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Photo of Christos Varvantakis

Christos Varvantakis

Research fellow
c.varvantakis (@gold.ac.uk)

Christos is an anthropologist currently working as the research fellow for the Connectors Study (Goldsmiths/ ERC) in Athens, an international longitudinal ethnography which studies the relation between childhood and public life.

Christos is an anthropologist currently working as the research fellow for the Connectors Study (Goldsmiths/ ERC) in Athens, an international longitudinal ethnography which studies the relation between childhood and public life, with a particular interest on how an orientation towards social action emerges in middle childhood, and how does it look like (more at: connectorsstudy.com). 

His research focuses on the intersections of childhood and public life, politics and urban environments, as well as on visual and multimodal research methodologies. Christos completed his PhD at the Freie Universität in Berlin (2014), having previously trained as a sociologist (University of Crete) and visual anthropologist (Goldsmiths College).

Christos has undertaken research in Germany, South India and Greece, and has previously worked as a research associate in the University of Crete and as a visiting scholar in the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.  He has published papers on children and youth, politics and activism, on visual research methods and theory, and on the politics of urban public space.

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Katherine Collins

Postdoctoral researcher
k.collins (@gold.ac.uk)

Katherine is a Postdoctoral Researcher on BrExpats: freedom of movement, citizenship and Brexit in the Lives of Britons resident in the EU27.

BrExpats: freedom of movement, citizenship and Brexit in the Lives of Britons resident in the EU27 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.

Photo of Fay Dennis

Fay Dennis

Wellcome Research Fellow
f.dennis (@gold.ac.uk)+44 (0)20 7919 7733

Fay Dennis is a Wellcome Research Fellow in Social Science and Bioethics in the Department of Sociology (mentored by Professor Marsha Rosengarten and Dr Rebecca Coleman). Her research explores the increase in drug-related deaths in the UK through an ethnographic method of body mapping.

Fay was previously a Mildred Blaxter Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department, funded by the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness. During this time, she worked on disseminating her PhD research (undertaken at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine), which explored injecting drug use experiences and practices, with a particular interest in pleasure as a neglected topic in drug research and policy. She has also worked as a researcher at King’s College London on a national project investigating the role of substance use in intimate partner violence. 

Research interests

Her research interests include sociological theories of the body, Science and Technology Studies, substance use, and ‘inventive’ research methods.

Fay has published articles in Critical Public Health, Contemporary Drug Problems, International Journal of Drug Policy, Journal of Media and Culture, and co-edited a themed collection on 'Drugged Pleasures' for the International Journal of Drug Policy. She currently has a book under contract at Routledge with the provisional title: ‘Injecting bodies in more-than-human worlds’.

Fay is on the editorial board at the International Journal of Drug Policy, a co-convenor of the BSA New Materialisms Study Group, and a member of the Centre for Invention and Social Process.

See Fay's research outputs on Goldsmiths Research Online.

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Ella Harris

Postdoctoral Researcher
e.harris (@gold.ac.uk)

Ella is a postdoctoral researcher currently working on a project called “Re-imagining Crisis: Pop-up Cultures and Precarious Lives in Austerity London”

The project explores how precarious ways of living and working are reimagined positively through the discourses, logics and aesthetics of pop-up culture. 

Prior to this, Ella worked as a research assistant, in the Geography Department at Royal Holloway University, on a collaborative project on pop-up social housing. She completed a PhD in Cultural Geography at Royal Holloway University in 2017, having previously taken an MA in Cultural Geography (Royal Holloway) and BA in English Language and Literature (Oxford University).

Ella’s research focuses on urban spatiotemporality and the affective dimensions of precarity. She is particularly interested in “compensatory” ways of living in cities in the current climate of recession and austerity. Ella also works with creative digital methods and her PhD project experimented with the methodological values of interactive documentary (i-Docs) for exploring urban space-time and its politics.

Ella has published widely on subjects including the cultural geographies of precarity, pop-up housing, the housing crisis as a structure of feeling, the spatiotemporal logics of commercial pop-up culture, immersive cinema, precarious labour and container architectures, and interactive documentary.

See Ella's research outputs on Goldsmiths Research Online.

Photo of Monk


Research Fellow
m.motamedi-fraser (@gold.ac.uk)

Monk is a black Labrador. He has accompanied Mariam Motamedi-Fraser to Goldsmiths since September 2015, when he was seven months old.

Monk is a black Labrador. He has accompanied Mariam Motamedi-Fraser to Goldsmiths since September 2015, when he was seven months old. He comes to staff and student meetings, and to the lectures and seminars on Mariam's third year option module, Thinking Animals, and on her MA option, Animals in Theory and Practice. Monk's role is to help sensitise both Mariam and students to the lessons that animals can teach, even – or perhaps especially – in unusual contexts (Oliver, 2009, Animal Lessons).

Monk has participated in many training sessions at The Dog Hub, where Mariam is a volunteer apprentice. Like most Labradors, who were originally bred for hunting and fishing, and who are hard-working and companionable, Monk enjoys the energy and shared focus required for training. He loves to 'work' for a ball, and any game that involves his sniff will have his full attention. Compared to humans, who have six million olfactory receptor cells in their noses, dogs have between two hundred million and one billion (depending on breed). They also have more than eight hundred different kinds of receptors. In celebration of this glorious nose, Monk and Mariam are currently learning about scent work, trailing and tracking. 

Given that he is virtually waterproof (webbed toes, rudder tail, double-coat), Monk has a curious dislike of rain.


Photo of Emily Nicholls

Emily Nicholls

e.nicholls (@gold.ac.uk)+44 (0)20 7919 7733

Emily Nicholls is a Postdoctoral Researcher on ‘Disentangling European HIV/AIDS Policies: Activism, Citizenship and Health’ (EUROPACH). The Project is funded by Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) under the auspice of a collaborative network of universities in the UK (Goldsmiths, University of London), Germany (Humboldt University), Poland (Jagiellonian University) and Switzerland (University of Basel). It seeks to explore the “uses of the past” in HIV policy and activism.

Emily’s PhD in Visual Sociology was awarded in 2017 and supervised by Marsha Rosengarten and Monica Greco. Her thesis was entitled: The Making of an AIDS archive: an account of expertise, inter/disciplinarity, and the process of researching and considered the various forms of expertise employed and fostered in the course of creating an archive of the UK HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Photo of Karen O’Reilly

Karen O’Reilly

k.o’reilly (@gold.ac.uk)

Karen is Professorial Research Fellow, working with Dr Michaela Benson, on the project BrExpats: freedom of movement, citizenship and Brexit in the lives of Britons resident in the European Union funded by the UK in a Changing EU.

This innovative sociological study questions what Brexit means for Britons resident in other European Union member states. Working closely with Britons living across the EU27, employing diverse ‘live’ methods, it keeps a finger on the pulse of how they experience Brexit and its impacts on their lives as it unfolds.

Karen is also Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Loughborough University and a freelance qualitative research trainer. Although her first job, at Essex University, was as Assistant Academic Advisor to the ESRC/ONS review of social classifications – designing the NS-SEC, Karen has spent most of her career living amongst and learning from British people who move abroad in search of a better way of life. Sociologically this has informed an interest in a broad range of themes, including: ethnicity, identity and community; nations and nationalism; home and belonging; social exclusion; the informal economy; tourism-related migration; and friends and networks. The ESRC has funded her research several times and the findings have been published in a selection of books and papers broadly related to migration. The research has also generated considerable media interest and has featured on BBC’s Real Story, Radio 4’s Thinking Allowed, and mainstream newspaper articles in the UK and Spain. Karen is author of:  International Migration and Social Theory (2012); Ethnographic Methods (2012); Key Concepts in Ethnography (2009); Lifestyle Migration (edited volume, 2009); and The British on the Costa del Sol (2000). She has recently completed a book on elite migration to Panama and Malaysia (with Michaela Benson), and is working in a third edition of Ethnographic Methods. Karen has recently pioneered the use of practice stories for migration research.

In addition to her ongoing research and providing qualitative and ethnographic research methods training, Karen is currently an active member of three International Advisory Boards.

NCCR-Onthemove. http://nccr-onthemove.ch/about-us/ which aims to enhance the understanding of contemporary migration patterns and to establish an innovative and competitive field of research on migration and mobility in Switzerland.

GLARUS: Global Labour in Rural Societies (GLARUS) project. Funded by the Norwegian Research Council, 2017 – 2021. Based in Norway, the project aims to explore how contemporary global flows of low-skilled and manual labour transform the social fabric of non-urban regions in Western society. 

The Construction of Europe in foreign residents’ media in the South of Spain and Portugal. Funded by Spanish Government and hosted by the University of Malaga.

See Karen's research outputs on Goldsmiths Research Online.

Photo of Clare J. Prater

Clare J. Prater

Project Coordinator
c.j.prater (@gold.ac.uk)

Clare is the Project Coordinator for the ERC funded Connectors Study.

Clare is the Project Coordinator for the ERC funded Connectors Study.

Photo of John Lea

John Lea

Visiting Professor
j.lea (@gold.ac.uk)

John Lea is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Sociology

John has a distinguished record in the research and teaching of criminology, including such topics as organised crime, terrorism, war, criminal justice, and the history of crime and punishment. He spent many years at Middlesex University where, during the mid 1980s together with Jock Young and others, he developed what came to be known as 'left realist' criminology. The main output of that period 'What Is To Be Done About Law and Order' (Penguin 1984) was a much discussed text across both the academic and policy-making fields in criminal justice and crime control. Since retiring from Middlesex in 2005 he has held a number of honorary and visiting posts, at Brighton, Leicester and Roehampton Universities and now at Goldsmiths.

His work covers a number of fields related to criminology. He continued to develop the 'left realist' perspective in criminology in 'Crime and Modernity' (Sage 2002) and his most recent output has focused on the interface between crime and warfare and the role of the private sector ('War, Criminal Justice and the Rebirth of Privatisation' in Sandra Walklate & Ross McGarry eds. The Palgrave Handbook of Criminology and War. Palgrave 2017)

In 2015 John was awarded the British Society of Criminology Outstanding Achievement Award