Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

LGBTQ+ Research Group

The LGBTQ+ Research Group is a cross-faculty, interdisciplinary network of staff and students committed to pursuing a rich and varied programme of research with LBGTQ+ communities on issues that matter to LGBTQ+ people.

The group is open to all staff and students and provides an opportunity for academics to share ideas, collaborate, learn, challenge each other, and promote our work within and beyond ARU. We are committed to actively and meaningfully engaging with communities and community-based organisations at all stages of research and scholarship.

We work to provide:

  • opportunities for collaboration, development of research proposals and networking
  • visibility of LGBTQ+ research and LGBTQ+ scholars within and beyond ARU
  • an entry point for external partners to identify academic staff who may have the skills and expertise to provide an LGBTQ+ perspective
  • a focal point for community engagement, including an identified contact point for community partners and a facilitation of community contact for staff and students
  • mentoring and support for staff and students
  • advice and guidance on all aspects of LGBTQ+ research
  • a focus for academic contribution to community events such as Pride, LGBT History month and similar events
  • advocacy for the inclusion of LGBTQ+ issues in curricula and training across the university
  • working with policymakers at government, national and regional level to influence policy change and ensure that LGBT research underpins this.

Key partnerships and collaborations

Current and recent research projects

At ARU, Prof Catherine Lee and Dan Burman (co-leads of the University's LGBTQ+ staff network), introduced the UK’s first higher education LGBTQ+ leadership development programme. The programme is funded by ARU.

LGBTQ+ Leaders is open to staff at any level in both academic and professional services. It includes three leadership development days, and explores areas such as explores areas such as:

  • routes into leadership and inspirational leaders
  • communication and presentation skills
  • leadership identity and practice 
  • breaking down barriers and influencing cultural change
  • building leadership networks.

Staff are allocated an LGBTQ+ mentor who works 1:1 with them during and between the leadership development days to help them achieve their goals.

The impact of the programme, was really positive for LGBTQ+ staff, is covered in a research paper that has been submitted for publication, and will be presented at a conference in 2024.

At the end of 2023, Prof Catherine Meads finished a large project about teaching sexual orientation and gender identity health concepts to health professionals. The project report is due to be published early in 2024.

Prof Meads has also prepared two other papers. The first is on the cost effectiveness of teaching health professionals about sexual orientation – using cervical smear issues as an example; the second is titled The Impact of Role Models on The Mental and Physical Health of Sexual and Gender Minorities.

Previously, Prof Meads conducted research into the experiences of LGBT+ women when accessing healthcare, highlighting the need for consistent education for healthcare professionals.

Patricia MacCormack, Professor of Continental Studies at ARU, has recently completed a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship on Death Activism as part of the Queer Death Studies network, the Bio Arts Lab and other arts-based research centres. This involved examining the way in which LGBTQIA+ people are vulnerable in necropolitics, and the intersectional relations between queer being, ecology and activism. Prof MacCormack presented lectures in Norkoping, Stockholm, Linkoping, Belgrade and is just about to submit a new book, Death Activism: Queer Death Studies and the Posthuman, to Bloomsbury.


You can find out more about our individual members' work by visiting their staff profiles. You can also contact any of them for more information.