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Dr Sophie Doherty

LLB MSSc PhD FHEA

Photo of Sophie.

Profile summary

Professional biography

Dr Sophie Doherty (she/her) is an award-winning lecturer and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Sophie is a Lecturer in Law (Central Academic) at The Open University (OU). Prior to joining the OU, Sophie held positions at Dublin City University, and tutored on various modules at Queen's University Belfast, and Durham University. She has presented at academic conferences and guest lectured, nationally and internationally, on her research.

Sophie's research is primarily focused on the areas, and intersections, of sexual violence, justice, law and art. She is also involved in multiple networks and research clusters, reflecting her varied research interests. 

Sophie is available via email (sophie.doherty@open.ac.uk), Twitter and LinkedIn.

Research interests

Dr Sophie Doherty's research is primarily focused on the themes of, and relationship between, sexual violence, justice, law and art. To explore these themes, Sophie uses a multidisciplinary and cross jurisdictional lens, informed by feminist scholarship and practice. In 2020, Dr Doherty’s thesis, ‘Visualising Justice: Sexual Violence Law and Art’, completed at Durham University, was passed unconditionally. Her thesis provides an original and timely contribution to conceptualisations of justice for victim-survivors of sexual violence. 

Her current research considers the work of Artemisia Gentileschi, Suzanne Lacy, Tracey Emin, and the work of Elisa Iannacone, amongst others, in light of socio-legal issues. Most recently, Sophie was awarded funding from the OU alongside Elisa Iannacone, to complete their project titled, 'Exploring the capacity of artistic methods in creating a sense of justice for victim-survivors of sexual violence.’

Beyond this, Sophie has been involved in various research projects, including projects on: Brexit and the border in Ireland, sexual violence and representation in conflict, gender and the United Nations, and peacekeeping. 

Sophie has published in Feminist Legal Studies, Law and Literature, Law and Humanities, and Etica y Politica.

Teaching interests

Dr Sophie Doherty’s teaching interests centre around Criminal Law and Jurisprudence. Her interests range to concepts surrounding justice and knowing/experiencing law, thus providing a critical engagement with modules beyond her core interests. Extending her interest in Law and Art to Legal Education, Sophie is interested in developing creative learning methods within law-based modules and is completing research on the arts and legal education.

Sophie teaches on various modules at the OU including: Criminal Law and the Courts, Evidence, Public Law and Criminal Law, and Exploring Legal Boundaries. Prior to joining the OU, Sophie was an Assistant Professor in Criminal Law at Dublin City University chairing modules such as: Criminal Law, Advanced Criminal Law, Jurisprudence, and Administrative Law. She has supervised masters students to completion, and is currently supervising PhD students.

Sophie is committed to enhancing student experiences within legal education. In recognition of her commitment to this, Sophie was awarded Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy and has been awarded the National Teaching Hero Award, issued by National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in association with the Union of Students in Ireland. While at Dublin City University, Sophie was nominated each year for the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. While at Queen’s University Belfast, Sophie received outstanding student feedback and at Durham University, she was nominated for Law School Teacher of the Year.

Impact and engagement

Dr Sophie Doherty acted as a guest lecturer at the Solicitors of the Future Transition Year Programme, organised by the Law Society of Ireland, in 2021 and 2022. In 2022, Sophie organised the sold out ‘Creating Justice: Law, Art and Activism’ event in Belfast at the Imagine! Festival of Ideas and Politics.

She presented her research on ‘Justice through Expression: New Directions in Victim-Survivor Centred Responses to Sexual and Institutional Violence’ at the Northern Ireland Executive’s ‘Ending Violence Against Women and Girls: Academic Research Sharing Workshop’ event in 2022.

Sophie also writes pieces for RTÉ, Ireland's National Television and Radio Broadcaster. Her work is available here.

External collaborations

Dr Sophie Doherty is a member of various networks and associations. Sophie has also acted as a critical reader for a pilot module produced by Culture and Art for Restorative Justice.

Notably, Sophie is an Advisory Group member of the Law and Humanities journal, a member of the Coordination Group of the international Art/Law Network, and a Committee Member of the Irish Network for Legal Humanities. She is the Co-Founder of the Law and Humanities research cluster at the OU and is involved in various other clusters at the OU.