Dr Orla Lehane completed her Irish Research Council funded PhD ‘Mining the personal to carve a space of one’s own: a grounded theory study of grassroots countering violent extremism practitioners’ in 2018. This work is focused on those working in the area of youth violence prevention, both online and offline. The research explores the work of practitioners
across a variety of ideologies, including right wing violent extremism, violent jihadism and violent extremism associated with republicanism and loyalism in Northern Ireland, all aiming to prevent young people from being drawn into violent behaviour. Conflict and violence prevention practitioners in Ireland, Northern Ireland, the UK, the USA, Sweden and Denmark were interviewed, including former violent extremists, former gang members,
survivors of acts of violence extremism, Imams, youth workers, artists and musicians. Grounded theory was used to uncover the main concerns of these practitioners and theorise the manner in which they attempt to resolve these concerns.

Orla has an MA in International Relations from Dublin City University (2006) and a BA in European Studies (German and Italian) from Trinity College Dublin (2003).

Orla has over fifteen years of experience in the area of arts, human rights and inclusive education, having worked for Amnesty International Ireland, Front Line Defenders, the Development Education and Research Network at NUI Galway and Fighting Words.

Research Interests:

CVE; civil society; children and international relations; visual politics and representations of violence; visual messaging; popular culture/arts and international relations; futurism; qualitative methods including grounded theory, ethnography/visual ethnography, imagology and narrative analysis.


  • Lehane, Orla (2019) ‘Preface.’ Yes, We Still Drink Coffee! Stories of Women Human Rights Defenders. Fighting Words and Front Line Defenders. Read more about this anthology.
  • Lehane, Orla (2019) ‘Dealing with Frustration: A Grounded Theory Study of CVE Practitioners.’ International Journal of Conflict and Violence. DOI:
  • Lehane, Orla (2019) ‘A Journey Through Classic Grounded Theory: Exploring the Work of Grassroots Violence Prevention Practitioners.’ SAGE Research Methods Part 2. DOI:
  • Lehane, Orla; Mair, David; Lee, Saffron and Parker, Jodie. (2018) ‘Brides, Black Widows and Baby-Makers; or not: An Analysis of the Portrayal of Women in English-Language Jihadi Magazine Image Content.’ Critical Studies on Terrorism. 11(3): 505-520. DOI:
  • Conway, Maura; Jarvis, Lee; Lehane, Orla; Macdonald, Stuart; and Nouri, Lella (Eds.) (2017) Terrorists’ Use of the Internet. NATO Science for Peace and Security Series: Human and Societal Dynamics, Volume 136.
  • Breslin, Andrea & Lehane, Orla. (2015) ‘A Theatre of War – Setting the Stage for a Critical Reflection on Human Rights Violations in Armed Conflict.’ Creating Rights, [link]
  • Lehane, Orla. (2014) ‘Never Alone in Iran.’ In: Thompson, Gemma (Ed.). A Girls’ Guide to Travelling Alone: Inspiring True Tales from Solo Women Travellers.
  • Lehane, Orla (2014) ‘The Last Hijack – Animation in Documentary Filmmaking.’ [Link],
  • Lehane, Orla (2014) ‘Comics Unmasked – Art and Anarchy in the UK.’ [Link],
  • Lehane, Orla (2012) ‘Lost in Imagination: An Interview with Carlo Gébler.’ Inis Children’s Books Ireland Magazine. Summer 2012.
  • Khoo, Su-ming, Orla Lehane. (2008) ‘Globalisation and the re-imagination of research, teaching and learning in Irish Higher Education.’ Policy and Practice: A Development Education Review. Issue 7, Autumn: 18-34.
  • Gallagher, Ruth, Orla Lehane & Brian Ruane (Eds) (2007) Voice Our Concern: Film and Photography Workbook: A Human Rights Educational Resource. Amnesty International Irish Section.