Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Young people’s social, political and civic participation Young women’s feminism and feminist activism Feminist and human rights activism and social movements Women, girls and feminism

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Personal profile


Grainne is a Senior Lecturer in the Division of Criminology, Politics and Sociology. She is a member of the Centre for Citizenship, Conflict, Identity and Diversity and an affiliate of the Centre for Applied Childhood, Youth and Family Research. She researches feminism, activism and social movements, and young people’s social, political and civic participation.

Grainne has just completed a European Commission, Horizon 2020 project entitled Partispace: Spaces and styles of participation. Formal, non-formal and informal possibilities of young people’s participation in European cities ( This study, which ran from 2015 to 2018, explored young people’s political and social participation in the public sphere - in formal, non-formal and informal settings - and took place in eight cities across Europe. Grainne is leading/ co-leading the following research projects:

  • Empowering girls and young women through Project 1325 (funded by WomenCentre/ Big Lottery fund)
  • How social movements move: a local case study of female post-secondary students' understanding and uptake of #MeToo (funded by the University of Calgary)
  • Creating a living chater of youth rights: Greater Manchester (funded by the Office of the Mayor of Greater Manchester)
  • Occupying hostile environments: creating feminist spaces (funded by University of Huddersfield)
  • Migration and lived experience: displaced young people living in Europe (funded by University of Huddersfield)

Gráinne is the Research Lead for RAPAR, a human rights organisation based in Manchester, UK, working with displaced people, Co-Convenor of the British Sociological Association's Gender and Feminism Study Group, and on twitter: @grainnemcmahon.

Grainne completed a DPhil at the University of Oxford (Christ Church) (2009), an MSc at Queen’s University, Belfast (1999), and a BSc (Hons) at the University of Ulster (1998).

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Young people’s social, political and civic participation
  • Young women’s feminism and feminist activism
  • Feminist and human rights activism and social movements
  • Women, girls and feminism  

Research Degree Supervision

Click Here to see all postgraduate research opportunities with Dr Grainne McMahon

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Oxford

… → 2009

Master, Queen's University Belfast

… → 1999

Bachelor, University of Ulster

… → 1998

External positions

Co-Convener, BSA Gender Study and Feminism Group, The British Sociological Association

Nov 2018 → …

Research Lead, Refugee and Asylum Participatory Action Research

Oct 2017 → …

Research Expertise and Interests

  • youth participation
  • youth activism
  • feminism
  • feminist activism
  • social movements
  • human rights activism
  • political participation
  • political activism
  • youth culture
  • democracy

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Grainne McMahon is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 15 Similar Profiles
participation Social Sciences
feminism Social Sciences
action research Social Sciences
inclusion Social Sciences
democracy Social Sciences
Social Movements Social Sciences
learning Social Sciences
human rights Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2018 2019

Participation biographies: meaning-making, identity-work and the self

McMahon, G., Liljeholm Hansson, S., von Schwanenflügel, L., Lütgens, J. & Ilardo, M., 10 Jul 2019, Young People and the Struggle for Participation: Contested Practices, Power and Pedagogies in Public Spaces. Walther, A., Batsleer, J., Loncle, P. & Pohl, A. (eds.). 1 ed. Abingdon: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, p. 161-175 15 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Participation Biographies: Routes and relevancies of young people’s participation

Schwanenflügel, L. V., Lütgens, J., McMahon, G. & Liljeholm Hansson, S., 26 Jun 2019, In : Discourse. Journal of Childhood and Adolescence Research. 14, 4, p. 431-445 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Recognition, inclusion and democracy: learning from action research with young people

Percy-Smith, B., McMahon, G. & Thomas, N., 27 May 2019, In : Educational Action Research. 27, 3, p. 347-361 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue

action research

Biographies of young people's participation in eight European Cities

Cuconato, M., McMahon, G., Becquet, V., Ilardo, M., Liljeholm Hansson, S., Lutgens, J., von Schwanenflügel, L., Demozzi, S. & Maunaye, E., 3 May 2018, 76 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Open Access
2 Citations (Scopus)

Starting to Stop: Young Offenders' Desistance from Crime

McMahon, G. & Jump, D., 1 Apr 2018, In : Youth Justice. 18, 1, p. 3-17 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Activities 2012 2019

  • 9 Oral presentation
  • 3 Invited talk
  • 2 Organising a conference, workshop, ...
  • 1 Participating in a conference, workshop, ...

PROMISE: final conference

Grainne McMahon (Panelist)
8 Apr 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipating in a conference, workshop, ...

Young People's Participation Biographies

Grainne McMahon (Speaker)
18 Apr 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

Be(com)ing Feminist: Young Women's Feminist Journeys and Political Activism

Grainne McMahon (Speaker)
10 Apr 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

Authority and Places of Democracy

Grainne McMahon (Invited speaker), Janet Batsleer (Invited speaker)
7 Mar 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Press / Media