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BA Modern English Studies, MA Women’s Studies, PGCE, PhD Sociology (University of Manchester).
In 1984, whilst a student on the MA Women’s Studies at Sheffield Hallam University (the second such programme in the UK, after the University of Kent), I approached what was then the Adult Continuing Education Department at the University of Sheffield, offering classes in Women’s Studies, to which the response was that such a class would not be viable in attracting students. I returned in 1985 and persuaded the University to put on just one course to which around 60 students came. My own institutional and theoretical history, then and now, coincided with what can only be termed one of the most radical epistemological and methodological transformations of academia nationally and internationally, not least because of Women’s Studies’ activist roots, and the subsequent developments of Gender and Masculinity Studies.
In the early 1990’s, I was responsible for setting up one of the first degrees in Women’s Studies in the UK, at the University of Sheffield. In 1999, I moved to the University of Manchester, where I was Lecturer in Sociology/Director of the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies till 2002, then became Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Newcastle, and after that, returned in 2004 to the University of Sheffield eventually becoming Reader and Director of the Centre for Gender Research, which I co-founded. I was appointed as Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Women’s Studies, University of York, in 2016. My PhD, awarded by the Department of Sociology, University of Manchester and entitled: ‘Everyday Heterosexualities and Everyday Masculinities’, informs much of my previous and current research interests. Fundamental to all my research is a critical engagement with feminist theory and method underpinned by a way of working with staff and students which is both feminist and collaborative.
I was a founder member, in the 1990s, of the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association (UK and Ireland).
I have been Visiting Professor at three European Universities, the University of Bielefeld, Germany, University of Karlstad, Sweden and the University of Turin, Italy, working in the areas of men, masculinities and gender relations, heterosexualities and fashion and footwear cultures.
I have been European and Middle Eastern Editor, Women’s Studies International Forum Journal and Associate Editor, Journal of Gender Studies and I am currently on the editorial boards of Women’s Studies International Forum, Studies on Women and Gender Abstracts, Journal of Gender Studies and NORMA: International Journal of Masculinity Studies. I am an International Advisory Editor, Journal of Men and Masculinities.
My specific interests are broadly conceived within the general frameworks of women’s, gender and masculinity studies and a cultural sociology of the everyday, specifically in the areas of feminist theory, gender and sexualities (especially heterosexualities), men and masculinities, fashion and footwear cultures, risk sports, debates in women’s, gender and masculinity studies in the academy, feminist sociology of everyday life.
I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students in my research areas as broadly interpreted.
I have held three ESRC research grants, with Emeritus Professor Jenny Hockey, University of Sheffield.
Current funded research includes working with Dr Seán Williams, University of Sheffield and Professor Giselinde Kuipers, University of Amsterdam through the WUN universities network. The formation of an international network through this visiting scholar programme, via two colloquia, will establish a gateway for future collaborative research between York, and the universities of Sheffield and Amsterdam. Initial research is centred around the concept of “aesthetic labour” with reference to the beauty industry: the model, the hairdresser, and the shoe-designer – and these collaborative exchanges will help form interdisciplinary institution-wide research exchanges about beauty and the body from comparative cultural and literary and humanities-based cultural studies and cultural sociology perspectives.
Developing my previous ESRC funded work on footwear, identification and transition, I was recently awarded £25K under the University of Sheffield’s Innovation, Impact and Knowledge Exchange (IIKE) scheme. In 2015, a project with external partners Professor Wesley Vernon OBE, Head of Podiatry at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Dr Lisa Farndon, produced a tool kit for use in the training of NHS and private sector podiatrists, using social science theories of identity, gendered, ethnic and class differences and qualitative research methodologies. See: www.sheffield.ac.uk/podiatrytoolkit
I am now working with Dr Lisa Farndon, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Dr Emily Nicholls, University of Portsmouth on a bid for NIHR funding to expand and develop the toolkit, focusing on specific groups of patients and their everyday footwear practices, in which aspects of femininity, gender and aging will be central.
In 2016, a senior Visiting Fellow to the Centre for Women’s Studies from the University of Turin, Dr Raffaella Ferrero Camoletto collaborated with myself, Dr Sharron Hinchliff, University of Sheffield and Dr Chiara Bertone, University of Eastern Piedmont on a research funding bid on the medicalisation of masculinity and sexuality in a cross cultural context. This will be submitted to the Wellcome Trust in 2016.
I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students in my research areas as broadly interpreted, especially in the areas of masculinities, heterosexualities, feminist theory, fashion and beauty, the development of Women’s, Gender and Masculinity Studies in the academy and risk sports.
I am joint editor, with Professor Diane Richardson, University of Newcastle, of Introducing Gender and Women’s Studies (4th edition, 2015, Palgrave Macmillan), the most successful textbook in the UK in the field, and a leading British textbook in Europe and the US which includes colleagues from Sociology and Social Policy at the University of York - Stevi Jackson (who has been associated with all 4 editions) and Zoë Irving:
'This 4th edition contains some of the best writing and research I have ever seen on gender and women's studies. As always, Robinson and Richardson have brought together a set of authors of exceptionally high quality. A brilliant volume! Bravissima!' - Kum-Kum Bhavnani, Professor, Sociology, University of California Santa Barbara, USA
'This accessible and richly informed volume provides a lucid outline of the variety of writing in gender and women's studies, as well as suggesting possible issues for further debate and discussion.' - Mary Evans, Centennial Professor, Gender Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
I am also co-editor with Diane Richardson, of Palgrave Macmillan’s international book series ‘Genders and Sexualities in the Social Sciences’: http://www.palgrave.com/in/series/15001
Robinson, V. (2013) Rock Climbing. (International Series on Extreme Sports, D. Booth, University of Otago, New Zealand and H. Thorpe, University of Waikato, New Zealand, series editors) Connecticut: Greenwood Press, pp.165.
Robinson, V. and Hockey, J. (2011) Masculinities in Transition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 221.
Robinson, V. (2008) Everyday Masculinities and Extreme Sport: Male Identity and Rock Climbing. Oxford: Berg, pp. 183.
Hockey, J., Meah, A. and Robinson, V. (2007) Mundane Heterosexualities: From Theory to Practices. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp.206.
Robinson, V. (2017) ‘The accomplishment of happiness: Feminism, pleasure, heterosexuality and consumption’, Journal of Gender Studies, vol. 26, no.1, pp. 13-22
Farndon L., Robinson, V., Nicholls, L., and Vernon, W. (2016) If the Shoe Fits: Development of an on-line tool to aid practitioner/patient discussions about 'healthy footwear', Journal of Footand Ankle Research, vol. 9, no. 17, DOI: 10.1186/s13047-016-0149
Robinson, V. (2015) ‘Reconceptualising the mundane and the extraordinary: A lens through which to explore transformation within women’s everyday footwear practices’, Sociology, vol. 49, no.5, pp. 903-918.
Dilley, R., Hockey, J., Robinson, V. and Sherlock, A. (2015) '‘‘There’s not just trainers or non-trainers, there’s like degrees of trainers’: Commoditisation, singularisation and identity’, Journal of Material Culture, vol. 20, no. 1, pp.21-42
Dilley, R., Hockey, J., Robinson, V. and Sherlock, A. (2015) ‘Occasions and non-occasions: Identity, femininity and high-heeled shoes’, European Journal of Women's Studies, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 143-58
Robinson, V. (2014) 'Risky footwear practices: Masculinity, identity and crisis', NORMA: International Journal of Masculinity Studies, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 1-15, doi:10.1080/18902138.2014.950501
Hockey, J., Dilley, R., Robinson, V. and Sherlock, A. (2014) ‘The temporal landscape of shoes: a life course perspective’, The Sociological Review, vol. 62, no. 2, pp. 255–275
Camoletto, R., Espinosa, A., Robinson,V. and Ruspini, E. (2013) ‘Perspectives on Gender Studies in Europe’, Rivista internazionale di studi di genere, vol. 2, no.4, pp. 231-252-J (Re-printed in special issue ‘Global Future Perspectives in Gender Studies in Europe’, in 2015.)
Dilley, R., Hockey, J., Robinson, V. and Sherlock, A. (2013) ‘Worn Shoes: Identity, Memory and Footwear’, Sociological Research Online, vol. 18, no.1, http://www.socresonline.org.uk/18/1/20.html- (On British Sociological Association short list for best journal article published 2013.)
Robinson, V., Hall, A. and Hockey, J. (2011) ‘Masculinities, Sexualities and the Limits of Subversion: Being a Man in Hairdressing’, Journal of Men and Masculinities, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 31-50
Meah, A., Hockey, J. and Robinson, V. (2011) ‘’’I’m a sex kitten, aren't I...": Relocating Agency and Pleasure in Older Women's Narratives About Sex’, Journal of Australian Feminist Studies, vol. 26, no. 67, pp. 57-71
Robinson, V. (2010) ‘Researching everyday sporting masculinities: Thoughts from a (critical) distance’, Journal of Gender Studies, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 309-313
I teach a specialist option on Feminism and Sexuality and contribute to other modules at CWS, including Approaching Women’s Studies, Feminist Research Methodologies, Ways of (Feminist) Knowing and Dissertation workshops.