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Genders, Sexualities and Families

About the GSF Cluster

The ISS21 Genders, Sexualities and Families (GSF) cluster provides a dynamic interdisciplinary forum for scholars and students researching in the fields of gender, sexuality and family. The cluster is grounded in social scientific approaches and aims to generate new questions, foster collaborations and strengthen and consolidate existing research connections in GSF. It is an evolving and inclusive network that values diversity and debate, and seeks to engage in critical scholarship and shape public discourse and practice. It has an eclectic and exciting membership drawn from a wide range of disciplines, including; Applied Psychology, Applied Social Studies, Women’s Studies, Sociology, Philosophy, Law, Criminology, Government & Politics, Study of Religions, Medicine, Nursing and Midwifery, Occupational Sciences & Therapies, and Paediatrics and Child Health.

The cluster organizes a bimonthly reading/journal club and occasional seminars, masterclasses and conferences. The GSF cluster also welcomes visiting scholars and lecturers who want to work in an inclusive, collegial and stimulating environment.

Aims and Objectives
  • To stimulate and support academic inquiry related to genders, sexualities and families and informed by the social sciences
  • To promote and develop a dynamic research environment conducive to innovative interdisciplinary research using a diversity of methodologies.
  • To create intellectually critical, creative and collaborative spaces where members can imagine new blue skies ideas, understandings, policies and professional practices relating to families, genders and sexualities.
  • To influence academic debates, professional practice and policy-making locally, nationally and international.
  • To share research findings with relevant stakeholders and communities including activists, advocates, gender, sexuality and family organisations, and relevant state agencies, civil society groups and professional bodies.
  • To build productive research, policy and practice partnerships at local community, national and international levels.

Cluster Events

The Joy and the Pain,  21 April 2021 

Dr Vanessa Lacey (Transgender Equality Network Ireland) shared insights from her research on the experiences of adult trans women, and the families of adult trans women, concerning grief and loss. Further details available here

Deploying a Gender Lens: Snapshots from Current Research, 18 February 2021

This seminar showcased the work of two GSF Research Cluster members, Charlotte Waltz, PhD candidate, and Dr Robert Bolton, Post-Doctoral Researcher on the Horizon 2020 PositivMasc Project. Drawing on their respective projects, both researchers highlighted the significance of applying a gender lens in research. Recordings of the presentations are available at the following links:

'"They're, you know, their audience": How violence against women is organised by men's relations with other men', Dr Robert Bolton

'Ireland After the Eight Amendment: A Critical Exploration of Provision and Access to Abortion in Cork', Charlotte Waltz

Turing’s children: Representation of sexual minorities in STEM, December 2020 

On the 15 December 2020, Dr. Dario Sansone (University of Exeter) presented a webinar on the under-representation of sexual minorities in STEM fields. A recording of the webinar is available here

Naming and addressing campus based sexual harassment and violence “it’s your place, November 2018

Dr. Beth Sundstrom (Fulbright Scholar, ISS21) presented a paper on responding to campus based sexual harassment and violence, focusing on a bystander intervention campaign at the College of Charleston, South Carolina. This seminar was jointly hosted by the ISS21 Genders, Sexualities and Families Cluster with the CASiLaC Violence, Conflict and Gender Cluster.

Changing Families in Ireland: the Social, Legal and Political Context, May 2015

In this one-day symposium, presenters examined some of the key legal, social and political implications of the Children and Family Relationships Bill (2015) and the marriage equality referendum. Further details are available: here

Workshop on Assisted Reproduction and Changing Family Structures, April 2011

This workshop explored the social, ethical and legal consequences of scientific developments in the arena of assisted reproductive technologies and examined and compared how these developments relate to the broader changes occurring in family structures and intimate relationships in European societies. Further details are available here 

Research Projects

Current and previous ISS21 projects linked to the themes of the GFS research cluster:

Imaging/Imagining Reproductive Crisis: time-lapse microscopy, animation and fertility discourse (2024-2027). Dr Rebecca Close (PI). Funder: DOROTHY COFUND Programme. 

PRECNIGHTS: Precarity Amongst Women Migrant Night Workers in Ireland (2022-2024)

PositivMasc: Masculinities and Violence against Women among Young People: Identifying Discourses and Developing Strategies for Change (2019-2023).

Reconstituting the Irish Family Research Network (2021-2022)

GendeResearchIreland (2018-2022) 

Unmarried Fathers and Shared Parenting (2018)

GENOVATE: Transforming Organisational Culture for Gender Equality in Research and Innovation (2013-2017) 

Through the Glass Ceiling (2010-2012)

Migration and Networks of Care (2006-2009) 

Gender Equality, Religious Diversity and Multiculturalism in Contemporary Ireland. Dr. Siobhan Mullally (PI). Funded by the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences.

Cluster Membership

For a list of cluster members, please click on the following link: Cluster Members

If you would like to join the cluster, please contact the cluster convenor, Dr. Fiachra Ó Suilleabháin ( or the ISS21 Research Coordinator, Dr. Margaret Scanlon (

Gender and the Academy Research Working Group

The Gender and the Academy Research Working Group is a network of academics working on, and interested in, research on gender in the academy. Further details are available through the following link: Gender and the Academy Research Working Group

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30