Photo of Nina HeldNina Held


Nina’s research interests are situated within the areas of:

-          gender and sexuality studies

-          critical race and whiteness studies

-          sexual and emotional geographies

-          LGBT asylum and human rights 

Nina follows interdisciplinary and intersectional research methodologies. Her PhD research Racialised Lesbian Spaces: a Mancunian ethnography (Lancaster University, 2011) is interdisciplinary and draws on different fields such as sexual geographies, critical ‘race’ scholarship, (black) feminist and queer theories, studies on whiteness, postmodern spatial theories. 

Through participant observations in Manchester's Gay Village and qualitative interviews with women who identify as lesbian and bisexual and white, mixed-race, black and East Asian, the ethnographic study explores the role of ‘race’ in the construction of lesbian bodies and spaces and how sexuality, ‘race’ and space work together in shaping subjectivities. It argues that ‘race’ and sexuality are mutually constitutive categories and that they can only be understood in relation to each other. 

Her more recent research interests in LGBT asylum and human rights have developed through her various roles in the voluntary sector, especially through her work with the human rights organisations Freedom from Torture and the Lesbian Immigration Support Group.  

In her role as research fellow at Sussex, she is working on the project SOGICA - Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Claims of Asylum (2016-2020, funded by a Horizon 2020 ERC Starting Grant). This project will generate the first ever theoretically and empirically-grounded comparative and comprehensive picture of the status and legal experiences of asylum-seekers across Europe claiming international protection on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI), and determine how the European asylum systems can treat more fairly asylum claims based on the claimant’s SOGI.