Photo of Dr Gemma Ahearne

Dr Gemma Ahearne PhD

Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology


Personal Statement

I was delighted to join the University of Liverpool in September 2019 having previously worked at Liverpool John Moores University and Leeds Beckett University.

Having entered academia via a non-traditional trajectory, I have a strong commitment to widening participation and creating a more inclusive and welcoming academia. I place value on lived experience and different ways of producing knowledge. I make a substantial contribution to teaching and learning across the department including leading 5 modules and am keen to share best practice and pedagogical innovations with colleagues across the university.

My doctorate focused on the experiences of women sex workers in prison and I have twenty years experience of the sex industry. My interests are gendered violence more broadly and I am currently involved in several projects with defined outputs. In some of my current writing I am critiquing the role of women's centres who facilitate the punishment of women thus effectively being their 'sisters' keepers' in the widening web of governmentality. This speaks to the importance of critical criminlogists and feminist legal scholars to interrogate the spectrum of decarceration and where harms might be displaced to community settings and alternatives.

Another current project is working with colleagues in medicine and disaster planning interrogating the health/power/criminality-nexus in relation to the pandemic .Much of my work focuses on moralising discourses and how people are constructed as the 'other'. I am keen to continue developing multidisciplinary responses with colleagues internationally.

Being committed to the development of scholarship in my area I regularly review for ten journals, two book publishers and I serve on the editorial board for Palgrave Advances in Sex Work Studies.

I have a number of chapters and articles being published in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Prizes or Honours

  • Learning and Teaching Fellowship (University of Liverpool, 2021)
  • Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Award (University of Liverpool, 2021)
  • Nomination for Most Innovative Teacher of the Year (Times Higher Education, 2021)
  • Nomination for The Innovator Award (Practical Pedagogy Conference University of Lincoln, 2021)
  • Visiting Fellow (University of Leeds, 2019)
  • Ph.D Scholarship (Centre of Applied Social Research, Leeds Beckett University, 2013)
  • Best in Class Sociology BA (Hons) (Liverpool john Moores University, 2012)
  • David McEvoy Prize for Sociology (Liverpool John Moores University, 2012)