Current Postdoctoral Fellows

LISS DTP funds several ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowships each year. You can find out details of our current postdoctoral fellows and their research by clicking on the links below.

Dr Alicia Cour Venning
Department of Law, Queen Mary University London
Mentor: Prof Ratna Kapur

Project Title: State violence, rebel governance, and international law’s legitimisation of the criminal sovereign

Alicia is an ESRC Post-doctoral researcher at the International State Crime Initiative (ISCI), based in QMUL’s School of Law. Alicia’s research interrogates the paradox of armed opposition groups engaging with international humanitarian law, though international law generally serves sovereign interests. Alicia is exploring the ways in which international norms legitimise state violence whilst delegitimising armed and political resistance, including aspects of ‘rebel governance’, which arise directly in response to state criminality.


Dr Meredith Hawking
Institute of Population Health Sciences, Queen Mary University London
Mentor: Prof Deborah Swinglehurst

Project Title: Ethics in the everyday: exploring discursive care practices within households that include children with obesity 


Dr Hannah Schling
Geography, Queen Mary University London
Mentor: Prof Adrian Smith

Project Title: Migrant Workers and Dormitory Labour Regimes: Social Reproduction, Social Difference and Temporalities of Labour

Worker dormitories are key sites in the Czech Republic’s export-oriented electronics manufacturing sector. Housing a multinational migrant workforce from Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Vietnam and Mongolia on differentiated employment statuses, worker dormitories highlight contemporary struggles over precarious employment and exploitation, articulations of labour regimes and migration regimes, and vital conceptual and empirical questions of social reproduction. Contributing new empirical material on an under-explored labour regime, my doctoral research centred ethnographic research in workers dormitories in two Czech industrial cities, in turn developing key insights in feminist economic and labour geography. The ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship will be used to publish and disseminate my PhD research in three journal articles and a manuscript project proposal; facilitate scholarly debate and exchange through two organised workshops; and undertake social impact activities with migrant and worker organisations in the Czech Republic.


Dr Angela Sherwood
Department of Law, Queen Mary University London
Mentor: Prof Neve Gordon

Project Title: Understanding Humanitarian Crime and Deviance in Global Chains of Harm Production


Dr Katherine Stansfeld
Geography, Queen Mary University London
Mentor: Dr Regan Koch

Project Title: Living together in the super-diverse city: mapping vernacular geographies and urban relational space

My research uses a creative and critical ethnographic approach to investigate urban public space, everyday geographies and cultural co-existence in super-diverse neighbourhoods of north-east London. My research sits at the intersection of cultural geography, urban studies and creative practice. It uses cartographic, audio-visual and participatory practice to examine the complex relations and multiple dimensions of urban space and its role in shaping socialities, identities and belonging.

Research project website:

Personal website:


Dr Sarah Steadman
School of Education, Communication and Society, King’s College London
Mentor: Prof Chris Harrison

Project Title: Practices and Partnerships: Examining teacher learning and professional development in initial teacher education programmes

Situated in the complex landscape of initial teacher education provision in England, this research is concerned with teacher learning and professional development. Utilising a conceptual framework addressing issues of conflict, transition and agency, the project addresses the need for focused support for trainees, teacher educators and teachers.

The project will involve work with CITED (Centre for Innovation in Teacher Education and Development), a joint partnership between King’s College London and Teachers College, Columbia University as we work together to provide opportunities for collaboration and development for teacher educators internationally.


Dr Marta Wojciechowska
Department of Political Economy, King’s College London
Mentor: Dr Rod Dacombe

Project Title: Coping with Complexity and Urban Inequality: Dilemmas of Democratic Mega-city Governance

The project investigates possible strategies of democratic deliberative and participatory governance in modern megacities. It looks at a case study of London and identifies concrete action that urban stakeholders can take, even in conditions of constrained powers, to make London more democratic and more equal.



Dr Pooya Ghoddousi
Geography, Queen Mary University London
Mentor: Dr Sam Halvorsen

Project Title: Dimorphic diasporas: Assembling identity, community belonging, and collective action among Iranians in London

This research uses the concept of nomadism to go beyond socially or geographically bounded notions of diaspora, citizenship, or local communities that abound in urban and migration studies. An ethnographic study of everyday practices and routines in the lives of my interlocutors (snowballing from my Iranian networks in London) will map the micropolitics of how they build and maintain ties with their human-non-human environments as well as trace their mobile trajectories. The resulting ‘cartographies’ show the socio-material (dis)organisations of these transnational assemblages using insights from theories and historical examples of nomadism – especially the dynamic nomad/sedentary mixes found in ‘dimorphic societies’. In addition to an epistemic contribution to the study of these emerging modes-of-being-in-the-world, this study traces the lines of flight and novel becomings of these transnational assemblages with the phronetic hope of increasing the reflexive agency of the nomadic subjects to navigate their unpredictable lives and negotiate their instances of marginality.


Dr Caroline Spence
School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University London
Mentor: Dr Magda Osman

Project Title: Morality and the animal mind: The role of sentience in ethical decision making

The possession of specific mental faculties has long been considered a key factor in extending moral consideration to other beings, with an animal’s capacity for suffering widely believed to create ethical obligations in terms of their subsequent treatment and safeguarding of welfare. My research attempts to unpick the initial stages of this ‘ethical contract’ by exploring whether individual’s willingly attribute mental capacities to a range of nonhuman animals, and if so, what is the nature of those attributions? In addition to understanding these fundamental parameters in our ascriptions of mindedness to others, my work also investigates a range of associated questions such as are beliefs about animal mentality held by members of the public overly anthropomorphic? What factors influence the manner in which we ascribe mentality to animals? Is the ascription of specified mental abilities linked to views on the ethical use of animals for human benefit, or notions of animal welfare? And are the research methods we use to capture an individual’s beliefs surrounding the mental lives of animals fit for purpose? The findings of the research are expected to be relevant to a wide range of stakeholders including fellow scientists, policy officials, charitable organisations, industry bodies, consumer groups, and the general public.


Dr Diana Varaden
School of Public Health, Imperial College London
Mentor: Prof Frank J. Kelly

Project Title: Communicating air pollution as a health risk – Towards a participatory approach

Diana’s interdisciplinary research aims at bridging natural science, social and health disciplines and identifying the benefits of involving lay individuals in the research process. In the context of air pollution, her research presents an important contribution to understand and identify methods that allow us to ensure that complex risks are accurately assessed, and subsequently communicated to lay members of the public in an effective and engaging way.

Dr Nuala Burgess
Education, Communication & Society, King’s College London
Mentor: Dr Ayo Mansaray
Project Title: Improving support for sixth form students’ post-school choice making and transitions into further study and work 

Dr Thomas Fröhlich
War Studies, King’s College London
Mentor: Dr Vinicius Mariano de Carvalho
Project Title: Brazil’s international ethanol strategy and the lessons for the UK

Dr Anne-Mari Greenfield
Women & Children’s Health, King’s College London
Mentor: Prof Jane Sandall
Project Title: Women’s choices about pregnancy and birth, subsequent to a traumatic birth

Dr Rosemary Hall
Linguistics, Queen Mary University London
Mentor: Prof Erez Levon
Project Title: Race, belonging and linguistic identity in the ‘offshore’ anglophone world

Dr Karl Pike
Politics and International Relations, Queen Mary University London
Mentor: Prof Tim Bale
Project Title: The party has a life of its own: Labour’s ethos and modernisation, 1983-1997

Dr Tessa Roberts
London Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London
Mentor: Prof Craig Morgan
Project Title: Mental health beyond the clinic: Using geographic methods to investigate the influence of social context on mental health and health behaviours in India

Dr Güneş Tavmen
Digital Humanities, King’s College London
Mentor: Dr Mercedes Bunz
Project Title: Implications of ‘Data as Infrastructure’: Governance and Citizenship in Smart Urbanism

Dr Gustav Cederlof
Department of Geography, King’s College London

Project Title: Energy Revolution: The Political Ecology of Energy Use in Socialist Cuba

My research contributes to an interdisciplinary understanding of energy and society, with regional expertise in Cuban and Latin American affairs. In the project Energy Revolution, I examine how different forms of energy and energy infrastructure were seen to serve political, social, and economic interests in the Cuban Revolution to enable the wider decolonial, state-socialist project. I also explore how Cuba’s heavily oil-dependent economy shaped experiences of everyday energy use and changed social relations in the socialist state in the context of enforced low-carbon development. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba lost more than 85 percent of its oil supplies, and the country’s historical experience provides unique insight to the socio-ecological complexity of energy transitions. I develop my work in relation to the research field political ecology. Political ecology links geography, anthropology, and development studies to investigate how the interaction between humans and nature is shaped by and shapes social and political relations.

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Dr Amy Clarke
School of Geography, Queen Mary University London

Project Title: Urban roots and national belonging: hierarchies and scales of belonging in London


Dr Azeezat Johnson
School of Geography, Queen Mary University London

Project Title: The clothing practices of Black Muslim women in Britain


Dr Hanna Ketola
Department of War Studies, King’s College London

Project Title: The Politics of Women’s Agency: gender, agency and peacebuilding in Nepal


Dr Joanne Newbury
Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry, King’s College London

Project Title: Identifying social, environmental, and genetic mechanisms linking the urban environment to the emergence of psychotic phenomena during adolescence

Identifying social, environmental, and genetic mechanisms linking the urban environment to the emergence of psychotic phenomena during adolescence

Psychotic disorders are twice as common among adults raised in cities versus the countryside. Given that 70% of the world’s population will live in urban settings by 2050, it is essential that we uncover the mechanisms linking the urban environment to psychosis in order to develop preventative interventions and inform urban planning. My doctoral research demonstrated that subclinical psychotic experiences (e.g., hearing voices and extreme paranoia) are also around twice as common among children and adolescents raised in urban versus rural settings. These early experiences are a developmental risk factor for adult psychosis and are therefore a useful marker in the general population to investigate the pathways between cities and psychosis. My doctoral research further showed that neighbourhood social factors including high crime and low social cohesion explained up to 50% of the association between urban upbringing and early psychotic experiences.

However, very little is known about the potential role air pollution in psychotic experiences, despite air pollution being a major environmental health problem worldwide and especially in cities. This project will use data from a longitudinal cohort of 2,232 UK-born adolescents to explore the combined roles of air pollution and neighbourhood social factors in the emergence of psychotic experiences during adolescence. In addition, this project will use polygenic risk scores for schizophrenia to examine whether associations between urban exposures and adolescent psychotic experiences are confounded by genes.


Dr Henry Redwood
Department of War Studies, King’s College London

Project Title: The Afterlives of Genocide Archives: The Politics of the ICTR’s Archive and Knowledge Making in Rwanda


Dr Rebecca Wood
Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre, King’s College London

Project Title: The Inclusion of Autistic Children in the Curriculum and Assessment in Mainstream Schools