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Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexualities

Key People

There are over 50 Durham University staff involved in the Centre. It is run by two Directors and a steering group, which draws on the interdisciplinary expertise of staff at Durham. Members of the steering group are from the faculties of Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences & Health.


Dr Mark McCormack, School of Applied Social Sciences

Dr Mark McCormack is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Applied Social Sciences. His research has empirically documented the erosion of homophobia in educational and sporting settings, and examined the impact this has on the social dynamics of these settings. His research explores how decreasing homophobia has resulted in an expansion of gendered behaviours and seuxal identities for young people, including generational change for bisexual men. He has also discussed the changing nature of homosexually-themed language, and stressed the importance to recognise generational differences in how such language is understood; particularly for teachers and other practitioners.

Dr Susan Frenk, St. Aidan's College

Dr Susan Frenk is Principal of St. Aidan's College. Her research interests are in 20th and 21st century Latin-American culture, and women's voices in literary and social history, from interdisciplinary and critical perspectives. She is a member of the Centre for the Study of Jewish Culture, Society and Politics.

Dr. Simon Forrest, School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health

Simon is Head of School in the School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health. In his early career he taught in secondary and further education before occupying advisory and management positions in health promotion targeting young people. The focus of this work, on HIV/Aids prevention and sexual health promotion has underpinned his academic career. He has worked on a number of studies and evaluations focusing on various aspects of young people’s sexual attitudes and lifestyles including the internationally significant RIPPLE evaluation of peer-led sex education. He has developed specific interest in the experiences of gender, sex and sexuality and interventions with boys and young men which has included contributing to the National Chlamydia Screening Programme thinking on how to target young men. He contributes to a variety of national and international expert groups, advisory committees and conferences as well being Chair of the Board of Trustees for AVERT, one of the world’s most important digital information providers around HIV/Aids and a director of social enterprise the Boys Development Project. Simon also chairs the UK’s national network of Behavioural and Social Scientists Teaching in medicine (BeSST).

Steering Group

Dr Sylvie Gambaudo, Department of Philosophy 

Sylvie Gambaudo is a member of the Philosophy department. She has an undying passion for the study of gender and for what feminist theories bring to an understanding of experience. Her research aims to present critical arguments on gender and feminist theories, and applications of theories of gender to new experiences that are traditionally regarded as unintelligible. Her published work aims to bring to light novel understandings of those neglected experiences. In 2011, she created and coordinated the inter-disciplinary Gender Research Network, which gathered participants from all departments of the three faculties, as well as members of the community. The network was very successful and became the Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexualities in 2013. She is now its deputy director and a member of its steering committee. She is also an enthusiastic member of the Diversity and Inclusion Group (DIG) in the department of Philosophy. The group divides its work between addressing bias in teaching practices, and proposing workshops to understand the mechanics of bias, climate and exclusion in philosophy and beyond.


Professor Lucille Cairns, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Professor Lucille Cairns is the sole author of five monographs, as well as of numerous articles/ chapters on male and female homosexuality in French literature and film, on French women's writing generally, and on French Jewish women's writing in particular. She is sole editor of Gay and Lesbian Cultures in France (2002). She has been editor of Stirling French Publications (1997-2005), and specialist reader for many academic journals. She was President of AUPHF (Association of University Professors and Heads of French) from 2007- 2010, and is currently the national representative for French studies on the Executive Committee of UCML (University Council of Modern Languages). She has been advisor on a number of senior promotions in UK universities, external panel member for the Independent Evaluation of Teaching in the French Department, University of Sheffield (2006), and external member of the panel for the review of the School of Modern Languages, University of Bristol (2009). In 2009, she was made a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French government.

Professor Simon James, Department of English Studies

Professor Simon James' research interests are largely in the literary culture of the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century periods, especially late Victorian and Edwardian fiction. His current research include an essay on Marie Corelli and the Fin-de-Siecle, a monograph on the male bond in fin-de-siècle literature, and an interdisciplinary project on time, memory and consciousness in Dickens. I was a Christopherson/Knott Fellow at the IAS in Michaelmas 2010.

Professor Mark Learmonth, Business School

Mark Learmonth is Professor of Organization Studies at Durham University Business School. He has a longstanding interest in “critical” approaches to management – including an emphasis on gender relations within organizations, and the central role of masculinist language in reinforcing dysfunctional forms of managerial control. Current research includes the representation of women’s work in Disney animated film (with Martyn Griffin) and recently published work includes a feminist analysis of laboratory life and a queer theory reading of leadership.

Santiago Fouz Hernández, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Santiago Fouz Hernández, Reader in Hispanic Studies, has been lecturing at Durham University since 1999. His main area of study to date has been masculinities and male bodies in contemporary film and popular culture, especially, but not exclusively, in the context of Spanish, British and Hollywood cinema. He is the author of the monographs Cuerpos de cine: masculinidades carnales en el cine y la cultura popular contemporáneos (2013) and, with Alfredo Martínez-Expósito, Live Flesh: The Male Body in Contemporary Spanish Cinema (2007), and editor or co-editor of three books and two special journal issues. He is editorial board member of Studies in Spanish and Latin American Cinemas. Currently he is working on a project on Spanish erotic cinema. The main outcomes will include a monograph on the late filmmaker Bigas Luna and an edited collection, as well as a series of screenings in San Francisco, Newcastle, Barcelona and Los Angeles.

Professor Fiona Measham, School of Applied Social Sciences

Fiona has conducted research for over two decades across a broad area of criminology and social policy, exploring changing trends in legal and illegal drugs; the night time economy and the socio-cultural context to consumption; gender; the regulation and policing of intoxication; electronic music scenes and club cultures; issues of deterrence, displacement and desistance; and broader policy implications. A key feature of her research has been the development of in-situ methods of data collection in pubs, clubs and festivals, a working environment with which she is familiar, having spent her early adulthood working in bars and clubs across several continents in various guises. Fiona was appointed to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs by the Home Secretary in 2009. At ACMD she is currently Chair of the ACMD Polysubstance Use Working Group and sits on the ACMD New Psychoactive Substances and Watch List standing committees.

Dr Stacey Pope, School of Applied Social Sciences

Stacey's research has incorporated areas such as the sociology of football and rugby union; comparative research in sports fandom and issues of gender, place and social class; the meaning and importance of sport for women; and the formative experiences of females across different generations and the role of the family in shaping sporting involvement. Her research interests are interdisciplinary in nature, incorporating sociology, physical education, socio-historical perspectives on sport, and leisure studies. Stacey has recently been awarded an AHRC Early Career/Future Leaders grant for the project, Female sport fandom in the North East, and will be working with colleagues in British Columbia and Strathclyde.

Professor Maggie O'Neill, University of York

Professor Maggie O'Neill holds a Chair in Sociology and Criminology at the University of York, and is a former Co-Director of the Centre. She brings extensive experience of working in inter-disciplinary contexts with expertise in critical and cultural criminology. Research activity and outcomes include the development of theory; a focus upon innovative biographical, cultural and participatory research methodologies; and the production of praxis - knowledge which addresses and intervenes in public policy. Her research activity has been instrumental in moving forward debates, dialogue and scholarship in three substantive areas: prostitution and the commercial sex industry (since 1990); forced migration and the asylum-migration nexus (since 1999); innovative participatory, performative and visual methodologies (since 1990).

Professor Jo Phoenix, University of Leicester

Professor Jo Phoenix is a Professor of Criminology at the University of Leicester, and a former Director of the Centre. Her research themes and interests include gender, crime and victimization, sex and sexual regulation, youth justice and youth penology. Jo is also Book Review Editor for the British Journal of Criminology, sits on the editorial board of Youth Justice and is a member of the Peer Review College for the ESRC.

Laura Graham, Durham Law School

Laura Graham is a lecturer at Durham Law School, having previously taught Criminal Law at the University of Nottingham. Laura is currently completing an ESRC 1+3 funded PhD at the University of Nottingham supervised by Professor Vanessa Munro, Mr Ralph Sandland, and Professor David Fraser. Laura’s thesis critically explores how the Human Rights Act could impact reform of the law relating to prostitution in England and Wales. Laura's research interests broadly lie in the field of gender and criminal law, with a particular focus on the regulation of sex. Laura has been a convenor of Gender and Law at Durham since 2012.

Mark McCormack on... homophobia

"The new equalities legislation in the UK compels schools to promote inclusion and diversity with respect to sexual orientation. The equalities agenda provides the perfect opportunity to engage students about sexuality in ways that will enable them to learn about the complexity and pleasure of sexual desire, orientation and identity. Academics, activists and teachers need to be proactive in bringing about this change."

Shape. Inform. Influence.