I am currently a Surrey Research Fellow working on the lifecycles of LGBTQI+ community centres in London.
I have previously held a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship (2016-9) at the University of Surrey, researching 'Punk, Politics and Gender in the UK'.
My PhD was awarded in 2015 from the University of Warwick.
My research is all focused around issues of subcultural and community studies. I draw on aspects of gender, feminism and sexuality studies in order to investigate links between identity practices and cultural practices. My work overlaps with various aspects of political action including community activism, direct action and political education. My work is interdisciplinary, speaking both to sociology but also to history: I connect and contextualise the contemporary with the past and make explicit those connections and points of rupture.
My new research project, ‘Lifecycles of LGBTQ+ Community Centres’, is an indepth comparative socio-historic case study project into the dynamics of LGBTQI+ community organising in London. It will allow an interrogation of the shifting understandings of (LGBTQI+) identity and intergenerational activist communication.
'Punk, Politics and Gender in UK' was funded by the Leverhulme Trust's Early Career Fellowship scheme (2016-9). This is an ethnographic study of feminist queer and DIY punk in the UK which seeks to analyse the mechanisms by which do-it-yourself feminist punk scenes draw on political ideas in structuring their subcultural approaches. This subculture is particularly focused on empowering those who find themselves marginalised in other subcultural spaces (particularly women, people of colour and queer people); the project thus addresses forms of grassroots political and cultural development. Various groups of punks have engaged in the work of empowerment since punk emerged the 1970s, yet face the continued issue of wider structural inequality. The research charts this work historically and the relationships (personally, politically, aesthetically) between these various generations of punks. The project illuminates the way in which feminist punk scenes draw on the latest debates in feminist theory and feminist practice, how these ideas structure cultural activity, and how they influence further theoretical development in wider feminist movements. It thereby highlights wider relationships between cultural activity and societal and political discourse.
I completed my PhD at the University of Warwick in 2015. My thesis, 'Punk Lives: Contesting Boundaries in the Dutch Punk Scene' was an ethnography of the punk in the Netherlands, focused particularly on political and lifestyle choices of participants as they negotiate ageing as a punk. This research was funded by an AHRC Doctoral studentship, attached to the project 'Post-Socialist Punk'.
I also hold an MA in Society and Culture in the Cold War from the Department of History, University of Warwick. My MA dissertation was 'No Goals, No Future, No Hope, No Joy', this was a study of the popular experience of Punk in Eastern Europe under socialism.
I have previously worked as a Research Assistant on multiple research projects including 'Imagine: Hillfields', 'Toxic Expertise', and 'MYPLACE: Memory, Youth, Political Legacy and Civic Engagement'.
At the University of Surrey I have previously taught on SOC1032 'Re:presenting Difference and' SOC1026 'Qualitative Field Methods: Interviews and Ethnography'. I have extensive previous teaching experience at the University of Warwick in areas of sociological methods and the epistemology of sociology.
On 8 September 1979, the English punk bands Crass and Poison Girls played a benefit gig with the Dutch punk band Rondos at London's Conway Hall. The gig has become notorious in British punk history due to the violence that broke out between right-wing and left-wing factions, bringing to the fore wider political tensions evident across punk's fragmented milieu. Not only did it embody the attempts of the far-right and far-left to co-opt punk's rebellion, but it also brokered a debate as to the nature of punk's politics and its relationship to existing political movements. In many ways, punk's politics – especially the overt politics of bands such as Crass and Rondos – was defined against the systematic ideologies of the left and right. Nevertheless, the controversy that followed the Conway Hall gig ended the transnational friendship that had been established between the bands, leading to a protracted debate on questions of political violence, pacifism and anarchism. This article provides a comparative study of punk politics. In particular, it explores the different social and political contexts that informed punk in Britain and the Netherlands, revealing how punk cultures transmitted, mutated and evolved across national boundaries.
Punk took root in The Netherlands in 1977, with scores of new bands forming through 1978–80. As with elsewhere, punk’s mix of spectacular imagery, nihilism and/or radical politics, shock value and a do-it-yourself approach appealed to young people. Also in the late 1970s, the port city of Rotterdam was undergoing a process of deindustrialisation and automation. It was still being rebuilt, both literally and figuratively, following near-annihilation during the Second World War. The city’s teenagers worked together to create strong subcultural and artistic networks, heavily influenced by left-wing political groups actively vying for attention.
This book is the first in-depth, ethnographic study of the Dutch punk scene. It questions the artificial boundaries of subcultural research, calling for a critical analysis of the distinctions drawn between subcultural and everyday lives, and between localised and globalised subcultures. The everyday experiences of punk are framed within the mobile and connected global subculture of which they are a part. It traces its emergence in the 1970s and its development through to 2010, with chapters that map Dutch punk historically and spatially. Further chapters explore the meanings and practices attached to punk by its participants before focusing in particular on the political affiliations of punks. This book argues for an approach to social research that recognises the ‘messiness’ and the ‘connectedness’ of punk and of the social world.
The past three decades have seen the emergence of an increasingly vigorous and outspoken trans movement in the United Kingdom. Resulting political and social changes have been accompanied by an increasing number of individuals willing to disclose their trans status and be publicly trans. With the development of ‘new modes’ and ‘different codes’ of trans identity and political activism (Whittle, 1998: 393), and an increasingly visible trans population, the stand-alone trans has also come to operate as an organising category for cultural forms. Whereas previous terminologies such as ‘transsexual’, ‘transvestite’ (and perhaps even ‘transgender’) provided more distinct categorical accounts of gender-variant possibility, ‘trans’ is intentionally open and – like ‘queer’ – refuses any clear or coherent definition (Pearce, Steinberg and Moon, 2019). In this chapter, we reflect on what it might mean to ‘do’ trans in a contemporary cultural context, in the tradition of recent accounts of trans music, theatre and performance (see, for instance Halberstam, 2005; Kumpf, 2016; Gossett, Stanley and Burton, 2017; Jaime, 2017; Landry, 2018).
Recently, and particularly in the wake of the 40th anniversary of punk in the United Kingdom, there has been a growing trend to reflect on the importance of defining and understanding the legacy of punk and its importance in shaping our cultures and societies both in Europe and beyond. There is no doubt that punk as a countercultural movement created reverberations that have, over four decades, had tangible effects both on individuals who identify themselves as punk and those outside the scene. Punk has encouraged a spirit of questioning and provided a counterpoint to apathy and blind acceptance of authority and convention in far-reaching aspects of all our lives. However, the nostalgic Zeitgeist of our academic reflection has also brought a number of complex issues to the fore that now demand a re-examination of how punk has entered our collective memory and our lived experience.
The emergence of ‘trans’ as a social and political movement and identity has created the conditions for the creation of a new music scene, organized around the gender(ed) identities of those involved rather than musical genre. This paper examines the parallels between the attitude taken towards gender(ed) identity and the organization of events in the United Kingdom’s trans music scene. Both entail de/construction through strategies of 'genre evasion' (Steinholt, 2012) and 'cut-and-paste' (Bornstein, 1994). This de/constructive process crosses boundaries and opens possibilities, enabling new modes of organization alongside new ways of understanding culture and identity.