A photo of Laura Smith.

Graduate Teaching Fellow & Postgraduate Research Student 

Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology



Laura obtained a first-class BA (Hons) in Human Geography from Queen Mary University of London in 2018, receiving the Principal’s Graduation Prize in recognition of outstanding academic achievement. She then completed her MA in Social Research at the University of Leeds, graduating with a distinction in December 2019. She commenced her Graduate Teaching Fellow position in the School of Law and Social Justice in September 2022.

Thesis title

Intimate Relationships across the divide in the North of Ireland: Women's Experiences of Everyday Peace in the Legacy of Conflict


Laura's research background is situated firmly within the social sciences, and her research explores issues with a unique interdisciplinary persepctive which reflects her previous studies.

She has a particular interest in issues of social and spatial inequality, and her PhD research explores women’s experiences of such issues in Northern Ireland in the aftermath of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement. More specifically, she is interested in questions concerning how the peace process in Northern Ireland has led to a shift in recognising the ability of ‘ordinary citizens’ to create, strengthen and solidify peace through their personal lives. This conceptual framework, known as ‘Everyday Peace’ has been critiqued from a feminist perspective, and can be seen as an extension of an entrepreneurial/neoliberal policy agenda. Laura will continue this critical lens of Everyday Peace to explore some of the nuances of women’s life in Northern Ireland, by drawing on themes including care, emotions, intimacy, resistance, identity.

Specifically, her PhD research will draw on her MA thesis by critically examining intimate relationships and marriages in the Irish context between those who identify as Catholic/Nationalist/Republican, and those who identify as Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist. By focusing her research on women who are in an intimate relationship across an ethno-religious divide, it provides a unique understanding into social relations and the peace process in Northern Ireland. Through a ethnographic methodology, she will increase understandings into the varied ways in which women in mixed intimate relationship’s lives (and bodies) have been intertwined with politics and violence throughout the peace process in Northern Ireland, and the ramifications this has for social justice.


Dates of study

September 2022 - September 2026