Dr Julia Bahner

Dr Julia Bahner


Following a brief career as a social worker I returned to academia for my PhD studies at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. I was awarded my PhD in social work in 2016. During my PhD studies and afterwards, I have taught and supervised extensively in the Department of Social Work, University of Gothenburg, as well as been invited to teach in psychology, sexology, rehabilitation sciences and architecture in Gothenburg and elsewhere.

I began working in the School in May 2017, where I will be conducting the research project Sexual Citizenship and Disability: Implications for Theory, Practice and Policy, for two years.

Research interests

The different research projects that I have conducted have all concerned disability and/or sexuality. I am especially interested in issues on human rights and sexual citizenship, and how cultural discourses, governmental policies, institutional structures and professional practices influence possibilities for sexual expression and conduct. I am committed to my research having real world applicability.

In my PhD dissertation, I studied how sexuality was conceptualized in Swedish personal assistance services; and specifically, how sexual facilitation to people with impaired mobility was organized, if at all (see publications Bahner 2012, 2013, 2015a, 2015b). After the publication of my dissertation, I was invited to several disability service providers (as well as disability rights organizations) to further their knowledge on sexuality and sexual facilitation, both in theory and practice, in order to aid them in developing their service provision towards a more inclusive and rights based approach.

In the postdoc project that I am currently conducting, I continue to explore these issues. The study encompasses a comparative policy analysis (England, Netherlands, Australia), as well as a qualitative study about the ways in which disability rights organizations advocate sexual rights issues. In this latter part I also aim to use participatory research methodologies and practices with the hope of developing policies, guidelines or other things that the organizations may find useful in their future work on these issues.

Previously, I have also conducted projects concerning the disability rights movement and its role in inclusive governance; sexual education in special upper secondary schools for pupils with impaired mobility; and motivational interviewing as a method for preventing sexual health risks with adolescents and young adults.

Sexual Citizenship and Disability project website

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Social Work
  • MA Social Work
  • BSc (Hons) Social Work

Student education

My position does not allow for any substantial amount of teaching, however, I am happy to give guest lectures and supervise students within my area of research.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Disability Studies