Dr Erin Sanders-McDonagh

Senior Lecturer in Criminology,
Athena Swan Lead, SSPSSR
+44 (0)1227 824414
Dr Erin Sanders-McDonagh


Dr Erin Sanders-McDonagh graduated from the College of William and Mary (Virginia, USA) with a double BA in literature and politics. She has an MA in 20th Century Literature from Goldsmiths (University of London), an MSc in Gender, Sexuality and Culture from Birkbeck (University of London), as well as an MA in Research Methods and a PhD in Sociology (both awarded by the University of Nottingham). 

As a feminist public scholar with a commitment to radical and engaged pedagogic practices, Dr Sanders-McDonagh's research explores inequality in different forms. She has a strong commitment to working with scholars from across disciplinary boundaries and to moving research findings beyond academia into the public arena.

Dr Sanders-McDonagh is currently working with Medway Council on violence reduction initiatives, and sits on the Leadership Group for violent crime reduction task force in Medway.

Research interests

Current Research

Dr Sanders-McDonagh is a multisensory ethnographer, and has published a range of articles and books on the use of mobile and sensory methods with vulnerable groups. She is interested in working with disenfranchised groups, and has a particular interest in London and the Southeast.
She has worked with a range of marginalised groups in recent research projects, including sex workers, young people at risk of sexual exploitation, women who have experienced sexual or domestic violence, and young offenders.
She is currently writing-up findings on a multisensory ethnography on the impacts of gentrification on Soho. 

Recent research

Research Council Funding:

  • 2014-2015 ESRC-DFID: ESRC-DFID Joint Poverty Scheme Gender Evidence Synthesis Analysis [Sarah Bradshaw (co-I) and Erin Sanders-McDonagh (co-I)]
  • 2013-2015 British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grant: [with Jon Mulholland (Co-I), Nicola Montanga (Co-I), Erin Sanders-McDonagh(Co-I) ‘Women in Nationalist Movements in the UK’

Knowledge and Enterprise Funding:

  • 2015-2016 New Horizon’s Youth Centre: Evaluation of the Creating Positive Futures Young Offenders Project [Erin Sanders-McDonagh (PI)]
  • 2014-2015 Safer London Foundation: Evaluation of the Empower Programme [Erin Sanders-McDonagh (PI) – with Simon Harding, Anthony Goodman, Lucy Neville]
  • 2014 West Midlands Police Force Area: Evidence Synthesis - A Review of Domestic Homicide Reviews in the West Midlands [Lucy Neville (PI) and Erin Sanders-McDonagh(Co-I)]
  • 2012-2015 Tender Arts and Education: National Partnership Programme [Miranda Horvath (Co-I), Erin Sanders-McDonagh (Co-I), and Shola Apena-Rogers] 


Dr Sanders-McDonagh teaches on the first year Introduction to Criminology module and the Violence and Society module at UG level. She is teaching a new MA module in the School, ‘Urban Imaginaries: Crime and Deviance in the City’. Dr Sanders-McDonagh also teaches on the Summer School in Urban Ethnography in Paris.


Please contact Dr Sanders-McDonagh if you are interested in researching gender and sexuality-related topics; domestic or sexual violence; youth offending and serious youth violence; sex work; and feminist, postcolonial or queer theory.

Current Students:

  • 2019 – present: Elise Wynkoop ‘Vulnerable young people and the impact of safe space and risk and offending’
  • 2018 – present: Esther Kiburi, ‘Towards a theo-practical framework for a multi-sensory approach to representation - Space as a framing device in the fight for Women’s rights in Nairobi Kenya’
  • 2018 - present: Anna Segal, ‘How does the engagement with BDSM practice influence women’s relationships with their bodies and sexualities?’
  • 2017 – present: Robin Rose Breetveld, ‘How bisexual individuals experience feelings of belonging within designated social spaces for sexual minorities’
  • 2015 – present: Rachel Stuart, ‘How webcamming is experienced by female performers as a form of sexual commerce’ 


Dr Sanders-McDonagh is involved in activities promoting gender equality. She is active in the Gender and Feminist Geography Research Group and the Space, Sexualities and Queer Research Group (both affiliated with the Royal Geographical Society). She is also a peer review panelist for the Equalities Challenge Unit, including the Advance HE Race Equality Charter and Athena SWAN Charter. 

Dr Sanders-McDonagh is on the editorial board of Sociological Research Online and regularly reviews for a number of journals including Environment and Planning C, Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, European Journal of Women’s Studies, Feminist Theory, Gender, Place and Culture, Sexualities, International Feminist Journal of Politics, Journal of Gender Studies, Sociological Research Online, the Sociological Review and Woman's Studies International Forum. 


  • American Association of Geographers
  • International Political Science Association 
  • Society for Research in Higher Education 
  • British Sociological Association 
  • Royal Geographic Society 
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 


Dr Sanders-McDonagh has written articles for a number of news organisations, including The Conversation. Her work has appeared in international news outlets including Wired, the Telegraph, the Irish Independent, and the Irish Examiner. Recent activity includes:

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