Mavis Kirkham

Mavis Kirkham

Sheffield Hallam University, UK


Mavis Kirkham is Professor of Midwifery at the University of the West of Scotland, visiting professor at the Auckland University of Technology and holds honorary professorial positions at Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Technology Sydney. She has worked continuously as a midwife researcher and a clinical midwife for forty years and still does some work as a home birth midwife.

Research Interest

Approaching the end of a long career in midwifery, I am reflecting and writing on midwifery in its wider context. My central professional concern is with women’s engagement with their childbearing: the conditions which foster this and its enabling effects upon mothers, families and midwives. I have long been concerned with how birth stories are negotiated and adjusted and the impact of these stories on tellers and hearers. I see myself as a hybrid researcher, having worked in the disciplines of social anthropology, sociology, politics and history, using qualitative, observational and ethnographic methods as well as surveys and archive work. My abiding research interest is in peoples’ relationship with, and efforts to control their work and its setting; in terms of employment and reproductive labour. My current research is on free birthing.

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