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How can Hairdressers Help? Navigating Emotions in the Salon

An online seminar hosted by The University of Western Australia


Image: Marguerite Putsage (1868–1946), Hairdresser, Wikimedia Commons 

Date: 10 November 2021
Time: 10:00am AWST / 12:30pm ACDT/ 1:00pm AEDT
Venue: Online via Zoom. Please email emotions@uwa.edu.au for connection details. 
Enquiries: emotions@uwa.edu.au

A growing body of research suggests that hair and beauty work goes beyond the purely aesthetic, and that the salon is an intimate space where clients often disclose serious and deeply emotional issues. This seminar will consist of two short presentations, from Stacey Mary Page (The University of Adelaide) and Dr Hannah McCann (The University of Melbourne) about their respective work in this space. Page will look at the range of disclosures that hairdressers encounter, from family violence to mental health issues. McCann will discuss a specific program being implemented in Victoria to train salon workers to respond to family violence, and look at what other training may be needed in this space. Together these talks will look at the issue of emotions in the salon, and how this challenges us to think culturally about the role of the hair and beauty worker in new ways.


Una McIlvenna (The University of Melbourne)


Stacey Mary Page is currently working on her PhD at The University of Adelaide's School of Psychology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. Her published research is based on hairdressers providing informal care to their clientele via social support. Investigating the topics clients tell their hairdresser, including disclosures of distressing content about domestic violence and mental health problems. This research also gives insight into how hairdressers respond to client disclosures and how hairdressers feel about being social supports for their clients. Stacey's PhD research aims to explore hairdresser, barber and client perspectives on social support; including benefits of wellbeing and risks of emotional burnout. Stacey would like to advocate and create training for hairdressers to effectively deal with the role of supporting clients safely and ethically. Stacey is also a qualified hairdresser and make-up artist, providing a unique insider perspective to research in this area.

Dr Hannah McCann is a Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at The University of Melbourne. Her research in critical femininity studies explores feminist discourse on femininity, queer femme LGBTQ+ communities, beauty culture, and queer fangirls. She has published in various journals including European Journal of Women’s Studies, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Her monograph Queering Femininity: Sexuality, Feminism and the Politics of Presentation was published with Routledge in 2018, and her co-authored textbook Queer Theory Now: From Foundations to Futures with Red Globe Press in 2020. She is currently working on a DECRA project exploring the relationship between salon workers and their clients, and the implications that the emotional side of salon work has for both the industry and for conceptualising beauty within feminist theory.


Each speaker will give a short presentation (no more than 10 minutes), followed by group discussion.