Dr Sarah Joyce

University of Leeds, Well-Being, Health and Communities Pathway

Sarah is an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow working with Dr Joanne Greenhalgh in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds.

Sarah completed her PhD at the School of Architecture at the University of Sheffield and was jointly supervised by Dr Rosie Parnell and Professor Penny Curtis in the School of Nursing and Midwifery. She is a ARB-registered architect (most recently working at www.nichedesignarchitects.com), and previously an NCT antenatal educator and course co-leader (lead on research module) for the interior design and architecture degree at Sheffield Hallam University.

Sarah trained as an architect at the Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) gaining distinctions for her RIBA Part III (qualification for statutory registration) and RIBA Part II (Masters degree). She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The birth of her own children and her experiences of maternity care and various birth venues inspired her to also train with the NCT as an antenatal educator. She is a Parent Representative for the Leeds Maternity Voices Partnership (www.mvpleeds.com) and has undertaken various voluntary roles as an NHS maternity service user representative on local MSLCs and auditing midwifery care for the Local Supervisory Authority. With local NHS Trusts, she has completed audits of facilities using the NCT Better Births Audit Toolkit and secured funding from the 2012-13 Department of Health Capital Fund for improving birthing environments in her support of local maternity services.

As a researcher, she finds birth spaces fascinating as the intersection between architecture, women’s experience and maternity care. She takes Franck & Lepori’s ‘attitude’ that people are ‘the very reasons for architecture to exist at all’ (2000, p. 5) and seeks to understand architectural space for labour and birth through lived experience and social interaction; as a uniquely human experience. Her work is not a disinterested act of scholarship, and she is active in the hope of engaging in scholarly debate and evidence-based practices to facilitate better birthing experiences for all women.

Research interests: Childbirth; woman-centred maternity care; humanising architecture; interior architecture; lived experience; critical spatial practices; qualitative visual research methods.