Speaker biographies

Jennie Bristow

Dr Jennie Bristow is senior lecturer in sociology at Canterbury Christ Church University and an associate of the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies at the University of Kent. Her research focuses on generational contact and conflict, and developments in education and parenting policy. She is author of The Sociology of Generations: New directions and challenges (2016, in press), Baby Boomers and Generational Conflict (2015), and Standing Up to Supernanny (2009); and co-author of Parenting Culture Studies (2014) and Licensed to Hug (2010).

Rachel Calogero

Rachel’s research interests span social, political, applied, and clinical contexts to address questions about gender, social justice, social change, and well-being. In particular, she is interested in identifying the social psychological processes that serve as barriers to social equality as well as those which facilitate it.

Kirstie Coxon

Dr Kirstie Coxon is a senior lecturer at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, King’s College London, where she teaches research methods and health policy. Kirstie’s research focuses on sociocultural perceptions of risk, and understandings of risk in relation to pregnancy and planned place of birth. She also works in knowledge exchange and risk communication. Kirstie is on the advisory panel of the Which? Birth Choice website, is on the editorial board for Health, Risk and Society, and has guest edited special issues on risk in pregnancy and birth for Health, Risk and Society  and Midwifery.

Farah Diaz-Tello

Farah Diaz-Tello, JD, Senior Staff Attorney, is a graduate of the City University of New York School of Law, where she was a Haywood Burns Fellow in Civil and Human Rights. Her work at NAPW has focused on the rights to medical decision-making and birthing with dignity, and on using the international human rights framework to protect the humanity of pregnant women regardless of their circumstances. A proud Texan, she is an alumna of the University of Texas at Austin.

Ann Furedi

Ann Furedi is chief executive of British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas), a non-profit charity that provides abortion counselling and treatment (up to the legal time-limit of 24 weeks) for almost seventy thousand women in Britain each year. bpas also has a mission to advocate for women’s reproductive choice and autonomy. Ann’s background is in journalism and advocacy, but she has also worked in policy development, including as Director of Policy and Communications for the UK government’s regulator of embryo research and infertility treatment, the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority. Ann has written extensively on the causes and consequences of unwanted pregnancy, as well as the ethics of abortion, and she is author of The Moral Case for Abortion,  to be published by Palgrave Macmillan in July 2016. She is a member of the Board of Ibis Reproductive Health, a US-based non-profit research and advocacy organisation that aims to improve women’s reproductive health. Ann is also chair elect of the Governing Body of Mid-Kent College.

Raphael Hammer

Raphaël Hammer is professor at the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland (‘Haute Ecole de Santé Vaud’), Lausanne. He is currently working on a qualitative study of couples’ perception of the risk of alcohol use in pregnancy. He is also currently researching organ donation as a public problem in Switzerland, with a particular focus on transplant patients’ associations and public communication about organ donation. He is the author of Expériences ordinaires de la médecine: Confiances, croyances et critiques profanes (Seismo Press, 2010) and co-edited, with Claudine Burton-Jeangros and Irene Maffi, Accompagner la naissance: Terrains socio-anthropologiques en Suisse romande (BSN Press, 2014). He has published articles in Communication (French-speaking journal), Health, Risk & Society and Social Science & Medicine.

Rachel Jarvie

Dr Rachel Jarvie is lecturer in sociology at Plymouth University. Her expertise is in the field of women’s health, specifically with respect to pregnancy and mothering. Rachel’s doctoral research was a qualitative longitudinal study of women with ‘obesity’ and diabetes during pregnancy and the post-birth period. Findings from this research have led her to critically appraise policy vis-à-vis ‘maternal obesity’. Rachel has also studied the experiences of ‘older’ mothers.

Julia Keenan

Dr Julia Keenan is a senior research associate at the University of East Anglia, where she currently works across a number of mainly qualitative research projects in applied health and social care. She worked for three years: 2006-2009 (with colleague Dr Helen Stapleton) on a Leverhulme Trust funded, qualitative study which explored transitions to motherhood and food. This study included one third of participants (20 women) who self-identified as being defined by themselves or others as ‘very overweight’. Findings relating to these women’s experiences were reported in Keenan, J & Stapleton, H. (2010). ‘Bonny babies? Motherhood and nurturing in the age of obesity’ Health, Risk & Society 12(4) 369–383.

Ellie Lee

Dr Ellie Lee is reader in social policy at the University of Kent. Her research and teaching draws on sociological concepts such as risk consciousness and medicalisation to analyse the evolution of family policy and health policy. Her work explores why everyday issues – for example how women feel after abortion, what they eat, drink and feel when pregnant, or how mothers feed their babies – turn into major preoccupations for policy makers and become heated topics of wider public debate. She is the author of Abortion, Motherhood and Mental Health: Medicalizing Reproduction in the United States and Great Britain (Aldine Transaction) and co-author of Parenting Culture Studies (Palgrave), which includes her chapter, ‘Policing Pregnancy: The Pregnant Woman who Drinks’. Her research papers include, ‘Under the Influence? The Construction of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome in UK Newspapers’ (Sociological Research Online) and ‘Advocating alcohol abstinence to pregnant women: Some observations about British policy’ (Health, Risk and Society), co-authored with Pam Lowe. She is the Director of the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies based in SSPSSR and regularly discusses her research in the media and other public forums.

Anna Leppo

Dr Anna Leppo works as a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Social Research in the University of Helsinki. She specialises in sociology of health and illness and has studied constructions of risk around alcohol, illicit drugs and pregnancy from different perspectives. Her research covers topics such as government guidelines on alcohol intake in different Nordic countries and how problem drug users perceive the risks of using illicit drugs during pregnancy. Her research has been published in many international journals including Health, Risk & Society and International Journal of Drug Policy.

Pam Lowe

Dr Pam Lowe joined Aston in September 2005. Most of her teaching and research is centred around women’s reproductive health, with a particular interest in pregnancy, contraception and parenting. Recently she has worked on a number of projects including examining the construction of fetal alcohol syndrome in British newspapers and the deployment of neuroscience in parenting policy. Currently she is undertaking research on abortion debates in public spaces. Her new book looking at issues of maternal sacrifice is due to be published later this year.

Jan Macvarish

Dr Jan Macvarish is a lecturer and researcher with the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies at the University of Kent. Jan studies the sociology of interpersonal relationships, parenting, family life, sex and intimacy. She has written about contemporary singles culture, teenage parenthood, the regulation of fertility treatment and most recently, the ‘use and abuse’ of neuroscience in family policy. She co-authored the book Parenting Culture Studies and is about to publish on babies, brains and parenting.

Simon Mehigan

Simon Mehigan is a consultant midwife and has been a midwife for 20 years. His particular areas of interest are supporting women that have had a previous traumatic experience achieve a more positive outcome in future pregnancies and births and encouraging health professionals to continually question what they do and how they care for women and their families. He strongly believes that promoting a culture within maternity services where women are treated with respect and kindness, and where they feel informed, supported and empowered can have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the wider community.

Clare Murphy

Clare Murphy is director of external affairs at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas), having joined the charity in 2010. bpas is a not-for-profit reproductive healthcare service, providing counselling and abortion care for women with unplanned pregnancies, contraception, sterilisation and STI testing. bpas also works to better inform public discussion of fertility-related issues. Before joining bpas, Clare worked for the BBC as a health journalist.

Elizabeth Prochaska

Elizabeth Prochaska is a barrister at Matrix. She specialises in public and human rights law and has a particular interest and expertise in women’s rights relating to pregnancy and childbirth. She regularly advises women and health professionals in this area and has lectured on childbirth rights around the world, working with lawyers and campaigners to promote women’s dignity and autonomy. Elizabeth founded the human rights in childbirth charity Birthrights in 2016 and is Chair of the board of trustees.

Rebecca Schiller

Rebecca Schiller is director of the human rights in childbirth charity Birthrights and spokesperson on reproductive rights and birth related issues. She writes freelance about related topics and her short book, All That Matters: Women’s Rights in Childbirth is published by the Guardian. Her next book is out in 2016. Rebecca is also a recognised birth doula, offering support to birthing women and their families in London and East Kent. She was nominated for Doula of the Year 2014 and is a director of Doula UK. Before entering the childbirth world she completed a Masters degree in War Studies with a focus on human rights issues. She has worked in the charity and NGO sector, most recently at Human Rights Watch.

Robbie Sutton

Dr Robbie Sutton is professor of social psychology at the University of Kent.  His research explores the extent to which people’s social and political perceptions depart from or adhere to the evidence available to them, and is concerned with topics including justice, inequality, and gender.  He has published work examining the role of sexist ideology in empirically unwarranted perceptions of risk and impositions of restrictions on pregnant women’s autonomy.  His research has been published in leading outlets such as Psychological Science, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Sex Roles.