Team Members of the Fieldwork and Languages, Cultures and Societies Working Group


Team members have designed and developed the fieldwork training units in their areas of expertise delivered through the Institute for Modern Languages Research (IMLR) platform:

Prof Claire Griffiths (Chair)

Dr Kaya Davies Hayon

Dr Joe Ford

Dr Catherine Gilbert

Dr Tom Martin

Dr Chandra Morrison

Dr Naomi Wells



Professor Claire H Griffiths FRSA FRGS 

Specialisms: Francophone political, cultural and gender studies with particular reference to sub-Saharan West and central Africa.

A former director of postgraduate research in the department of Modern Languages and senior research fellow in Francophone African Studies at the WISE Institute, Hull University and subsequently Head of Modern Languages and University Chair in Area Studies at Chester University, Claire contributes to the fieldwork project as a specialist in Francophone Area Studies. Claire brings over 25 years’ experience teaching UG, PG and university summer schools in Europe, the USA, and in Francophone Africa in addition to her research on the politics of development in Francophone postcolonial contexts. Claire is currently directing four research projects among which a Global Challenges Research project on gender justice in the Francophone Sahel, an online project focusing on decolonising the discipline through open access resources, a project also supporting outreach activities with schools. She is editing a book on Francophone African futures and writing a monograph analysing critical political discourse generated by visual artists of Francophone African heritage.

Fieldwork experience:

Visits: 16 fieldwork visits ranging from 9 to 90 days

Dates:   1998-to date

Countries: Senegal (5), Morocco (6), Gabon (2), Niger/Mali (1), Tunisia (1), Egypt (1).

Fieldwork activities in Africa:

-        data collection from national and regional statistical agencies;

-        identification and collection of documentary evidence from national and regional ministries/agencies;

-        interviews with government ministers and representatives;

-        interviews with development agency workers;

-        participant observation in gendered spaces;

-        academic workshops and conference organisation;

-        university summer school teaching;

-        project development with stakeholders in museum sector;

Current fieldwork projects:

1.     Francophone Africa: beyond archives

2000-to date

A multi-media digital humanities project, launched with Nuffield Foundation and AHRC funding, supported by the Senegalese National Archives and housed at, Francophone Africa: beyond archives provides open access research and teaching materials on colonial French West Africa and postcolonial Francophone Africa with particular focus on social justice, gender equality  and education. 

2.     Imaging Dissent: Contemporary Art from Francophone Africa

2010-to date

Working alongside contemporary artists from French-speaking areas of West and Central Africa, the project explores how critical discourses of postcolonial politics articulate through art practice.

3.     Francophone Africa and the Equality Challenge: no literacy no gender justice?

2016-to date.

Why are girls and young women from the countries of the former French African colonies getting less access to literacy in the 2020s than any other population group in the world? This project, launched with UJK government Global Challenges Research Funding, examines why governments and agencies across Francophone West Africa will fail to reach the current UN global Sustainable Development Goals for gender equality and literacy targets by 2030. The project website is housed at

Contact details:;

Academic profile:


Dr Kaya Davies Hayon

Specialisms: Gender and ethnicity in contemporary Maghrebi cultures; participatory arts; film and visual cultural studies

Bio: Dr Kaya Davies Hayon is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Lincoln where she works alongside Professor Stephanie Hemelryk Donald to conduct research into migration and film, and to develop participatory arts-based creative initiatives. Prior to this, Kaya held research and teaching posts at the Universities of Nottingham, Bristol and Chester. She completed an AHRC-funded PhD in contemporary Maghrebi film at the University of Manchester in 2015 and an MA in Languages and Cultures at the same institution in 2012.

Kaya’s research focuses, broadly, on the intersections of gender, sexuality and ethnicity in contemporary Maghrebi film and visual culture. Her first monograph, Sensuous Cinema: The Body in Contemporary Maghrebi Film, was published in 2018 as part of Bloomsbury’s Thinking Cinema series. She is currently developing new research into belly dance in Maghrebi visual culture, and into Moroccan Amazigh women’s embodied knowledge production.

Alongside her research, Kaya regularly coordinates arts initiatives and events that bridge academic and public sectors. Most recently, she co-organised (with Stephanie Hemelryk Donald and Colette Griffin) a series of mixed-media events, entitled There’s No Place Like Home: Justice, Migration and the Arts, which explored the relationship between migration, detention and the arts. Kaya has also recently taken up a role as Research and Development Manager at the social action charity Belong.

Fieldwork experience: Kaya has conducted fieldwork in the Maghrebi countries of Tunisia and Morocco. Together with Tom Martin, she has recently been awarded an Emerald Interdisciplinary Research Fund Impact Award to conduct participatory arts workshops with Indigenous Amazigh women in rural Morocco that aim to understand the barriers to their political engagement.

Modes of data collection: Kaya’s research combines ethnographic, archival, visual and participatory methods.

Countries: Tunisia, Morocco

Contact details:

Lincoln profile: page:

Twitter: @KayaDaviesHayon


Dr Joseph Ford FHEA

Specialisms: Francophone North African Literature, Culture and Politics, Narratives of Conflict and Post-Conflict, Postcolonial Studies, World Literature and Translation

Bio: Joe is Lecturer in French Studies and Director of the Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory (CCM) at the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR). He leads in the promotion and facilitation UK-wide research, public engagement and research training in French Studies. He has previously taught at Durham University (2016–19), the University of Leeds (2014–15) and Université Paris-Est (2015–16). His first book, Writing the Black Decade: Conflict and Criticism in Francophone Algerian Literature (forthcoming in January 2021 with Lexington Books), is based a combination of archival and fieldwork/interview-based research carried out over several years with writers in France and Algeria.

Fieldwork experience: Three research trips to Algeria between 2014 and 2017, ranging from 7-20 days, as well as several trips to France. Joe has some recent experience of conducting interview-based research online.

Modes of data collection: Primarily interview-based, via semi-structured interviews with writers, cultural actors and critics (in person and online). Currently developing two funding proposals involving participant observation and ethnographic methods. 

Contact details:


Dr Catherine Gilbert

Specialisms: Commemoration and memorialisation in Rwanda and the diaspora; trauma and memory; postcolonial studies; sub-Saharan African literature.

Bio: Dr Catherine Gilbert is an Academic Track (NUAcT) Fellow in the School of Modern Languages at Newcastle University, having recently completed a two-year Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship at Ghent University, Belgium (2018–2020). Her current research project, ‘Genocide Commemoration in the Rwandan Diaspora’, investigates the impact of place and displacement on commemorative practices within diasporic communities. More broadly, her research interests span postcolonial African literatures and cultures, with a particular focus on cultural memory, trauma and narrative. Her first monograph, From Surviving to Living: Voice, Trauma and Witness in Rwandan Women’s Writing (Presses universitaires de la Méditerranée, 2018), which examines the published testimonies written by Rwandan women genocide survivors, received the SAGE Memory Studies Journal and Memory Studies Association Outstanding First Book Award in 2019.

Catherine obtained her AHRC-funded PhD in French and Francophone studies from the University of Nottingham in 2014. She has subsequently held postdoctoral research and teaching positions at the University of Nottingham; the School of Advanced Study, University of London; and King’s College London. From 2017 to 2018 she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Oxford co-convening the Mellon-Sawyer Seminar Series ‘Post-War: Commemoration, Reconstruction, Reconciliation’. She has recently co-edited, with Kate McLoughlin and Niall Munro, a volume developed from this series, On Commemoration: Global Reflections upon Remembering War (Peter Lang, 2020).

Fieldwork experience: Catherine conducted fieldwork in Rwanda in 2012 during her PhD and again in 2018 as part of her Marie Curie Fellowship. For her current research project, Catherine is working with Rwandan diasporic communities living in Belgium, France and the UK.

In 2015, Catherine also carried out fieldwork in Benin for the interdisciplinary project ‘Building Images: Exploring 21st century Sino-African dynamics through cultural exchange and translation’. This involved research in university and media archives, and conducting interviews with members from the political, media and cultural sectors.

Modes of data collection: Originally trained as a literary studies scholar, Catherine now adopts a range of ethnographic methods in her research. These include: semi-structured interviews with community members, writers, performers, leaders of survivor organisations, and people working in the NGO, charity and education sectors; site visits; participant observation.

Countries: Rwanda, Belgium, France, UK.

Contact details:

Newcastle profile: page:

Twitter: @CathJGilbert


Tom Martin

Senior Lecturer in photography, University of Lincoln, Lincoln School of Film and Media.

Tom is a photographer/videographer and academic, specialising in documenting humanitarian issues in Africa and Asia. Although he works with a range of organisations and donors, his interest is primarily in the people and communities he collaborates with. Tom has undertaken commissions for a range of organisations from ECHO, UNICEF and the WFP to smaller peace-building and community development focused organisations. 

Tom has over 10 years experience working in the field including: Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Mali, Togo, DRC, Kenya, South Africa, China & Bangladesh.

He has created tourism marketing materials for developing countries and filed news pictures for the Associated Press and European Press Photographers’ Association. He is a member of the East African Foreign Correspondents Association. Recent exhibitions include the ‘Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year Award’, and the ‘In Conflict - Visible White Photo Prize’ in Florence, Italy. Publications range from The Economist and The Independent to Italian Vogue and the Lancet.

Tom has conducted extensive work as a participatory photography practitioner in post-conflict settings (including Rwanda, South Sudan, Bangladesh and Burundi). Tom has worked with marginalised groups and amassed specialist expertise in developing creative processes that address the roots of societal conflict. He has conducted PAR research into participatory photography techniques in Rwanda. Tom is also a member of a small team who were recently awarded the ‘Real Impact Interdisciplinary Research Fund Award’ by Emerald publishing for the project ‘Seeing Change: Gender, Ethnicity and Democracy in Morocco’ that uses participatory photography to seek to identify barriers to political participation for young Berber women in rural Morocco. 


Contact details:;



Dr Chandra Morrison

Specialisms: Public art practices, cultural politics, and urbanism in Latin America; ethnographic, visual, and digital methods.

Bio: Dr Chandra Morrison is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Latin America and Caribbean Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to joining LSE, she completed postdoctoral research at the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London, and received her PhD in Latin American Studies from the University of Cambridge. Chandra’s research explores public art practices and cultural politics in Latin America. Past and current projects attend to expressions of graffiti/street art, muralism, performance, and art activism and the many vibrant debates about power, heritage, and belonging generated by these creative manifestations within the cityscape. Her first book Metagraffiti: Graffiti Art and the Urban Image in Latin America is currently under review with a university press; a second book project, in progress, investigates muralism and the politics of erasure in contemporary Peru. Complementing the multimodal methods applied within her own work, Chandra is involved in two collaborative initiatives funded by the British Academy: a working group on sensorial methods and another on decolonizing methodologies for research on urban violence. She is an experienced teacher of fieldwork methods and design, having spearheaded interdisciplinary research training programmes for postgraduate students at the Universities of Cambridge and London (ILAS) in addition to teaching qualitative methods at IMLR and the LSE.

Fieldwork experience: Chandra has been actively engaged in fieldwork in Latin America from 2006 to the present, with projects based in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru. Chandra’s doctoral research involved 15 months of ethnographic fieldwork in two major South American cities. This complements prior experiences of doing rapid ethnographic assessments in both urban and rural contexts. Her postdoctoral work experiments with a more fragmentary ethnography based on multiple short trips to the field and draws increasingly on digital methods.

Modes of data collection: Trained as an ethnographer and artist, Chandra’s research combines visual, digital, and ethnographic methods with critical discourse analysis to facilitate nuanced interpretations of textual and visual materials as well as social and spatial practices. She works with a diverse set of methods:

-          Ethnography, especially participant observation, with artists and at cultural sites and events (ie. mural festivals, workshops, galleries); prior work with farming communities, social movements, state/local government and development agencies

-          Interviews, both semi-structured and open; currently engaging remote and email formats

-          Archival work, particularly with personal archives and informal collections that document outsider/subcultural histories

-          Digital methods, working with social media content, multimedia digital sources, and data analysis

-          Visual methods, especially using photography, and walking/spatial methods

-          Currently experimenting with film, mapping, and other sensorial/multimodal methods for data collection and research output

Countries: Peru, Chile, Brazil, Argentina

Contact details:

LSE profile: page:

Twitter: @drchanmor



Dr Naomi Wells

Lecturer in Italian and Spanish with Digital Humanities

Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London

Research areas: Multilingualism and migration in Spanish- and Italian-speaking contexts, with a current focus on digital spaces of communication and representation. My research incorporates transdisciplinary methods and approaches drawn primarily from applied and sociolinguistics, translation and cultural studies, migration studies, and digital humanities and digital culture studies.

Fieldwork experience:

3/4-week trips to Italy, Spain and Chile, in addition to more local and digital research in London

Fieldwork focus:

MA and PhD fieldwork was more policy-focused and involved interviews with politicians, civil servants and related experts, in addition to consulting national and local newspaper archives. Recent projects have been more ethnographically oriented and, in addition to interviews, have involved participant observation and related forms of engagement with communities and individuals with personal or family histories of migration. 

Modes of data collection:

These have responded to the specific research questions and contexts of different projects, but have generally involved: interviews (both ‘elite’ and semi-structured interviews, and more open and ethnographically oriented interviews); participant observation; fieldwork diaries and notes; visual and linguistic data (e.g. photographing linguistic landscapes); digital data collection of web archives and social media materials.

Recent and current projects:

1.     Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community


As a postdoctoral researcher on this AHRC-funded project (part of the Open World Research Initiative), my research has been more locally focused on Latin American communities in London and has involved digital research in online environments. While not requiring explicit ‘fieldwork trips’, the research draws on methods associated with digital ethnography, and similar principles and approaches to fieldwork-based research.

2.     Transnationalizing Modern Languages: Mobility, Identity and Translation in Modern Italian Cultures


Working as a postdoctoral researcher on a larger AHRC-project, my research focused on the linguistic and cultural practices of contemporary and historic migrant communities to and from Italy. This involved ethnographically influenced fieldwork with contemporary migrant communities in the city of Bologna (Italy), and fieldwork in Valparaíso (Chile) with members of the historic Italian community.

Contact details:

Last modified: Tuesday, 22 November 2022, 9:28 PM