Catherine Atkinson

Personal statement

Catherine is a Lecturer at the Institute for Education, with a background in Women’s Studies, Sociology, and Social Research. She teaches on the undergraduate modules Youth in Society; Working with Young People in the Community; and Changing Education, and supervises undergraduate dissertation students across a range of subject areas.

Catherine’s research explores the workings of heteronormativity in UK education, and both the possibilities and limits of contemporary gender and sexualities ‘equalities’ initiatives. In particular, her doctoral research drew on findings from a comparative ethnography of two UK primary schools to explore the impact of the 2006-9 No Outsiders project, and highlighted the profound significance of institutional silence to children’s understandings of non-heterosexualities. She is also actively engaged in current methodological debates around issues of agency, participation, and power in childhood research.

Catherine completed her doctorate at the University of York in the Centre for Women’s Studies. During this time she also worked as a staff trainer on the EU-wide USVReact project, supporting university staff in responding to disclosures of sexual violence.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD, Gender, Sexualities, and Primary Education: Equalities Pedagogy and the Conceivability of ‘Otherness' - University of York, funded by the ESRC
  • MA, Women’s Studies (Social Research) - University of York 
  • MA, Sociology - University of Edinburgh

Professional qualifications

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education – in progress

Teaching specialisms

  • Gender and sexualities
  • LGBT+ equalities
  • Post-structuralist and queer theory
  • Childhood methodology

Selected conferences and public lectures

  • Childhood, Sexuality, and Gender. Pint of Science. Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre, Singapore, May 2018
  • ‘Strategies’ and ‘Tactics’ of Power in Research with Children. Gender and Education Annual International Conference, Middlesex University, June 2017
  • Childhood Innocence: Myths and Misconceptions. Pint of Science, York, May 2017
  • Reconsidering the ‘Least Adult Role’: Negotiating Power and Positionality in Childhood Research. British Sociological Association Annual International Conference, University of Manchester, April 2017
  • Methodological and Ethical Complexities in Research with Children. Children and Young People in a Changing World, University of Liverpool, June 2016
  • Gender and Sexuality in the Primary School. LGBT History Month. York, February 2016
  • Heteronormativity and Educational Inequalities: Research with Children. British Educational Research Association Annual International Conference. Queen’s University, Belfast, September 2015
  • Gender and Sexuality in the Primary School: Exploring the Effects of Critical Pedagogy. Gender and Education Annual International Conference. University of Roehampton, June 2015.


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