Robert's research combines his interests in parenthood and sexuality. He studies how people who, historically, have not been expected to have children - for example, gay people or people living with HIV - respond to cultural changes around sex and the family and how they approach advances in medicine that enable them to become parents. His work concentrates on contemporary Britain, with a particular focus on assisted reproductive technologies and sexually transmitted infections.
Robert is currently leading a research project, Men's Attitudes to Intimate Life, on views about personal and family relationships among gay and bisexual men living with HIV. In this study, supported by the Wellcome Trust and the British HIV Association, he is interviewing patients and healthcare practitioners in sexual health clinics to identify contexts in which considerations about parenthood and childlessness might be relevant in HIV care of non-heterosexual men.
At the same time, Robert is working on a book manuscript based on his recently completed doctoral research, Future Intimacies, which explores views about becoming parents and remaining childfree in a young generation of lesbians, gay men and bisexual people. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, this study sheds light on what men and women who form same-sex relationships think - and how they talk - about different ways of creating families.
Before moving to Cambridge, Robert worked as a researcher in the Centre for Sexual Health and HIV Research at University College London and in the Office for Public Management, a London-based organisation for the improvement of public services. He also conducted research for the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Germany. Robert has a BSc in Psychology (2008) and an MA in Gender Studies (2009), both from the University of Leeds.
At Cambridge, in addition to his research, Robert teaches about gender and sexuality on the Human, Social and Political Science (HSPS) Tripos, and about the social context of health and illness on the Medical and Veterinary Sciences Tripos (MVST). He also supervises dissertations on topics related to his research interests.
Forthcoming Talks and Presentations
Should healthcare practitioners discuss parenthood possibilities with HIV-positive men who have sex with men? Preliminary findings from MAIL study (poster). British HIV Association (BHIVA) Annual Conference, Liverpool, 4-7 April 2017.
The normative instability of gay parenthood: Same-sex intimacy, social change and reproductive expectations. British Sociological Association (BSA) Annual Conference, Manchester, 4 April 2017.
How simultaneous advancements in antiretroviral treatment and assisted reproduction affect gay men living with HIV. British Sociological Association (BSA) Annual Conference, Manchester, 4 April 2017.
HIV-positive gay men and reproduction: Concerns, awareness and aspirations. British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) HIV Masterclass 2017, Manchester, 16 March 2017.
Between future families and families of origin: Talking about gay parenthood across generations. In S. Pooley and K. Qureshi (eds), Parenting between generations: Transforming reproductive cultures. Berghahn Books (published in April 2016).
Repro-sexual intersections: Sperm donation, HIV prevention and the public interest in semen. Reproductive BioMedicine Online, 30(3), 211-219 (published in December 2014).