Colloquium on Commercial Sex at NUI Galway

Dr Lorraine Nencel
Apr 26 2016 Posted: 09:20 IST

A colloquium on commercial sex will be hosted by the Commercial Sex Researchers Network of Ireland (CSNRI) in conjunction with the NUI Galway-UL Gender Arc on Tuesday, 3 May in Room 110, St. Anthony’s Building, NUI Galway.

Entitled ‘Research on the margins? Commercial sex, the researcher and the researched’, this is an interdisciplinary event which encapsulates local and international expert opinion on the issue of commercial sex is organised by Seán Burke, a PhD candidate at NUI Galway’s School of Political Science and Sociology.

Keynote speaker Dr Lorraine Nencel will critically explore how researchers make sense of knowledge about the sex trade, how they work with sex workers, and some of the implications of that. She will draw on her 20 year experience of research with sex workers in Peru, Netherlands, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Dhaka Bangladesh, and make the case that researching the sex trade is not like researching any other topic, or not ‘a job like any other’. 

Dr Nencel’s address will be followed by two interactive workshops hosted by NUI Galway’s Dr Eilís Ward and Dr Leigh-Ann Sweeney.

Dr Nencel is Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology at the VU University, Amsterdam. Trained as an anthropologist, she has been researching the subject of sex work for more than twenty years, beginning with her research in Lima Peru. Momentarily, she is finishing research on migrant sex workers in the Netherlands, has a project concerning ‘economic empowerment’ and sex workers in Kenya and Ethiopia, and has recently began a project on migrant young women and sexual and reproductive rights in Dhaka Bangladesh, which also works with sex workers. 

Dr Eilís Ward is lecturer in the School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway and has been researching and publishing on the politics of the sex trade for over ten years. She is a member of the management committee of the EU funded Cost Action network, ProsPol, and co-editor of a forthcoming book on the state, feminism and prostitution politics.  Furthermore, Dr Ward has contributed to the national debate on prostitution by giving submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee Justice Equality and Defence, which investigated legislating for prostitution in Ireland.

Dr Leigh-Ann Sweeney is a Health Services Postdoctoral Researcher at NUI Galway’s Health Promotion Research Centre. Her research to date has focused on qualitative, service-user led research, with a specific interest in narrative inquiry. Dr Sweeney’s PhD research topic, ‘The psychosocial experiences of women involved in prostitution: An exploratory study’, provides empirical evidence on the health needs and experiences of women in the sex industry.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, or to reserve a place, contact Seán Burke at


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