I am an interdisciplinary researcher with a background in Anthropology and Gender Studies and a focus on using Artistic and Creative Methodologies and my own artistic practices in woodworking to develop creative and participatory research approaches and methods. My objective is to use this marriage to address intersectional issues of marginalisation and support creative community activism.
I started working at the University of Edinburgh in the Binks Hub in 2021, and prior to this I worked at Goldsmiths, University of London as Senior Research Associate on the UKRI GCRF GlobalGRACE Project, which I designed with Professors Mark Johnson (Goldsmiths) and Suzanne Clisby (Coventry University). GlobalGRACE was an international collaborative project which used creative research methods—including dance, photography, creative writing, filmmaking, theatre and the visual arts—to investigate inequalities with marginalised populations in Bangladesh, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, the Philippines, and the UK.
My research focused on collaborating with Brazilian NGOs and favela communities, investigating gender equality within the context of the severe racial and socioeconomic marginalisation of the Maré favela communities of Rio de Janeiro. Working with marginalised communities we ran three Artistic Residencies with local artist co-researchers and developed two exhibitions and a dance performance. In the first of these residencies I worked with three Brazilian co-researcher/graffiti artists to research, develop and produce an exhibition of individual and collective artworks in a favela-based gallery.
My artistic work in woodworking initially began in 2018 when I started to carve wooden spoons as a hobby. I fell in love with working wood with hand tools, and currently focus on work on a small scale, concentrating on boxes, cabinets and sculptures. It was whilst working on the artistic residency in Brazil that my research and woodworking came together and, at the insistence of my artistic colleagues, I produced my first ‘true’ artwork, a flower carved from a piece of discarded construction timber entitled ‘Portrait of a Possible Man’, which was exhibited with their work and our collective installation. Through this process I learned through my hands the power and potential of using artistic and creative practices as a method to better understand the world. I found that uniting the cerebral work of my scholarship with the creative embodied work of craft generated something broader and more insightful than either could be alone. It is this recognition that now drives my work, and which I seek to explore further with others.