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Brian Heaphy


Personal profile


I have a first degree in Cultural Studies and a PhD in Sociology. Prior to working at Manchester I held lectureships at the University of Leeds and Nottingham Trent University, and was a research fellow at London South Bank University.

My teaching has included courses on gender and sexuality, families, relationships and social change, personal life, social theory, research methods and methodologies.

My research and publications has focused on the implications of social change for living with HIV; same sex intimacies; 'given' and chosen' families; ageing sexualities; friendships and other critical associations; theorising personal life; the links between sexualities and class; marriage and formalised partnerships, and qualitative research methods. With colleagues I am currently researching dating app use prior to, during and after Covid 19 restrictions.

As well as the above, I have organised and provided training and capacity building workshops and events for the Realities node of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods. 

Previously, as Head of Sociology, I worked with colleagues on initiatives to build further the dynamic teaching and research culture of Sociology at Manchester. As the previous Director Research in the School of Social sciences, which includes, Econonomics, Politics, Philosophy, Social Anthropolgy, Social Statistics and Sociology I worked with colleagues to further develop the excellent research culture of the School. I have recently stepped down from a 5 year stint as Head of School and Vice Dean and am on research leave.

Research interests

Currently, my theoretical and research interests are focused on the interaction of identities, relationships and diverse ways of living in the context of social change.

I am interested in theories of social and cultural change, and in arguments about the contemporary reconfiguration of 'the social' and personal life. I have researched the implications of social change for how we concieve 'the social' and 'personal life' through ESRC funded projects on sexualities and gender, families and intimacies, ageing, research methods and dating app use. I have studied and written about living with HIV, same sex intimaces, ageing sexualities, sexuality and class, friendships, civil partnerships and same-sex marriages, and divorce. With colleagues I am  currently writing a book on on relationship dissolution and divorce, as well as articles form an ESRC funded study of dating app use..

I was a member of the Realities research methods team which was linked to the ESRC's National Centre for Research Methods, and a founding memeber as well as co-Director of the Morgan Centre for the Study of Everyday Life.


Supervision information

Supervision areas:

PhD Topics Supervised to Completion  (prior to Manchester)

'Black men’s negotiations of multiply marginalized identities' 

'The implications of same sex relationships and health policy and service provision'

'Negotiating gay male identities'

'An exploration of gay male cleric’s negotiation of their sexual, spiritual, and professional lives' 

PhD Topics Supervised to completion at Manchester 

'Young People's Negotiation of Sexual Health in Nigeria'

‘Crossing Borders:Remaking Gay Fatherhood in the Global Market’

'After the Act: Narratives of Display and the Significance of Civil Partnership'

'But you didn't think what you were doing was risky': The Role of Risk in Mediating the Identities and Practices of Rock Climbers, 2012 

'Differentiating the Self: How Midlife Gay Men in Manchester Respond to Ageing and Ageism' Aug 2012'

Neoliberalism and Women in Croatia

Lesbian visibility in queer commercial scenes

Grinder, Tourism and Sexuality

On and off-line practices of 'bugchasing'

Dementia and Sexuality 

Current Topics Supervised

South-East Asian Gay Men’s Identities

Gay Choirs as a Social Movement

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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