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Miss Shannon O'Rourke

Profile summary

Professional biography

Shannon O'Rourke (she/her) is a third-year PhD candidate in Social Psychology. Her research is exploring the leadership experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Queer people in the UK (primary study) and Italy (secondary study). While the focus of this research is on sexuality, it includes trans and non-binary folks who identify as LGBQ+. This is a qualitative research project that will include interviews with 30 individuals in the UK and 10 in Italy. 

While Shannon's PhD is in Social Psychology, she is trained as an anthropologist. She obtained a BA in Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, and completed an MA in Visual and Media Anthropology from Freie Universität Berlin.  As part of her MA, she conducted ethnographic research with queer women and health care professionals on sexual health experiences and sexual identity in Cape Town, South Africa. During this time, she recognized a passion for research on gender and sexuality and enjoyed having a personal connection to her research topic. In addition, specializing in visual and media anthropology allowed her to realize the importance of developing ways of sharing research outside of academia. She is passionate about communicating research through different forms of media. 

Prior to this PhD, Shannon worked for five years as a qualitative research analyst on HIV prevention projects in South Africa and the USA. She faciliated trainings on qualitative reseach methods in both South Africa and the USA, and managed the production of visual/education media to promote HIV and PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) awareness. She implemented a PhotoVoice project on young women's PrEP experiences in South Africa to amplify the voices of study participants.  

First author research publication: The PrEP Journey: Understanding How Internal Drivers and External Circumstances Impact The PrEP Trajectory of Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Cape Town, South Africa - PubMed (

Research interests

  • LGBTQ+ lived experiences, health, and wellbeing
  • Diversity and inclusion in leadership
  • HIV treatment and prevention 
  • Women's health, maternal and child health 
  • Visual/participatory research methods
  • Science communications

External collaborations

Shannon's PhD research is part of the G-VERSITY network (innovative doctoral training network, see: network - G-Versity ( The G-VERSITY network is the focused on research on sexual and gender diversity (particularly in the workplace), as well as intersectoral/interdisciplinary collaborations and conducting research to be practically implemented and shared. She writes for the G-VERSITY blog about her PhD research experiences: Shannon O'Rourke - Solutions (

Shannon's project also includes a partnership with the LGBT+ Consortium, a national (UK) specialist infrastructure group that supports LGBT+ groups and organizations (see: Consortium).