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Queer Conceptions - rainbow eggs

Queer Conceptions

Project leads: Dr Francesca Gaccioli (O&G) and Dr Geoffrey Maguire (MMLL)

Funding round: 2019–2020

Queer Conceptions is an interdisciplinary project that draws together researchers working on reproduction and reproductive rights from the disciplines of cultural studies, sociology, politics and the biological sciences. Through a number of film screenings, roundtables and invited speakers, the project offers a series of public engagement events that address pressing socio-political questions surrounding conception and parenthood. The project as a whole will complement the initiatives of a number of research centres across the University and will engage with academics and practitioners from, among others, ReproSoc, the LGBT+ Staff Network and the University’s newly founded lgbtQ+@Cam network. Through a focus on ‘queer’ conceptions, this project will draw a rigorously scientific approach to reproduction into dialogue with cultural and societal expressions of 21st century parenthood. In doing so, we ask how critical perspectives on conception from across and between disciplines may provide the answers – and, in some cases, the questions – that have yet to be found.


 Francesca Gaccioli is a Research Associate in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Her research focus is on the alterations of placental development and function associated with pregnancy complications, such as fetal growth restriction and pre-eclampsia. 




Geoffrey Maguire is the Lorna Close Lecturer in Spanish at Murray Edwards College and a College Lecturer and Director of Studies at Peterhouse. He specialises in contemporary Latin American film, literature and visual art, with particular interests in cultural memory, queer representation, and sexuality and gender. 




We are delighted that the Cambridge SRI has chosen to fund Queer Conceptions. The interdisciplinary ambition of the SRI makes it the perfect home for this research network, which will engage with colleagues across the University working on reproduction and reproductive rights. Our primary objective is to create a forum in which a range of contemporary issues - from same-sex adoption to trans pregnancy, and from women’s rights activism to biological advances in the reproductive sciences - can be discussed in a way that nurtures cross-disciplinary and mutually beneficial critical debate. We look forward to working with researchers in cultural studies, sociology, politics and the medical sciences to ask how contemporary critical approaches to conception might foster more diverse and inclusive understandings of parenthood, reproduction and the family in the 21st century.

- Francesca Gaccioli and Geoffrey Maguire