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School of Geography

Ella Berny


PhD Student



Supervisors: Dr Sydney Calkin (School of Geography), Professor Susan Rudy (School of English), Lauren Aarons (Amnesty International)


Research interests:

Abortion access, reproductive justice, criminalisation of the body, Northern Ireland, Ireland, UK, feminist research methodologies, storytelling, autotheory.


PhD working title:

A multi-vocal narrative exploration of the impacts of criminalisation of abortion on every-day life


PhD research:

This project is a collaboration between Queen Mary’s School of Geography, School of English and Amnesty International. It applies creative writing techniques to social science research to develop a creative methodology that addresses the impacts of criminalisation of abortion on everyday life in Ireland, Northern Ireland and England. These three regions all differ in terms of abortion laws and access, and both Ireland and Northern Ireland have recently liberalised their laws. This important moment of legal transition offers an opportunity to critically analyse the effects of criminalisation.


By collaborating with participants in each region, the project will develop the literary genre of auto-theory to generate a multi-vocal narrative that theorises the impacts of abortion criminalisation and centres the voices of those with experience living under different abortion regimes. The research will investigate how criminalisation is experienced; how criminalisation organises and regulates bodies; and how these experiences penetrate beyond a law change. The project will be situated in a framework of queer feminist theory and literature that explores lived experiences of abortion in terms of access.



2022-2025 London Arts and Humanities Partnership Research Studentship (Collaborative Doctoral Award)



Calkin, S. and Berny, E. “Legal and non-legal barriers to abortion in Ireland and the UK”, Medicine Access @ Point of Care, 2021 [open access].


Academic background:

MA Creative Writing, Birkbeck

MA History, UCL (AHRC)

BA History, University of York



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