People

Other Mel Jones

Postgraduate Researcher

School/Department: Geography Geology & The Environment, School of

Email: mj276@leicester.ac.uk

Profile

I am a Postgraduate Researcher engaging in work on LGBTQ+ Christians sacred space and creativity. I joined the University of Leicester to start my PhD in 2019. Prior to coming to Leicester I completed my Masters at the University of Liverpool in Contemporary Human Geography Research Methods. My undergraduate degree was in both Physical and Human Geography at Aberystwyth University. My work is rooted within the geographies of sexualities but also finds footing within many other disciplines including social and cultural geographies creative methods and theology. My PhD is entitled “Queerly Beloved: Bridging Spaces of Christian Faith and LGBTQ+ Identity through Creativity”. The project is funded by the ESRC Midlands DTP.

Research

Drawing on The Open Table Network as a key case study I critically examine how LGBTQ+ Christians find and claim religious space to engage with their identities community and belonging through creativity. Churches and Church organisations have long provided for communities locally nationally and internationally (Pacione 1999); along with being spaces where creativity is regularly used in religious activities (Wuthnow 2003). Awareness of LGBTQ+ identity and activism has increased significantly over recent decades as has the presence of religious queer communities; three in ten LGBTQ+ people of faith in Britain participate at least once a month with their faith communities (Stonewall 2018). Academic discussion has given some attention to these communities though there is need to research ordinary LGBTQ+ lives beyond the theoretical position of homonormativity (Brown 2012); everyday religious practice is no exception. By employing participatory creative approaches the project aims to understand assess and then contribute to the role of creative methods for community and belonging for LGBTQ+ Christians as well as contributing to discourse on sexuality faith and space.

Publications

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Jones, Mel. (2020). A House of Prayer for All People: Contesting Citizenship in a Queer Church by David K. Seitz, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2017, 296 pp., (ISBN 9781517902148). The Canadian Geographer. 64. 10.1111/cag.12620. 

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Supervision

Supervisors: Professor Martin Phillips and Dr Angela Last

Press and media

Sexuality and Faith

Conferences

RGS IBG 2021 Annual Conference -  I presented on "Trans Autoethnography: Experimentation, Discomfort and Vulnerability" as part of the "Blurring the borders between researcher and participant: The role of autoethnography within geographical research" session. 
 
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