Wellcome Trust funded symposium
Researching Representations of Child Sexual Abuse in Contemporary Culture


The Researching Representations of Child Sexual Abuse in Contemporary Culture seminar series (postponed due to Covid-19 in Spring 2020) has been reconvened as a 2-day online symposium taking place on the afternoons of 25th and 26th May 2021. The symposium brings together survivors, practitioners and researchers from across disciplines to discuss their work on CSA, to explore the role of cultural representations of CSA in contemporary society and to consider how these representations may affect both survivors and general audiences. The symposium features talks by scholars from disciplines such as history, sociology, social work, criminology and psychology on their research in the area of CSA, talks by scholars of literature, film, narrative medicine and creative media effects on how cultural representations affect audiences, and talks by social work and healthcare professionals on their work with survivors and how cultural representations of CSA affect this.

Speakers include:

Nick Basannavar

(Social and cultural history, Birkbeck)

Simon McCarthy-Jones

(Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology, TCD)

Ruth Beecher 

(Social and cultural history, Birkbeck)

Rosaleen McElvaney 

(Psychotherapy, Children’s Hospital Connolly)

Ailise Bulfin 

(Literature and culture, UCD)

Joe Mooney 

(Social Work, UCD)

Claire Cunnington 

(Sociology, University of Sheffield)

Victoria Pöhls (Cognitive Literary Studies, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics)

Leanne Gregory 

(Clinical Psychologist)

Xavier Aldana Reyes 

(English Literature and Film, Manchester Met)

Marie Keenan 

(Social Policy, Social Work & Social Justice, UCD)

Brendan Rooney 

(Media Psychology, UCD)

Eimear Lacey 

(Social Work, Crumlin Children’s Hospital)

Michael Salter 

(Criminology, University of New South Wales)

 Hazel Larkin 

(Activist and PhD researcher, DCU),

Emily Troscianko 

(Medical Humanities, Oxford)

Maeve Lewis 

(Director, One in Four)

Shaakya Vembar 

(Psychology, TCD)

María Ángeles Martínez Martínez 

(Cognitive Literary Linguistics, University of Alcalá)


The symposium is funded by the Wellcome Trust and hosted by the School of English, Drama and Film at University College Dublin. The full schedule and speaker abstracts and bios will be posted here soon. The panels are free to attend for anyone interested and details on how to register will be available here soon. Or you can contact the organisers and they will email you with the meeting links:



This interdisciplinary Wellcome Trust-funded seminar series explores how child sexual abuse is represented in contemporary culture in works like novels, films and TV series, and seeks to understand how these representations affect both survivors and general audiences. It opens with a witness seminar by survivors of sexual violence giving their perspectives on how culture supports sexual violence. It features talks by cultural scholars who work on representations of child sexual abuse in literature, drama and film. It includes the perspectives of scholars from other disciplines, such as history, sociology, social work and psychology, who research child sexual abuse. And it also features talks by scholars of narrative medicine and creative media effects, and by health practitioners who work with survivors of abuse.