Dr. Jane Pilcher enjoys an impactful research career at NTU

Dr. Jane Pilcher enjoys an impactful research career at NTU

 February 16, 2023

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Women at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) are doing high-visibility and impactful research that is often covered by leading media outlets.

Meet Dr. Jane Pilcher, an Associate Professor of Sociology in the School of Social Sciences. Jane is an expert in personal naming practices and has featured on both UK radio and television, including BBC Radio 4, Woman's Hour, and BBC One's The One Show.

Part of Jane's fascinating research explores celebrity and cultural influences on baby names, and she often shares her insights to educate others.

"Baby names go in and out of fashion more often nowadays than before because choosing baby names is a matter of taste now. It used to be a matter of tradition. Some people want to express their taste, their identities, through the choices of the names they make for their children," says Jane.

"We end up with the same name for babies when we're trying to be different, because we're all subject to the same cultural influences, the same TV shows, the same movies, the same pop singers, and so on. So these can impact upon the pool of baby names in circulation and encourage parents to choose those names. So we're thinking we're being different, distinctive, but we're actually making the same set of choices as other people," adds Jane.

Founder of Gender Research Group

Jane is the founder and leader of the School of Social Sciences Gender Research Group, bringing together around 70 academics from across the social sciences. Jane also delivers research informed teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Starting her academic career

Jane began her academic career as a researcher and tutorial assistant at Cardiff University. Next came the University of Leicester, where Jane progressed from Lecturer to Associate Professor despite choosing, for work-life balance reasons, to work part-time for many years.

In 2015, Jane was awarded a Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. Jane moved to Nottingham Trent University as Associate Professor of Sociology in the School of Social Sciences in 2019.

Primary research interests

Jane's primary research interests are the sociology of names and naming, gender (identities, relationships and inequalities), and age, ageing and the life course. These three, often intersecting, fields of interest have led to funded research and/or published work on a range of topics.

Jane is an expert in personal naming practices, in terms of identities and bodies, gendered forenames, and also family surname choices in the context of greater diversity and flexibility in contemporary gender identities and family relationships.

Forge an exciting research career at NTU

Courage, creativity and collaboration – these are the foundations of NTU's research.

The university's brave approach to research is opening the door to bright new ideas and endless possibilities. 

Join talented researchers like Jane by applying for latest jobs at NTU.


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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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