Professor Maggie O'Neill
Professor Maggie O'Neill
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I am Professor in Sociology at University College Cork, Head of the Department of Sociology & Criminology. Visiting Professor Northumbria University, Newcastle.
Before joining UCC I was Chair in Sociology & Criminology in the Department of Sociology at the University of York, and Professor in Criminology at the University of Durham and Principal of Ustinov College. I describe myself as an inter-disciplinary scholar.
My PhD in Sociology explored the transformative possibilities for conducting feminist participatory action research with sex workers and was awarded in 1996. The majority of the empirical research I have conducted uses participatory action research, ethnographic and biographical methods and participatory arts. I have a long history of working with artists and community groups to conduct arts based research-working together to create change; social justice is at the core of my work.
A Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Since 2021 a member of the Exective Committee of the European Sociological Association, and a member, former Vice Chair and Chair of Research Network 3 'Biographical Perspectives on European Societies'.
A member of the Sociological Association of Ireland since 2018 and a long term member of the British Sociological Association. I also have the privilege of working as a board member of the Global Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies Network.
Other roles include being a board member of the LEX Research network, an associate editor on the Journal of Gender, Justice and Social Transformation and an editorial board member of the Irish Journal of Sociology. A board Member Irish Sex Work Research Network https://iswrn.org
My Research activity includes the development of critical theory; a focus upon innovative biographical, cultural and participatory research methodologies, ie., walking as a biographical research methods; and the production of praxis - knowledge which addresses and intervenes in public policy.
Rsearch leadership has been instrumental in moving forward debates, dialogue and scholarship in three substantive areas: sexwork and the commercial sex industry (since 1989); forced migration and the asylum-migration nexus (since 1999) including a focus on race, crime and justice; innovative participatory, biographical, performative and visual methodologies (since 1990).
Before conducting ethnographic and participatory research with sex workers in 1989 I was immersed in a PhD on Adorno's Aesthetics of Modernism especially the transformative possibilities of art as well as feminist aesthetics. To this end I studied the Frankfurt School and Adorno and Benjamin's work alongside research on feminist aesthetics. The research was published in 1999 as Adorno, Culture and Feminism by Sage Publications.
Since this time I have been engaged in examining the transformative potential of art and the inter-section of art and social research [arts based research - and I call this ethno-mimesis] in the fields of cultural criminology, cultural sociology and biographical sociology.
I have taught at both former polytechnics and Russell Group Universities, beginning my career at Nottingham Trent University, then Staffordshire University and Loughborough University before moving to Durham University and then briefly at York University before moving to University College Cork. My teaching encompasses Sociology, Criminology, Women's Studies and Cultural Studiess. I enjoy working very much with undergraduates, postgraduates and postdoctoral students.
At Durham I co-founded the Sex Work Research Hub with Dr Rosie Campbell and was co-Chair wth Rosie and Prof. Teela Sanders until my move to UCC. I also co-directed the Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexuality was a member of the steering group for the Centre for Social Justice and Community Action, the Leverhulme Doctoral Training centre, a member of the Centre for Arts and Visual Culture, an affilliate of the Human Rights Centre, the Centre for Medical Humanities, the Trans Humanities Centre and a fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute. I was also the Academic Rep for CARA. The Council for At Risk Academics.
In 2010 I co-founded, with Bankole Cole and Gary Craig, the Race, Crime and Justice regional network -a network of all five regional Universities. In October 2014 we launched the regional Race Equality Forum in collaboration with voluntary and statutory sector organisation across the North East region.
At York I founded and Co-Chaired the University of York Migration Network with Simon Parker, was a member of the Centre for Women's Studies and co-founded the University of York Crime Network. I am member of the advisory board of Cultivate the feminist journal of the Centre for Women's Studies at York.
Awarded (with Simon Parker) an ESRC Impact Grant/ IAA Fellowship to work with Counterpoints Arts as Research Fellows between December 2016 and December 2017. The fellowship was shared jointly between Counterpoints Co-Directors Áine O’Brien and Almir Koldzic. Migration, the Arts and Culture: new methodologies for practice, research and learning fulfilled three key aims: building, developing and maximising research; developing practice and impact on migration; promoting the arts and culture in migration research.
We organised a series of learning laboratories aimed at the widest possible audiences, ie., students, researchers, artists, practitioners and community group; ran conferences; collaborated with Counterpoints Arts, the Open University in association with Stance Podcast at the Tate 'Who Are We?' ART, MIGRATION AND THE PRODUCTION OF DEMOCRACY in May 2018, organising a workshop with artists and the curator, Varvara Shavrova, of The Sea is the Limit; contributed to the ‘Platforma Festival’ 2017; the York Festival of Ideas; and the development of the UoY Migration Network.
University College Cork
At UCC I am Professor in Sociology & Criminology. Head of the Department of Sociology & Criminology. Amember and currently co-director of the Centre for Economy, Society and Culture the Centre for the Study of the Moral Foundations of Economy and Society
Member of the University Quality Committee, Undergraduate Committee, Postgraduate Committee, Student Experience Committee. Chair Dept Staff Meetings and Budget & Strategy/Senior Management Meeting.
Teaching: Level 1. Key Issues in Sociology; Level 2. Sociology of Crime and Deviance; Social Research Methods; The Walking Classroom:Walking the Anthropocene. Level 3. Gender and Crime.
MA Sociology: Feminist Epistemologies; Social Research Methods. MA Women's Studies: sessions on participatory action research and ethographic research.
Research funding has been received from the IRC, AHRB, AHRC, ESRC, NCRM, the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, the British Council, Home Office, Government Office East Midlands, Ministry of Justice, Leicester Education Authority, The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Arts Council, Arts Council East Midlands, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, A Way Out and Barnardos as well as Walsall South Health Action Zone.
Arts Based Research
Arts based research conducted with communities includes the following. Safety Soapbox was created with residents of Walsall and Walsall Community Arts and Walsall Youth Arts. See:www.staffs.ac.uk Outcomes from two AHRC funded research projects on migration were highlighted by the AHRC as examples of good practice around impact. Some of this work can be seen on line at: www.guardian.co.uk and www.diasporas.ac.uk and in a showreel of images taken from the Diasporas, Migration and Identities Final Showcase Event held at Tate Britain on 10 February 2010 www.diasporas.ac.uk
Participatory research on 'Community Politics and Resistance in downtown eastside Vancouver' is documented by AHA Media at: ahamedia.ca and: ahamedia.ca. This short film documents the exhibition that emerged out of this work, curated by members of the community who worked with me as community co-researchers.
An outcome of research with asylum seeking women and film maker Prof Jan Haaken from Portland State University can be found on YouTube. The participatory arts project examined issues of well-being and community with women seeking asylum in Teeside.
Current and Recent Research Includes:
IRC New Foundations participatory arts for advocacy, activism and transformational justice with young people living in Direct Provision. A collaboration with Cork Migrant Centre and colleagues Amin Sharifi Isaloo, Jools Gilson, Jacqui O’Riordan, Mike Fitzgibbon, Fionn Woodhouse (Schools of Society Politics and Ethics, Film Theatre and Music, Applied Social Studies and Cork University Business School), Egle Gusciute (University College Dublin) and Chriszine Backhouse (Munster Technical University).
UKRI - Walking Publics/Walking Arts with Dee Heddon (PI) Harry Wilson, Glasgow University, Morag Rose, University of Liverpool, Clare Qualmann, University of East London and Maggie O'Neill, UCC.
N8 Policing Vulnerability Project A Review of West Yorkshire Police's Sex Work Liaison Officer Role. Kate Brown (PI York) Sharon Grace (Co-I York) Alison Jobe (Co-I Durham) and Maggie O'Neill (Co-I Cork, UCC).
AHRC Participatory Arts based Methods For Civic Engagement In Migrant Support Organizations, in collaboration with Umut Erel , Open University (PI), Tracey Reynolds , University of Greenwich, Erene Kaptani, University of Greenwich, and Maggie O'Neill, UCC.
NHIR: The East London Project examines how removing police enforcement practices against sex work could affect sex workers’ safety, health and access to services in East London: blogs.lshtm.ac.uk/eastlondonproject/
ESRC/NCRM: Participatory Arts and Social Action Research addresses the UK social science community's need to gain a better understanding of how participatory action research approaches engage marginalised groups in research as co-producers of knowledge. It combines walking methods and participatory theatre.