Portrait of Dr Dawn Lyon

Dr Dawn Lyon

Reader in Sociology
SSPSSR REF Lead for Outputs
Director, Visual and Sensory Research Cluster


Dr Dawn Lyon joined Kent in 2006. She previously worked as a researcher at the University of Essex, the European University Institute (Italy), Paris V, and Vrije Universiteit Brussel. 

Dr Lyon completed her PhD in Sociology at the European University Institute (Italy), her MA in Interdisciplinary Women’s Studies at the University of Warwick, and a combined Honours BSc in Society and Government, and French at Aston University. 

Research interests

Dr Lyon’s current research is broadly in the sociology of work and time. She is interested in the meanings work has for people (past, present and future), the (gendered) interconnections between work activities undertaken in different socio-economic relations (eg. paid and unpaid), the rhythms of working life, the embodied experience of work and the deployment of the senses in everyday working practices. She is also very interested in creative, visual and sensory qualitative research methods. She is a member of the editorial board of Time & Society

Dr Lyon is currently collaborating with a filmmaker on a project entitled Remembering the Future, which explores memory, projectivity and imagination in relation to work and place. This builds on her previous research in The Living and Working on Sheppey and Imagine Sheppey projects which were concerned with young people’s imagined futures and the presence of the future in their lived experience of the present.

Past research projects include: 

  • Working with Fish focused on skill, value, the organisation and rhythms of work, affective relations across the human and non-human, and sensory and embodied labour in the socio-economic and cultural processes of bringing fish ‘from sea to table’. See the project film of Billingsgate fish market and the short film, 'The Passage of Fish', on a wholesale fish market in Sardinia.
  • The Labour of Refurbishment – a visual ethnography of the refurbishment of an historic building. 
  • Transformations of Work - a study of the shifting socio-economic modes in which work is performed based on a comparative analysis of eldercare. 
  • Women Migrants from East to West - an oral history project about the experience of women migrants from East and Central Europe in Italy and the Netherlands. 
  • International Comparative Leadership Study - a cross-national collaborative study of the working lives and career trajectories of men and women in business and politics. 


At undergraduate level, Dr Lyon teaches modules in qualitative research methods and the sociology of time and contributes to modules in sociology, urban life and emotion. She also convenes the SSPSSR Summer School in Urban Ethnography, which takes place each year in Paris in July. See a series of short films about the Summer School

At postgraduate level Dr Lyon teaches a core module in qualitative research and contributes to another core module on research design in the MA and PG Cert Methods of Social Research. 

Dr Lyon is External Examiner for undergraduate programmes in sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London.  


Dr Lyon welcomes PhD students with proposals in any area of the sociology of work, and is keen to work with students wishing to use visual or sensory methods.

She is currently supervising:

  • (with Tim Strangleman) Paul Cook, Deindustrialisation, community, and contemporary work 
  • (with Tim Strangleman) Dan Forbes, Modernization and privatization in the Royal Mail: identity, public service and the meaning of work 
  • (with Tim Strangleman) Jack Warner, From a ‘job for life’ to a ‘gig’ economy: Rethinking work, time and economic life 

Previous doctoral students: 

  • (with Steve Roberts, now Monash University, Australia) Lena Karlin, Graduates in Transition (2019) 
  • (with Tim Strangleman) Sarah O’Connor, Exploring the Occupational Identity of the Watch Manager in the Fire Service (2016) 
  • (with Larry Ray) Barbara Adewumi, High expectations: Black professional parents’ aspirations for their children (2015) 
  • (with Tim Strangleman) Victoria Tedder, Making things our own: Material Nostalgia, Domestic Creation and Cultivation (2014) 


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