Impact in Sexualities and Queer Research: Reflections and Questions for Geography and the Social Sciences
14 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2016
Date Written: September 6, 2015
This paper discusses the so-called ‘impact agenda’ in UK universities specifically in relation to research on sexualities and/or queer themes. The paper reviews some of the wider controversies about the nature and purpose of the impact agenda (e.g. the risks to academic freedom; the potential implications for how scholars interact with research end-users; the problems with evaluating ‘impact’). It then raises questions regarding the visibility of sexualities and/or queer research within the impact agenda especially given the oft-perceived marginality of research on these themes in some disciplines and the historical and contemporary challenges faced by researchers working on sexualities and queer themes. The paper compiles and discusses data on the presence of sexualities and queer themes within so-called Impact Case Studies submitted to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014. It concludes with some reflections on the challenges the REF experiences when evaluating ‘public engagement’, something which is perhaps particularly unfortunate for a number of scholars working on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issue, given that one of the greatest collective contributions of scholarship in this area has been to raise awareness and shift public/student perceptions, even if this is challenging to measure.
Keywords: Sexualites, Queer, Impact, Research Excellence Framework
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