Think North

Austerity, women & health inequalities

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PhD Project: call for participants

Motherhood, wellbeing and austerity in Stockton-on-Tees

Information Sheet

This research project is being carried out by a PhD student at Durham University between 2015 and 2016. The aim is to understand the experience of mothers and their families, how they have been impacted by welfare cuts, and their health and wellbeing. The project is interested in the experiences of mothers from all around the borough.

Key themes for discussion:

  • Everyday life
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Recession, austerity and cuts
  • Motherhood and family life
  • The benefits system and the job market
  • Housing, childcare, and transport in the community

Interviews will be carried out with mothers from Stockton-on-Tees who are willing to share their experiences. 

  • The interview will last approximately 1 hour, is friendly and informal, and it can take place in a location that is convenient to you.
  • Over the year 2015-2016, respondents will be contacted for interview at least once more.
  • Everything you say is treated with complete confidence. Your information will be anonymous ‐ after the taped interview is typed up, all identifying details are removed, and the recording is destroyed.
  • The anonymised version of your interview then goes into secure storage, and no one will ever be able to tell it was you.
  • Your participation in this project is entirely voluntary and you can decide to opt out at any time.
  • Before agreeing to take part, your rights will be explained and you will be asked to sign a consent form. This asks your permission to record the interview and include the information you give in a report and other publications.

“Local Health Inequalities in an Age of Austerity: The Stockton-on-Tees Study” is a research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust, run by the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing at Durham University (

If you would like any further information, please get in touch with me – my contact details: Amy Greer Murphy Email:


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Tomorrow, Dublin: The 4th March for Choice (Repeal the 8th Amendment of the Constitution)

Tomorrow is the 4th annual march for choice in Dublin. I’m beyond gutted I can’t be there.

If an Irish woman travels to the UK for a termination, at a Marie Stopes clinic she will have to pay anywhere from €420-€1550 for something which should be safely and freely provided as the basic medical service it is. If she is a migrant from a non-EU state, she cannot legally obtain a visa to go to the UK, or Netherlands, to obtain this service.

I am a believer in strong health care provision. I believe even stronger still in the absolute necessity of a woman’s reproductive sovereignty.

It is particularly in recent living memory, in this Catholic and conservative Republic we now exist within, that a woman’s right to choose is not afforded to her. This is a huge challenge to women’s economic and bodily sovereignty, to gender equality in the state, and to the democratic values the Republic claims to stand for.

In light of recent positive changes to marriage equality legislation, I hope the same positive change is coming for the women of Ireland very soon. In the meantime, services like the Abortion Support Network are doing outstanding work in reaching women who need this service and support.

Beidh amárach a bheith níos fearr ná sin

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Workshop and documentary: resisting austerity

On Sunday 20th September, as part of Copenhagen’s FLAB – En feministisk festival, I am hosting a showing of the Irish anti-austerity documentary Eat Your Children, followed by a workshop on resisting austerity in the EU.

I’m hoping it will be a chance for those living in Denmark affected by austerity generally to come together to discuss ways we can resist austerity on multiple levels; in our everyday experiences, in a broader political sense, and how to do this across multiple platforms in the EU.

I’m incredibly excited about it and I hope it will be an inspiring and encouraging opportunity for all who attend.


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Picturing Stockton : a researcher’s view

Health Inequalities in an Age of Austerity: The Stockton-on-Tees Study

Amy Greer-Murphy is a postgraduate student who is working on the Health inequalities project.She is investigating the lived experience of people in Stockton and has  a particular interest in mothers. She is also interested in photography as a way to explore places and people, as she explains;

For the last few months I have been spending time in Stockton as part of the ethnographic element of my fieldwork; mostly in the town centre. As I walked around, I’ve been taking pictures with my phone, and uploading them to social media.

I knew very little about Stockton outside of what I’d seen at the University campus and read in journals so I wanted to try and capture what felt, for me, like the ‘essence’ of the place. On my journeys, some with a specific purpose (a meeting, to catch a bus), some just a wander, I snapped corners, buildings with nice…

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Anti-austerity protest: Central London 20th June

Fortunately for me, the anti-austerity protest organised by The People’s Assembly was taking place the very weekend I’d be returning from my austerity conference in Kent. This meant I could combine the conference with a spot of protesting (academia should never distance itself from activism, in my opinion).
The feeling, coming out of bank station and seeing the already mass of people that had gathered there, was immense. The Facebook group said 70,000 people would attend, and 250,000 turned up; families with their kids in buggies, disability activists, some in wheelchairs, community groups against the cuts, a surprising number of communist groups, Unions, and even a sizeable group of Black Bloc enthusiasts (although their numbers were nothing like this event I accidentally got stuck in the middle of in Copenhagen last year).
Rather than marching with one specific group, I found it more fun to meander along to Westminster alone, taking in all the different posters and getting a feel for the different kinds of groups, chants and posters that were making the journey from the central of finance in the city to the centre of governance. It was a truly inspiring event, and while I’m under no illusion that this one protest, and the simultaneous ones taking place in other parts of the country on that day, will make a dent in the pro-austerity logic of the government and general populace. But we must begin somewhere, and peaceful protest, hopefully continuing to grow in size, is as good a place as any to begin.

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My first conference: Austerity and Household Finance at Kent

Two weeks ago I attended a conference hosted by the law school at Kent University to celebrate 50 years of radical feminism at Kent. It was the farthest I’ve ever travelled for a conference (sometimes I forget how massive the UK is!), and my first time presenting at a non-internal conference.

The experience was really encouraging; the plenary speakers were fantastic, the whole atmosphere was very welcoming and positive, and it was fantastic to be in a productive environment with so many anti-austerity researchers, discussing all the areas in civil society where the cuts are having a huge impact; the benefit system, cuts to legal aid, the housing market and the labour market, as well as wider feminist issues such as reproductive and informal care practices and the impact austerity is having on our understanding of these issues.

My presentation went very well, I kept it simple and did a basic summation of my PhD to date and how the concept of austerity and household finance is relevant to it. I got some great, insightful questions, and left with a lot to think about for the coming months. I didn’t ask anyone to take pictures of my presentation, unfortunately, but here’s a wee picture of a row of pastel-painted houses beside my hotel. 20150617_195726