Dr Kirsty Liddiard, BA Hons, MA, PhD

Photograph of Dr Kirsty LiddiardPostdoctoral Research Associate

Tel: (+44) (0)114 222 8111
Email: k.liddiard@Sheffield.ac.uk
Room: 1.07

Research interests

Kirsty is a Research Associate within the School of Education at the University of Sheffield and Co-Leader of the Institute for the Study of the Human (iHuman), alongside Professor Dan Goodley (Education), Professor Paul Martin and Dr. Warren Pearce (Sociological Sciences). Following gaining her PhD in Sociology from the University of Warwick, Kirsty became the inaugural Ethel Louise Armstrong Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Disability Studies, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada.Kirsty’s research spans a number of areas; most explicitly the intersections of disability, impairment and embodiment; disablism and ableism; and gender, sexuality, intimacy and sexual citizenship in contemporary dis/ableist cultures (Liddiard 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016; ESRC Award number ES/F009151/1). She has also published around sex work (Liddiard 2014) and participatory research and arts-informed methodologies (Liddiard 2013b; Rice et al. 2015). Since joining the University of Sheffield, Kirsty’s interests have broadened considerably towards disabled childhood and youth, learning disability, austerity and civil society, and humanness and humanity.

An avid public sociologist and activist scholar, Kirsty sees the effective, ethical and accessible communication of knowledge as a form of social, political, and economic justice. As such, she researches with and within marginalised communities and translates and disseminates all new knowledges from her research outside of the academy to non-academic audiences, spaces, and readers, as well as to key stakeholders of the research (disabled people, their organisations, and allies). This ensures that research findings have meaningful impact; that they ‘exist’ in real life worlds and thus are referred to, read by, and transfer to the everyday lives of disabled people.

She is currently working across a number of bids and/or projects that explore disability, ableism and intimate life. These include:

  • Disability, life, Death and the Human: Living Life to the Fullest Working in partnership with children and young people with ‘life-limiting’ or ‘life-threatening’ impairments (sic) and their allies, Living Life to the Fullest aims to explore the lives, hopes, desires and contributions of disabled children and young people through arts-informed methods.
  • Learning disabled people’s intimate lives: Accounting for Austerity (2016) (Wellcome Trust, 203691/Z/16/Z) This project culminates in a two-day participatory Research Meeting for self-advocates (people with learning disabilities) and their organisations, and academics, practitioners and researchers, in which we will use design fiction methods to critically explore and identify the significant impacts of recent austerity policies upon the intimate, sexual and emotional lives of people with learning disabilities.
  • Development of National Standards for young people’s palliative care across the UK: Talking about Sex, Sexuality and Relationships: Guidance and Standards (2016) (Open University/Together for Short Lives) For the first time, Sexuality Guidance and Standards have been developed by The Open University’s Sexuality Alliance (of which Kirsty is a member) to assist staff in giving sexual support to young people with life-limiting conditions (sic). This ground breaking guidance is currently being disseminated to young people’s hospices and respite care facilities across the UK. You can access the guidance itself here.

International Projects (in progress)

  • Storying Our Chemical Lives (Faculty of Community Services, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)
  • Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology, and Access to Life (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada)
  • Project Re•Vision (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada) Project Re•Vision is a Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) funded initiative that uses arts-based research methods of digital storytelling and drama to dismantle stereotypical understandings of disability and difference that create barriers to healthcare.


Kirsty teaches on the BA Education, Culture and Childhood. She supervises multiple PhD students. Kirsty welcomes PhD students across a number of social science disciplines who wish to undertake research in the areas of disability, education, gender, sexuality, childhood and/or youth.

Other Activities

  • Occasional editor for the leading journal Disability and Society, and peer reviewer for Sexualities, Community Development, Emotion Space and Society, Girlhood and publishers Palgrave and Ashgate.
  • Co-Leader of the Institute for the Study of the Human (iHuman)
  • Member of the Faculty of Social Sciences Equality and Diversity Committee, 2015 – Present
  • External Assessor and Validator of degree programmes (Liverpool Hope, 2016).
  • Member of Sisters of Frida, a disabled women’s collective.

Selected publications


Liddiard, K (forthcoming) The Intimate Lives of Disabled People: Sex and Relationships (working title) (Ashgate Publishing Limited, ISBN 978-1-4094-6090-9).

K. Runswick-Cole, T. Curran and K. Liddiard, (eds.) (forthcoming) Building Understandings: Child, Youth, Family and Disability. Basingstoke: Palgrave Ltd (edited collection)

Journal Articles

Ignagni, E., Fudge-Schormans, A., Liddiard, K. and Runswick-Cole, K. (2016) ‘Some people aren’t allowed to love: Intimate Citizenship in the lives of people labelled with intellectual disabilities’, Disability and Society, DOI:10.1080/09687599.2015.1136148 OPEN ACCESS

Liddiard, K. and Goodley, D. (2016) ‘The Mouth and Dis/Ability’, Community Dental Health: Special Issue, 33, 152–155

Rice, C., Chandler, E., Harrison, E. Liddiard, K. & Ferrari, M. (2015) ‘Project Re•Vision: Disability at the Edges of Representation’, Disability and Society, 30:4, 513-527 OPEN ACCESS

Goodley, D, Runswick-Cole, K. & Liddiard, K (2015) ‘The DisHuman Child’, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education: Special Issue: Fabulous Monsters: alternative discourses of childhood in education, 37: 5, DOI: 10.1080/01596306.2015.1075731 OPEN ACCESS

Liddiard, K. (2014). ‘“I never felt like she was just doing it for the money”: The Intimate (Gendered) Realities of Purchasing Sexual Pleasure and Intimacy’, Sexualities, 17: 7, 837–855

Liddiard, K. (2014). ‘Liking for Like’s Sake: The Commodification of Disability on Facebook’. Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 20: 3, 94-101

Liddiard, K. (2014) ‘The Work of Disabled Identities in Intimate Relationships’, Disability and Society, 29: 1, 115-128, DOI:10.1080/09687599.2013.776486

Liddiard, K. (2013) ‘Reflections on the Process of Researching Disabled People’s Sexual Lives’, Social Research Online, 18 (3) 10.

Please click here for a larger list.

You can follow Kirsty on Twitter using the handle @kirstyliddiard1. To read more about her work and access her blog, please click here.