Law, Poetry & Feminism

In this episode, Professor Aoife O’Donoghue (QUB School of Law) and Dr Ruth Houghton (Newcastle University Law School) interview poet Julie Morrissy about Julie’s career as a poet. They explore how law influences and resonates in Julie’s poetry, the way that legal training shapes thinking and writing, and the notion of law as a performance. Aoife, Julie and Ruth also discuss the writing and language of constitutions and manifestos, with particular focus on women’s voices and the Irish feminist tradition.


Julie Morrissy is an Irish poet, academic, activist, and a graduate of UCD Law. From 2021-22, she was the first Poet-in-Residence at the National Library of Ireland. Her award-winning project “Certain Individual Women” uses poetry to examine gender discrimination in Irish legislation and the Bunreacht (the 1937 Constitution). Her awards include the National Endowment for the Humanities, the MAKE Theatre Award, and the Arts Council of Ireland ‘Next Generation’ Award. Morrissy’s poetry has been exhibited in the TULCA Festival of Visual Arts, Project Arts Centre, Dublin, and acquired for the Ireland State Art Collection. Her debut collection Where, the Mile End was published in 2019 by tall-lighthouse (UK) and Book*hug (Canada). Her website is

Dr Ruth Houghton is a Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University Law School. Throughout her research in global constitutionalism and international law, Ruth uses feminist methodologies and constitutional and political theory to challenge the disciplinary assumptions on democracy and constituent power. Ruth’s most recent work utilises law and humanities methodologies, including work on speculative fiction, utopias and feminist manifestos, as well as theatre productions to understand (re)constructions of constitutional moments and provide novel re-imaginings of constituent power.