The list of occupations Allison Hawn has not held might be easier to list than those she has. She held a nearly decade-long career as a social worker and domestic violence survivor advocate, spent over a decade working an a variety of private security settings, hauled fish on a deep-sea fishing vessel, managed not to fall multiple stories as the lighting technician for a concert house, and scheduled appointments for a tattoo shop. Her myriad of life experience has led her to research topics that are often on the outer edge of academic research.
Allison holds a BA in Psychology from Northwest Nazarene University, an MA in Communication with a focus on Advocacy from Arizona State University, and will be receiving her PhD in Communication later this year. Her dissertation examines the communicative practices of tattoo artists, the history of colonialism in Western tattooing practices, and the ways that tattoo artists can democratize the world of fine art. With four years of research in the field in tattoo shops across the US, years more spent combing over rare texts regarding tattoos, and over 60 hours spent in a tattoo chair herself it is an area that Allison feels quite at home in. Her work has received awards from the Institute for Social Science Research, she has presented at multiple academic and professional conferences, including the National Communication Association Conference, and she is an author across multiple books, journals, and conference works. Her hope is to show the world the beauty and skill to be found in the world of tattoos.