Sexual health is a key national and local priority, estimated to cost the
NHS more than £700 million
a year. The research of Professor Kate Fisher into sexual behaviour and
personal identity has
informed a pioneering approach to improving young people's well-being and
Working with schools, museums and charities, this methodology, which
involves showing young
people `erotic' objects from museum holdings, has had a positive impact on
young people's mental
and physical wellbeing, personal identity, social skills, personal
resilience, confidence, sexual
health and life chances. Its success has attracted further investment, and
influenced sex education
policy discussion. It has also enhanced the role of regional museums in
effecting social change
and well-being, informed debate on the relationship between the health and
created new economically beneficial partnerships, and shaped museum
The research featured in this impact case study was carried out by Dr.
Claire Hines, Darren Kerr, Dr. Donna Peberdy and Dr. Mark de Valk. Their
work has influenced creative practice and cultural expression, contributed
to the creative economy, encouraged knowledge transfer, and has been part
of wider discourses that have helped to inform on-going public debate
concerning sex and sexuality on screen, such as research-informed
objections to Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008
- more colloquially known as the `Extreme Porn Bill' <www.backlash-uk.org.uk>.
Research at Queen Margaret University (QMU) by Professor Ian Rivers
identified issues facing LGBT young people and same-sex raised children in
UK education. Rivers was the only academic member of a group formed by the
Scottish Government to recommend ways of tackling negative and
discriminatory attitudes towards LGBT people in Scotland. The Scottish
Government implemented many of the group's recommendations. Rivers'
research had an impact on (1) public policy and services in education, (2)
schools and teachers as educational practitioners, (3) health and welfare
of LGBT young people and same-sex raised children, and (4) society,
culture, and creativity, and public policy and services, beyond Scotland.
James Davidson's research has overturned a decades-old consensus about
the nature of sexual identity and same sex relations in Ancient Greece.
The research has been communicated to wider publics through print and
online media, popular publications and public events. The public interest
in and recognition of the research testify to the impact of the research
on the public's consciousness. It has particular resonance for GLBT
communities who have embraced the arguments put forward as justifications
for same sex marriage equality.
Professor Nick Mai researched the mobilities and vulnerabilities of young
men, women and transgender people, including minors, working in the sex
industry in the UK, EU and internationally. His findings show that most
young migrants decide to work in the sex industry, which they consider
less exploitative than other sectors. They also show that anti-trafficking
initiatives exacerbate the vulnerability of migrant sex workers by
enforcing restrictive migration policies and the criminalisation of sex
work. Mai's research impacted on public debates, policymaking and
services, which as a result now recognize trafficking as distinct from sex
work and specifically target the needs of migrant sex workers.
Research undertaken by Professor Simon Szreter on sexual attitudes and
1918 and 1963 was published as a co-authored monograph by Cambridge
University Press. The
book attracted significant policy and media attention, including features
on popular Radio 4
programmes and in the national broadsheet and tabloid daily press. It was
also long-listed for a
major national literary prize. The success of the book and views expressed
by the journalists in
their reviews indicate that the book's novel findings and challenging
interpretations have had an
important influence in changing widely-held stereotyped attitudes towards
older generations and
their sex lives.
Jessica Ringrose's research on young people, social media and sexuality
has helped raise awareness nationally and internationally about the
implications of new media for young people's relationships, self-image and
physical and emotional well-being and safety. Studying digital-age
phenomena such as `sexting' and `slut-shaming', Ringrose has attracted
substantial but overwhelmingly sensitive press coverage and sparked
serious public discussion on difficult issues. She has influenced national
and third sector guidelines on sex and relationship education and on
internet controls and her work has underpinned resources for schools. She
has advised on a series of government reports and inspired a very
influential speech by Diane Abbott MP on the sexualisation of society.
Policy-makers, professional and public audiences interested in young
people's learning about sex and sexuality often approach discussions with
strongly-held, sometimes conflicting views. Research at Sheffield Hallam
University has contributed knowledge and understanding to discussions in
national policy and practice development, and public debate,
with impacts on education, service provision and support for young people.
Findings have been used in Parliamentary debates, by national
organisations lobbying for continued or improved provision in personal,
social, health and economic education (PSHE), and in discussions about
bullying in both lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT)-specific, and
also in mainstream, community contexts. This has led to increased
understanding about homophobia and LGBT wellbeing.