Dr Levell is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Gender Violence at the University of Bristol and part of the Gender and Violence Research Centre. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Previously she has taught at the University of Southampton and Bournemouth University. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Gender-Based Violence and a board member of Working with Perpetrators Europe (WWP-EN). Dr Levell supervises several PhD candidates and is open to being approached by prospective students.
Dr Levell’s research focuses on gender; gender-based violence, in particular domestic violence, as well as gender theory including studies of masculinities. Research interests include on-road and gang subcultures, Connell’s masculinity theory and analytic frame, music elicitation, narrative methods, and feminist praxis. Dr Levell’s work has often centred on the intersection between masculinity, vulnerability, and violence. She uses music elicitation as a research tool and strongly advocates for the use of music as a way to communicate, co-produce research, and engage with marginalised groups.
At present, Dr Levell is the Principle Investigator for the UK arm of an international study into professional capacity building and early intervention domestic violence perpetrator interventions (2020-2022). She is leading a team of five academics at Bournemouth University across the Depts of Criminology, Dept of Social Work, and Dept of Psychology. They coordinated international fieldwork through focus groups with practitioners, interviews with perpetrators, and a victim survey. This has been funded by the European Commission and involves partners in UK, Greece, Italy, Romania, and Cyprus.
Dr Levell is also the lead Criminologist in an international project in Albania funded by the UK Home Office. She is leading a team using music elicitation as both a listening and intervention tool for young men at risk of involvement in serious and organised crime (SOC).
Dr Levell conducted doctoral research at The Open University. She carried out a narrative study looking at young men who have experienced domestic abuse in childhood and been involved with life on-road/in gangs, using music as an elicitation tool (Desert island discs style) to interview them about their life stories. She is interested in masculinities (and intersecting issues of race and class) and how men and boys survive and cope with violence and abuse.
Dr Levell is a Gender Studies specialist and has studied and worked in the field of gender-based violence for her entire career. She spent the summer of 2019 as a visiting lecturer in Gender Studies at the University of Prishtina, Kosovo. She has an MA(Hons) in Gender Studies and Anthropology from the University of Aberdeen (2005-2009). One year of this degree was studied at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, through a “Scholarship for Excellence” from the British Council. This enabled both extensive travelling and the chance to focus on international gender issues. She later studied for a Master’s degree in Gender Studies at the London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) (2010-2012).
Dr Levell has a substantial amount of front-line work experience supporting survivors of gender-based violence and abuse. For several years she worked on projects supporting sex workers/ women involved in prostitution in both a harm minimization project and a court diversion scheme. She also worked in a refuge for women and children fleeing domestic abuse, as well as a rape crisis centre. Most recently she held a post coordinating the strategic partnership around domestic violence, children and health in West London. She was also a trustee for her local Women’s Aid service for two years.
Dr Levell’s research practice (and feminist praxis) is informed by her front-line work experience with vulnerable and marginalised groups.
Underlying this professional and academic work is her experience of living with domestic violence and abuse in childhood, which has inspired Dr Levell’s professional journey. She is passionate about making a positive impact in the lives of children who have also gone through this experience and was a finalist for a Women’s Aid/Marie Claire/Avon “Empowering Women” Award 2013 in the category of ‘child survivor of the year‘. This was in recognition of her work towards supporting victims of gender-based violence.