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 higher education 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 such as auto-ethnography.

I make a substantial contribution to teaching and learning across the department which includes leading 5 modules. I am keen to share best practice and pedagogical innovations with colleagues across the university. I have been invited to sit on the ULTRA awards panel and am mentoring colleagues in developing their teaching practice.

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 and sexual exploitation 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 criminologists and feminist legal scholars to interrogate the spectrum of decarceration where harms might be displaced to community settings and alternative spaces.

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 will continue to develop multidisciplinary responses with colleagues internationally.

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

I am committed to developing arts-based practice and collaborations, having worked with FACT Liverpool, Bloc Projects Sheffield and Tate Liverpool through the Tate Exchange programme.

As part of my commitment to widening participation I work as a WP mentor; deliver a summer school session; a school outreach session (Yr 13); a lecture for the Liverpool Scholars Programme; and also deliver a lecture for the Go Higher Access Programme.

I am proud to be Dyslexic: expect creative ideas and creative spelling.

Prizes or Honours

  • British Society of Criminology Women, Crime and Criminal Justice Network Paper Prize 2022 (British Society of Criminology, 2022)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (Higher Education Academy, 2022)
  • Tate Exchange (University of Liverpool, 2022)
  • 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)