Professor Gayle Letherby
School of Society and Culture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)
Visiting Professor (Sociology) Faculty of Health
BA (Hons) in Sociology (1st Class) Staffordshire Polytechnic (July 1990)
PhD (Sociology) Staffordshire University (September 1997)
Member - British Sociological Association (BSA) 1990 – member of various committees since 1993, including Chair of Equality of the Sexes Committee 1997 – 1998 and Vice Chair of National Executive Committee 2004 – 2006, Chair of National Executive Committee/Council 2006 - 2009
Also, co-convenor of Human Reproduction Study Group 1994 – 2002, steering group member for Family Studies Group 2005 – 2007, co-convenor South WestRegional MedSoc Group 2007 -
Member – American Sociological Association 2004 -
Member – Women in Higher Education Network (WHEN) 1993 – (co-Chair 2000 – 2003)
Member – Association of Research on Mothering (ARM) 1997 (UK link 2000 – 2002)
Member - Institute of Learning and Teaching 2002 –
External Assessor on Promotion Applications
Coventry University (Reader)
Open University (Professor)
Oxford Brookes University (Reader)
University of Warwick (Reader; Visiting Professor, Professor)
University of Central England (Professor)
York St John, a college of the University of Leeds (Reader)
Aston University (Senior Lecturer)
Anglia Ruskin University (Reader)
Wolverhampton University (Professor)
HONOURS: In October 2007 I was appointed an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences.
Roles on external bodies
Editor: With Ross Coomber, John Scott and others Methodological Innovations 2005 - 2022
With Ross Coomber (Plymouth) I am the co-editor of Sociological Research Online 2009 – 2012
With Mark Hyde, Nick Johns and Michael Sheppard (Plymouth) I am the co-editor of Social and Public Policy Review 2008 -
Book Review Editor: I was the book review editor (and a board member) for the journal Gender and Education (2001 – 2004). I was book review co-editor (with Sue Gregory, Edinburgh University) for the journal Sociology of Health and Illness (2003 - 2007).
Board Chair: I was a member of the Editorial Board of Sociological Research Online 1999 – 2009 and Chair of the Editorial Board (2003- 2009).
Board Member: I am a board member of the journals Women’s Studies International Forum, Reinvention: a journal of undergraduate research, Methodological Innovations.
Guest Journal Editor: with Pam Cotterill (Staffordshire) I was guest editor for a double-edition of Women's Studies International Forum the title of which is ‘Women in Higher Education: issues and challenges’ (Vol 28 (2-3) summer 2005); with Pam Cotterill (Staffordshire) and Christina Hughes (Warwick) I was guest editor for an edition of Studies in Higher Education the title of which is ‘Transgressions and Gender in Higher Education’ (Vol 31 (4) August 2006).
Methods, Methodology and Epistemology: interests include feminist methodology and epistemology together with practical elements of ‘doing feminist research’; general dilemmas in the field (e.g. ethics, power, emotion); auto/biography.
Family, Kinship and Identity: interests include motherhood and non-motherhood; parenthood and non-parenthood; foster care; teenage pregnancy and young parenthood; ‘reconstructed’ families.
Medicine, Health and Caring: interests include theoretical approaches, scientific knowledge and power, women and men and health care, the NHS and inequalities in health care, reproductive issues, ‘alternative’ therapies, politics, morality and medicine.
Sex, Sexuality, Power and Oppression: interests include interpersonal violence, prostitution, sexuality and identity.
Sociology of Crime and Deviance, Criminology: interests include theoretical perspectives, prisons and imprisonment.
I current contribute to several undergraduate Sociology modules and supervise MPhil and PhD students (at Plymouth and elsewhere).
Staff serving as external examiners
- Sociology/Social Science at Bath Spa University College (2002 - 2006). (Appointed as advisor to new external examiner 2006-2007)
- Gender and Sociology; Gender and Cultural Studies at University of Warwick (2004)
- Combined Honours in Sociology at Oxford Brookes University (2004 – 2008)
- Community Studies at York St John, a college of the University of Leeds (2004-2007)
- Sociology at University of Portsmouth (2008 -2011)
- Social Sciences, Senior Examiner, Staffordshire University (2009 – 2013).
- MA Sociological Research, University of Sheffield, 2008 – 2012 (+ generic methods modules for MA Sociological Research, MA Global Social Policy and MA International Childhood Studies) University of Sheffield (2009 – 2012)
Research Postgraduate (EXTERNAL)
- (Late Pregnancy and Miscarriage, PhD) Bristol University (March 2004)
- (Sex Education in Walsall, MPhil) University of Wolverhampton (July 2004, resubmission requested)
- (Women and Higher Education, PhD) Toronto University (October 2004)
- (Gender, Sexuality and Teaching, PhD) Warwick University (March 2005)
- (Doctors and Women’s Experience of the abortion PhD) Nottingham Trent University (June 2005, resubmission requested - awarded Summer 2006)
- (Chinese Women and Sport, PhD) DeMontford University (July 2006)
- (The Experience of Disabled Social Workers, PhD) Staffordshire University (July 2006)
- (The Experience of Prison Officers, PhD) Staffordshire University (September 2006)
- (Breast Health, PhD) LaTrobe University, Australia (December 2006)
- (Gender and Career Advisors, PhD) Warwick University (January 2007)
- (Gender and Education, PhD) Queens University, Belfast) (November 2007)
- (Heterosexual Mothers of Homosexual Sons, PhD) York University (February 2008)
- (Gynaecological governance: femininity, responsibility and self-care among women with endometriosis, PhD) Monash University, Australia (September 2008)
- (Childlessness in Australia, PhD) University of Melbourne (December 2008)
- (Shaping textile-making as an occupational domain: perspectives, contexts and meanings, PhD) Cardiff University (June 2009)
- (Occupational Therapist’s narratives of the Self as Therapist) University of Southampton, EdD (December 2009)
- (An ethnography of participation, engagement and social life in an everyday public library, PhD) Cardiff University (January 2010)
- (Infertility and Age, PhD) University of Essex (January 2010)
- (Loss and Stillbirth, PhD) University of Bristol (May 2010)
- (Older mothers and work, PhD) University of Limerick (Oct 2010)
Method, methodology and epistemology (including feminist research and auto/biography); reproductive and non/parental identities; the ‘family’ and identity; teaching and learning in higher education; prisons and imprisonment; the sociology of travel and transport, bereavement and loss, love.
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
- Sue Melling (MPhil) ‘Parental, Maternal and Paternal Roles Related to ‘Family-Centred’ Care (AWARDED 2000 DoS)
- Louise Conneelley (PhD) 'The impact of rehabilitation for those with Severe Head Injury. Perceptions of the Patient, Significant Others and Rehabilitation Team' (AWARDED 2001 Supervisor)
- Kate Russell (PhD) ‘Body Image, Self-Esteem and Self-Identity: women’s participation motivation in rugby, cricket and netball’ (AWARDED 2002 Supervisor)
- Liz Holmes (MPhil) ‘Performance Indicators for Family Centres: theoretical and practical issues’ (AWARDED 2002 Supervisor)
- Nicola Bailey (MPhil) ‘Health Concepts and Social Context in Old Age: the conceptualisation of health related needs of people aged seventy-five and over in community care assessments’ (AWARDED 2005 Supervisor)
- Zoebia Ali (PhD) ‘Experiences of Bangladeshi and Pakistani young people with disabilities’ (AWARDED 2005 Supervisor )
- Patsy Staddon (PhD) ‘Making ‘Whoopee’: Women and Alcohol Use/Abuse’ (AWARDED 2009 DoS)
- Kevin Hugill (PhD, University of Central Lancashire) ‘The Role of Fathers in Special Care Baby Units’ (AWARDED 2009 External Supervisor)
- Sally Richards (PhD, Coventry University) ‘The Meanings of Gardens and Gardening for Older People’ (AWARDED 2010 External Supervisor)
- Sarah Church (PhD, The Open University) ‘With Mother: the significance of the parental identity of midwives’ (AWARDED 2010 External Supervisor)
- Michelle Jolley (PhD ESRC +3) ‘Geographical Variation in the Use of Anti-Social Behaviour Remedies: policy and practice’ (AWARDED 2011, Supervisor, Plymouth)
- Linda Adams (PhD) The social processes and individual reasoning that underlies causal attribution in a medical setting and to produce taxonomy of causal inference across a range of diagnosis’ (AWARDED 2013, DoS, Plymouth University)
- Rachel Jarvie (PhD ESRC 1+3) ‘An Exploration of the Mother/Daughter Relationship during Pregnancy and Early Motherhood for Women with Pre-Existing Diabetes and/or Obesity’ (AWARDED 2014, DoS, Plymouth University)
- Rosalind Paisey (MRes) ‘EAT: diet suppressing therapies for people living with diabetes’ (AWARDED 2014. Supervisor, Plymouth University)
- Julie Parsons (PhD part time) ‘Emotions and Food’ (AWARDED 2014, Supervisor, Plymouth)
- Geraldine Brown (PhD) ‘An exploration of the significance and meaning of ‘gun crime and ‘gang culture’ within the African Caribbean community living in two localities in the West Midlands’ (AWARDED 2015, Supervisor, Coventry University)
- Rebecca Twinley (PhD part time) ‘Occupational Impact of Women on Women Rape’ (AWARDED 2016, DoS (supervisor after leaving Plymouth full time))
- Sarah Elson (PhD ESRC 1 +3) ‘An Auto/biographical Analysis of Long Term
Conditions’ (AWARDED 2018 DoS (supervisor after leaving Plymouth full time))
- Nthabiseng (Violet) Moraka (PhD) ‘Enhancing Talent Management to Improve the Representation of Women Directors in Selected South African Mining Companies’ (AWARDED AUGUST 2018, Supervisor, University of South Africa)
- Beth Moran (EdD part time) ‘Does Peer Support Promote Boundary Spanning in Social Work?’ (AWARDED July 2020, supervisor, Plymouth)
- Patricia Eyres (PhD part time) ‘Faith Meanings in Occupational Therapy’ (AWARDED November 2020, supervisor, Plymouth)
Grants & contracts
‘Semi-Supported Independent Housing for under 18 Lone Parents: Needs Assessment’ (Funded by Coventry Health Authority. AWARDED May 2001, £13,316. Research took place May 2001 – July 2001) (GL - grant applicant and principal investigator).‘Institutional Racism Evaluation’ (Funded by The Children’s Society. AWARDED November 2001, £10,000. Research took place November 2001 – March 2002) (GL – principal investigator).
‘Needs Assessment: foster carers who provide placements for young people abusing substances’ (Funded by Warwickshire County Council. AWARDED December 2001, £30,000. Research took place December 2001 – June 2002) (GL – grant applicant and principal investigator).
‘Pregnancy and Post-Natal Experience of Young Women who become Pregnant under the Age of 20 Years’ (Funded by Coventry Health Authority. AWARDED January 2002, £24,000. Research took place Feb 2002 – June 2002) (GL – grant applicant and principal investigator).
‘Substance Abuse with reference to children/young people on the ‘at risk register’ and in ‘the looked after population’’ (Funded by Warwickshire County Council. AWARDED February 2002, £19,648. Research took place March 2002 - September 2002) (GL grant applicant and principal investigator).
'Supported Housing Needs for Teenage Parents in Warwickshire (Funded by Warwickshire County Council. AWARDED March 2003, £15,860. Research took place April 2003 - July 2003) (GL - grant applicant and principal investigator).
'Domestic Violence Commissioning Strategy for Coventry (Funded by Coventry City Council. AWARDED February 2003, £9,975. Research took place April 2003 - October 2003) (Liz Gilchrist (Coventry University) and GL - grant applicants and principal investigators).
'Experience and Support Needs of 'Young' Fathers' in Warwickshire (Funded by Warwickshire County Council. AWARDED December 2003, £22,822. Research to take place March 2004 - October 2004) (GL - grant applicant and principal investigator).
‘Power and Control in the Intimate and Personal Relationships of Pregnant Teenagers and Young Mothers’ (Funded by Coventry Primary Care Trust. AWARDED February 2004, £12,000. Research took place May 2004 – December 2005) (GL – grant applicant and principal investigator).
Support Following and Prior to Termination and Miscarriage for Young Women – a pilot study (Funded by Coventry Primary Care Trust. AWARDED February 2004, £13,000. Research took place September 2004 –December 2005) (GL and Louise Wallace (Coventry University) – grant applicants and principal investigators).
Evaluation of Specialist Services for Young Parents (Funded by Coventry Primary Care Trust. AWARDED October 2004, £3,000. Research took place April 2005 – January 2005). (GL – grant applicant and principal investigator).
‘Mother Centres, Feminist Pedagogy, and Young Motherhood: Creating Empowerment Programming for Young Mothers’ (Funded by SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) International Opportunity Fund. AWARDED April 2008, $71,905. Research took place April 2008 – June 2009 (Andrea O’Reilly, York University, Ontario grant applicant and principal investigator, research team – Andrea O’Reilly; Deborah Byrd, Lafayette College, US; Deborah Keys, University of Melbourne, Australia; Gayle Letherby, University of Plymouth, UK; and Phyllis Montgomery of Laurentian University)
‘An exploration of Mother/Daughter Relationships during Pregnancy and the Transition to Motherhood of Women with Pre Existing Diabetes’ (Funded by Diabetes UK. AWARDED May 2008, £8,000. Research took place June 2008 – December 2008). (Elizabeth Stenhouse (University of Plymouth) and GL grant applicants and principal investigators).
Key publications are highlightedJournals
Recent Conference Organisation
2000 Human Reproduction Study Group (BSA): annual day conference
2001 Human Reproduction Study Group (BSA): annual day conference
2001 WHEN: day conference - ‘In Bed with the Three Headed Monster: teaching, research and administration for women in higher education’.
2002 WHEN: two day conference - 'Taking Over the Academy?: women making inroads and carving spaces in Higher Education’.
2002 Human Reproduction Study Group (BSA): annual day conference
2003 Centre for Social Justice, Coventry University: annual day conference
2004 Centre for Social Justice, Coventry University: annual day conference
2005 Family Studies Group (BSA): two-day conference ‘Families and Lifecourse’
2006 British Society of Criminology/BSA: day conference ‘Sex and Crime’
2005 ESRC/BSA Summer School ‘Sociological Imaginations’ Coventry University
Other academic activities
REFEREEING AND ADVISORY GROUP MEMBERHIP
Sociology; Sociological Inquiry; Sociological Review.
Gender and Women’s Studies
Gender and Society; Women’s Studies International Forum; Gender, Work and Organisation; Journal of Gender Studies; Women's Health and Urban Life.
Human Reproduction; Journal of Social Policy; Ethnicity and Health; New Genetics and Society; Social Research Methodology: theory and practice.
I have previously been an abstractor for Studies on Women’s Abstracts and for Network (BSA).
Open University Press
I have recently been nominated to be a member of the Virtual College of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and have previously acted as a referee and a report rapporteur.
WellBeing (as referee)
Advisory Group Member
1995-1997: Member of an advisory group for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation: to advise on the progress of a 2 year research project carried out by the Family Policy Studies Centre - ‘Childlessness in Britain: a rejection of parenthood?
COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES AND ENGAGEMENT
Following the successful completion of several research projects for Coventry Primary Care Trust and Warwickshire County Council whilst at Coventry I sat on various committees for both agencies (including the Coventry PCT Teenage Pregnancy Partnership Board). I also chaired a committee for each agency: Social Inclusion Programme Delivery Group (Coventry PCT); Support Sub Group of the Teenage Pregnancy Partnership Board (Warwickshire Country Council).
INTERNATIONAL LINKS AND EXTERNAL REPUTATION
I have established links with colleagues at the Key Centre for Women’s Studies at Melbourne University, Australia; The Australian Research Centre for Sex, Health and Society (La Trobe University); and the Sociology Department at York University, Ontario, Canada. In December 2006 I was a Visiting Fellow at Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia.
I have also spoken, by invitation, at Brook University, Ontario, Canada; at Washington DC University and at various international seminars and conferences. In May 2006 I was a plenary speaker at the ‘Mothers and Others: promoting healthy living’ 6th Bi-Annual CASWE Conference, York University, Ontario. In September 2006 I was an invited speaker and participant at the ‘Minimal Families: Childlessness and Intergenerational Transfers in European Societies Workshop’, European University Institute, Florence. In December 2006 I was an invited speaker on the panel ‘Sociology in Britain’ at the TASA Conference, Perth, Australia.
Visiting Professor – Coventry University 2006 –
MEDIA WORK AND REFERENCE TO MY WORK IN THE MEDIA
Claire Ainsworth ‘Stop the Clock’ New Scientist (30th June 2001)
Chris Arnot 'Baby Bias' The Guardian (Society) (17th April 2003)
Catherine Turner ‘A Helping Hand for Teen Mums’ Coventry Evening Telegraph (Monday Supplement) (26th May 2003)
Zoe Williams ‘The Parent Trap’ The Guardian Weekend (Saturday 18th October 2003)
Various Radio Appearances including: BBC Radio Scotland, The Gary Robertson Show (guest appearance) (May 2003); Mercia South (April 2005); BBC Radio Coventry (June 2005); Thinking Allowed BBC Radio4 (June 2005).
OPEN UNIVERSITY WORK
Work on An Evaluation of Specialist Services for Pregnant Teenagers and Young Parents (with Brady and Brown) Centre for Social Justice, Coventry University undertaken for Coventry Teenage Pregnancy Partnership Board is used as a case study in Earle S Lloyd C E Sidell M and Spurr S (eds) (2007) Theory and Research in Promoting Public Health London: Sage in conjunction with the Open University (The book is supported by a CD on which I am interviewed about our work on teenage pregnancy and young parenthood).
I wrote/co-wrote two autobiographical pieces – ‘Experiencing Miscarriage’ (Letherby) and ‘Ron’s Death’ (Thornton and Letherby) – for Earle S Bartholomew and Komaromyh C (eds) (forthcoming 2008) Making Sense of Death, Dying and Bereavement: An Anthology London: Sage in conjunction with the Open University.