with disabled people about access to local arts and theatre.

For more information about Kirsty, please see her Warwick eportfolio here.

Mark Carrigan, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick: “Maybe you’re just a late bloomer?” Understanding the marginalization of asexuals through the investigation of sexual culture

Mark is a part time PhD student in the Department of Sociology, University of Warwick. His main research interests are identity, morality, political theory, social theory, methodology, intimate life and sexuality.

For more information about Mark, please see Warwick eportfolio here.

Jane Traies, University of Sussex: The Lives of British Lesbians Over Sixty: An Empirical Investigation


Session Seven: Gender, sexuality, and the criminal justice system – 1st June 2011

Anastasia Chamberlen, School of Law, King’s College London: “My Body is a Cage”: An Investigation into the Bodily Identities of Incarcerated Women

Anastasia is a second year PhD student at the School of Law researching the physical effects of imprisonment for women offenders. Her thesis is titled: “My body is a cage’: An investigation into the corporeal experience of imprisonment in England.” She completed her undergraduate studies in History and Sociology at Warwick University and obtained an M.Phil degree in Criminology from Cambridge University. Anastasia’s work is supervised by Professors Elaine Player and Maleiha Malik.

Anastasia’s research interests are interdisciplinary and lie broadly within the areas of Sociology, History, Criminology and Law. She is interested in theoretical ideas on crime causation and in emerging debates in penology. She takes a particular interest in prison studies and sentencing. She is also interested in aspects of gender and crime and particularly analyses within feminist criminology and feminist approaches to the bodily identities. She has also developed a strong interest in social and legal theory and mostly in theoretical thought within the Sociology of Law, the Sociology of Health and Illness and the Sociology of the Body.

Her PhD thesis investigates women’s imprisonment and the representations and social uses of the female body in prisons in England. The thesis includes a theoretical, historical and empirical component. She is evaluating the varying effects of prison regimes on women’s presentation and view of themselves and discusses the role of the female body in aiding the production of a ‘prisoner identity’ and reflecting the pains and experience of imprisonment.


Matthew Jones, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University: Sexuality and Policing: Exploring the occupational experiences of LGB police officers throughout England and Wales

Matthew is an ESRC funded socio-legal doctoral student working in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University. His research interests are situated within an interdisciplinary framework, bringing together academic perspectives from law, sociology, organizational studies and criminology in order to explore the treatment and experiences of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals and communities in contemporary British society. Specifically, he is interested in (i) the social construction, management and micro-political realities of sexuality; (ii) the aims and effectiveness of Equality and Diversity Legislation, and (iii) the organizational consequences of these overlapping concerns within institutional settings.

Session Eight: Embodying Gender – 15th June 2011

Dara Blumenthal, University of Kent: “You Lookin' At Me?” Investigating Masculine Embodiment and the Interaction Order of Public Toilet Spaces

Dara is currently studying at the University of Kent for a PhD in Sociology focused on experiences of gender and embodiment in public-private space, particularly public toilets. She is interested in how the social codes of these spaces work to construct and reproduce gender and sexuality. In giving attention to these spaces as experienced by men, women, gender variant, and trans individuals, she aims to illuminate the variations and fluidity of embodied life, both within and beyond the sex/gender binaries. Before coming to Kent, Dara attended the Gallatin School of Individualized study at New York University where she concentrated in sound and embodiment. Her research interests include sociology of the body, phenomenology, critical geography, queer studies, performance studies, and women's and gender studies.

Michael Ward, Cardiff University: Young Masculinities and the ‘alternative scene’: negotiating de-industrialization among white, working class young men in the South Wales valleys.


Ana Porroche Escudero, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Sussex: Breast Cancer Quiz: How Much Do You Know about Breast Cancer? Implications for methodology

Ana Porroche Escudero is currently finishing her PhD thesis in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex. Her work focuses on intersections between cultural notions of health, illness, gender and the social construction of women's bodies and how this shapes Spanish women's experiences of breast cancer, for which she was awarded a Fundación Caja Madrid grant (2007-08). Before coming to Sussex she did an MA in Women´s Studies (Social Research) at The University of York (2006). She also received a BA in Social Anthropology at Barcelona University (2003) and a BA in Social Work at The University of Zaragoza, Spain (2001).

Besides her DPhil, Ana is involved with community work from her home base in Spain. As a health activist her work focuses on the intersections between sexuality and gender violence. In particular she is concerned with the role of positive approaches to sexual pleasure to promote empowerment and sexual (social) justice. Together with Qvintvs Teatrae, she co-organized the first VDay Worldwide Campaign in Spain (08) to raise awareness and funds for local organizations working to end violence against women and girls. Actually she is the convenor of the Love your Body workshops as a part of the VDay community project (09 &10). She has particular interest in uniting activism with art, pleasure, and innovative methodologies (e.g.PAR, ethnomimesis, sensory workshops) to empower the community in order to prevent gender violence.