Centre for European and International Studies Research


Photo of Dr Emily Nicholls

Dr Emily Nicholls

  • Qualifications: BA (Hons) Politics and Philosophy (University of Leeds), MA Gender Research (Newcastle University), PGDip Local Government Management (University of Warwick) PhD Sociology (Newcastle University)
  • Role Title: Senior Lecturer in Sociology
  • Address: Park Building, King Henry 1st Street, Portsmouth PO1 2DZ
  • Telephone: 023 9284 2229
  • Email: emily.nicholls@port.ac.uk
  • Department: School of Education and Sociology
  • Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


Emily joined the University of Portsmouth in September 2015, after working as a Research Associate (RA) on a collaborative ESRC-funded project ‘If the Shoe Fits: Enabling Patient-Centred Podiatry’ around footwear and identity with the University of Sheffield and Podiatry Services, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. Prior to this, Emily worked as a Teaching Assistant whilst undertaking her PhD thesis at Newcastle University. Emily also completed an MA in Gender Research at Newcastle University, and a BA in Politics and Philosophy at the University of Leeds.

Her main research interests are in the area of gender, femininities and identities, specifically the ways in which gender and identity are performed in everyday contemporary contexts, and the ways in which gender intersects with other dimensions of identity, such as class, age and sexuality. Her PhD thesis examined the way in which young women embody ‘appropriate’ femininities through their everyday practices on a ‘girls’ night out’ and in the Night Time Economy (NTE) more widely. She is particularly interested in the ways in which dress, appearance and drinking practices are negotiated in the construction of feminine identities, and is a member of the British Sociological Association (BSA) Alcohol Study Group. 

Teaching Responsibilities

Emily is joint unit co-ordinator for the third year unit ‘Gender and Sexuality’, and unit co-ordinator for the second year unit ‘Risk in Society’. She supervises undergraduate dissertations, teaches on first year units ‘Studying Society’ and ‘Research Design and Analysis’ and acts as personal tutor for undergraduate students. She is also the Admissions Tutor for undergraduate Sociology and is involved in representing the subject at Open Days and meeting applicants and parents.


Emily has published journal articles around risk and femininity, and a book chapter on femininities, class and alcohol consumption published by Routledge as part of the BSA’s Sociological Futures Series. She was also shortlisted for the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association Student Essay Prize in 2015. Her recent collaborative work on shoes and identity at the University of Sheffield received a Council for Allied Health Professions Research (CAHPR) Public Health Research Award and was shortlisted for a Medipex Innovation Award.

Emily is currently working on publications based on the findings of her PhD research and her RA work at the University of Sheffield, including a full-length monograph to be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018. She is interested in developing her research on women’s engagement with the NTE, particularly to consider how midlife women negotiate femininities in these contemporary spaces. She also welcomes opportunities to continue to build on the success of the ‘If the Shoe Fits’ project through future collaborative work with academic and NHS partners.

Emily welcomes PhD applications in areas related to gender, identities and postfeminism and / or alcohol studies and the Night Time Economy

Research Clusters

  • Sociology and Social Theory
  • Women's and Gender Studies

Research profile

Explore my research profile, publications and activities on the Portsmouth Research Portal

View profile