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Ulster University’s LGBT+ Staff Network partnered with the Doctoral College and the Centre for Youth Research and Dialogue to host the first ‘LGBTQ+ Research at Ulster’ one-day conference on Friday 2 June 2023 on the Belfast campus.

The conference was open to PhD Researchers, academic and professional services staff, and welcomed non-governmental organisations and activists from the local LGBTQ sector as a means of networking, information sharing and signposting.

Dr Gail Neill, Chair of the LGBT+ Network, opened the conference and welcomed Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan, University Provost, and the University’s new Dean of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Professor Mary Hannon-Fletcher.

Professor Mary Hannon-Fletcher spoke about how it was a great opportunity to showcase new research in this area and the conference provided a platform for PhD researchers. She said that Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is at the centre of the University's Values and the People, Place and Partnership Strategy for both staff and students, adding that she would be a champion for EDI matters and an ally to all.

The conference welcomed Dr Kevin Guyan as conference keynote speaker.  Kevin is a writer and researcher whose work explores the intersection of data and identity. He is the author of Queer Data: Using Gender, Sex and Sexuality Data for Action (Bloomsbury Academic), which examines the collection, analysis and use of gender, sex and sexuality data, particularly as it relates to LGBTQ people.

Throughout the conference, a number of research papers examining LGBT issues were presented by PhD researchers, Emma Wallace, Jessica Spratt, John Post, Svetozar Manev, Sarah Murray and Frankie Bradley, while over lunch delegates could view poster presentations by Chloe Austin and Elizabeth Cowdean.

Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan opened the afternoon session and shared her determined focus on building, strengthening and sustaining our external partnerships and relationships as well as acting as a strong advocate, both internally and externally, in showcasing the value of the University as a contributor to the social, economic and cultural development of Northern Ireland.

Dr Gail Neill, Chair of the LGBT+ Staff Network and Lecturer in the School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences, said:

“The LGBT+ Staff Network was delighted to host this event to highlight the diversity of LGBTQ+ research being undertaken at Ulster University. It was a fantastic example of knowledge exchange between academia and the local LGBTQ+ sector. We look forward to hosting similar initiatives in the future.”

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Ulster University’s LGBT+ Staff Network is a vehicle to promote and enhance equality and inclusion across all genders and sexualities at the University.