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.
Dr Levell has experience working internationally on issues of gender equality, gender-based violence, and youth adversity and crime. In 2020-2022 she led the UK arm of a European Commission funded project into domestic violence perpetrator interventions with partners in Greece, Cyprus, Italy, and Romania. This work led to her nomination to the Board of Working With Perpetrators Europe (WWPEN), which is an umbrella organisation for perpetrator work with members from 32 European countries. From 2021-2023 Dr Levell was part of a large-scale project (with Bournemouth University and other partners) in a funded project in Albania looking at ‘reconnecting Albanian youth and society’. She led a research team that used music elicitation as a tool to interview men in prison and on probation. She then designed and delivered training on music elicitation as an intervention tool for professionals working with marginalised young people in Albania. Due to this international development experience, she was selected as a UN Women UK delegate in 2023 for the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67).
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.