Katherine Collins

Staff details

PositionPostdoctoral Researcher
Department Sociology
Email k.collins (
Katherine Collins

Katherine is a Postdoctoral Researcher on BrExpats: freedom of movement, citizenship and Brexit in the Lives of Britons resident in the EU27. BrExpats is an innovative sociological study that questions what Brexit means for Britons resident in other European Union member states. Woking closely with Britons living across the EU27, It keeps a finger on the pulse of how they experience Brexit and its impacts on their lives as it unfolds.


Research Interests

Katherine researches the creative and critical practices involved in the writing of obscure and marginalised lives: issues like the politics and poetics of life-writing, testimonial cultures and witnessing, and autobiographies of resistance. She has a particular focus on methodological innovation, for instance a programme of research into participatory writing, with an exploratory workshop funded by TORCH Oxford, to explore the ways in which the principles and practices of participatory research might be applied to the making of a text, and what this approach have to teach us about the sorts of creative, aesthetic, and scholarly standards to which we can aspire.

Drawing upon literature from participatory research, international development and activist scholarship, her doctoral research at UWE Bristol – an 18-month ‘co-created’ project that sought to reduce risky drinking in two deprived neighbourhoods –developed the idea that autoethnographic writing can be a method for analysing participatory and action research projects; and explored the relationship between identity, social inequality and social activism via evocative writing as ‘the very possibility of change’ (Cixous, 1976, p. 879).

She is a Visiting Scholar at the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing, where she co-ordinates the Life-Writing as Inquiry research strand, and is undertaking a prosopographical survey of British expatriate communities in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, funded by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The work seeks to draw temporal and spatial connections, and to place British expats in an historical and social context. She will focus particularly on how living abroad may have influenced expats’ creative work and its subsequent reception in Britain. She will visit The Expatriate Archive Centre in The Hague, which carries a collection of life writings, photos, letters, digital material and secondary sources from the late 19th century to the present day, created from donations by expatriates and their families. This project will provide historical and cultural context to the insights into contemporary British expats developed through the BrExpats project at Goldsmiths.