Dr. Nina Held

School of Health and Society

Photo of Dr. Nina Held

Contact Details

Current positions

Lecturer in Social Policy


Nina joined the University of Salford in 2021 as a Lecturer in Social Policy. Before coming to Salford, she was a Lecturer in Sociology as well as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Law at the University of Sussex. In that role, she was leading the German case study of the ERC-funded project SOGICA - Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Claims of Asylum (2016-2020). SOGICA was a (mainly) qualitative study exploring LGBTIQ+ refugees’ legal and social experiences in Europe.

Nina obtained her PhD in Women’s Studies at the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies at Lancaster University. Her study Racialised Lesbian Spaces (2011) explored the intersections of sexuality, ‘race’ and space in the context of night-time leisure spaces for women and was based on ethnographic research conducted in Manchester’s Gay Village. After finishing her PhD thesis, Nina worked in different voluntary organisations in Manchester. She was the Development Worker at Trafford Rape Crisis for two years and the Centre Co-ordinator at Freedom from Torture North West for five years. For seven years, she was the chair and a volunteer for the Lesbian Immigration Support Group. She also worked as an Associate Lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN).

Nina is an intersectional feminist – she is keen to explore how we can think of gender as always being intertwined with other social categories such as ‘race’, sexuality, (dis)ability, class, religion and ‘refugeeness’.


Nina has taught undergraduate and postgraduate students at various Universities in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, where she has learned different approaches to teaching and best practice to enhance the student experience, remove barriers to study and facilitate learning. Adapting an intersectional and interdisciplinary approach and drawing on her research and work experience in the voluntary sector, Nina is keen to support students in their journey to become critical Social Scientists.

At Salford, she currently teaches on the modules:

  • Research Problems and Methods: Qualitatively better
  • Studying Social Policy
  • Sociology: Theories & Concepts
  • Young People & Social Policy

Research Interests

Nina’s research interests are situated within the fields of migration and human rights, feminist and queer studies, critical ‘race’ and whiteness studies and sexual and emotional geographies. They include:

  • Intersectionality
  • Sexuality
  • LGBTIQ+ Asylum
  • In/exclusionary practices in Queer Spaces
  • Sexuality, ‘race’ and space
  • Emotions and space
  • Research methods
  • Human Rights
  • Migration

For a recent book, see the co-authored open access monograph Queering Asylum in Europe, which offers a theoretically and empirically-grounded analysis of the legal and social experiences of people claiming international protection in Europe on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI). Her most cited article ‘Comfortable and safe spaces? Gender, sexuality and ‘race’ in night-time leisure spaces’ draws on her ethnographic PhD research Racialised Lesbian Spaces: a Mancunian ethnography (Lancaster University, 2011), which explored the role of ‘race’ in the construction of lesbian bodies and spaces and how sexuality, ‘race’ and space work together in shaping subjectivities.

Qualifications and Memberships

  • PhD Women’s Studies (Lancaster University)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (Lancaster University)
  • Diplom Sociology (equivalent to BA + MA Sociology), Frankfurt University, Germany
  • MA Research Training in Women’s Studies (Lancaster University)
  • Social Policy Association
  • ATGENDER, European Association for Gender Research, Education and Documentation
  • Socio-Legal Studies Association
  • European Sociological Association