Creative Arts

Staff research

Gendered Lives

Gendered Lives is a multi-disciplinary research group bringing together those researching gender, how it is experienced, and how it is represented in personal documents and cultural objects.

Our work encompasses disciplines whose researchers: use interviews or life-narratives; build therapeutics or create performances based upon life-accounts; study diaries, letters, and other personal documents; and who examine representations of life, such as auto/biographies, portraiture, and literature.

Please see our blog for events listings, including our termly research seminars. You can also follow us on Twitter @GenderedL and join our Facebook pages to keep up with activities of those in the group.

If you think you would benefit from hearing more about specific research or research skills in any of these areas, then please email us at and we can put you directly in touch with the relevant researchers.

Gender and Cultural Representation

Group members in the arts and humanities primarily study the cultural representation of gender in literature, visual art, and other cultural documents across a range of historical periods from the early modern period to the present.

Feminist Methodologies

Between us, we employ a range of feminist methodologies and theoretical approaches. In our different fields, many of us are involved in researching the contribution of women to fields primarily considered to be dominated by men or where women’s contributions have been marginalised, whether in the creative arts, industry, or politics. Gendered Lives gathers together researchers with a strong interest in theorisations of the body, sexuality, gender identity, and gender politics. We have researchers experienced in qualitative data analysis and the use of oral histories.

Gender Equality and Feminist Futures

How can the lives of women and gender minorities be improved? Gendered Lives researchers tackle this question in relation to working environments, equitable access to resources, political representation, and health and well-being. We also have researchers seeking to understand and challenge how language and actions—from clothes purchasing to knitting—are gendered.

Working with Activists and Communities

Whether it is working in partnership with feminist campaigners, the local trans community, or with religious and ethnic minorities in European capitals, members of Gendered Lives have strong links with activists and marginal communities which informs their research and enables their research, in turn, to benefit society beyond academia.

Anger and Feminist Well-Being

Working with the Women’s Resource Centre and other feminist campaign organisations, this project seeks to understand how anger and feminist campaigning interact. How do feminist organisations harness and use the anger caused by injustice? How do they manage the anger aimed at them, especially with the rise in online misogyny? Do their campaigns take account of the ‘angry feminist’ stereotype? We want to enrich social understandings of anger—its benefits as well as its potential for harm—to directly benefit feminist organisations. This project is led by Dr Jennifer Cooke, with Dr Line Nyhagen, Professor Ruth Kinna, and Dr Sarah Barnard

Trans Lives: East Mids

Our newest initiative seeks to partner with the local trans communities in the East Midlands in order to archive oral histories of regional trans experience. We have a launch event this November and we are interested in hearing from local trans people and organisations who might wish to be involved. This project is led by Dr Catherine Armstrong and includes a range of different researchers and trans people across the university and beyond.

See the Group's blog and twitter feed for information on the newest publications and events

The group has members from across the University, including English, History, Sociology, Art, Media Studies, Political Thought, Psychology, and Biology. Researchers at all levels and from all disciplines are welcome to attend our events. We are also interested in building affiliations with other research groups with similar interests at different institutions, and with activist and LGBTQI groups. The Gendered Lives Research Group is chaired by Jennifer Cooke.


Read about the amazing work done by one of our partners, the Women’s Resource Centre.