Writing-up Grants 2020

Samuel Twumasi Amoah

Samuel Twumasi Amoah is a PhD candidate in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, University of Cape Town, South Africa. He holds Bachelor of Arts degree in Integrated Development Studies and a Master of Science degree in Human Geography from the University for Development Studies – Ghana and Lund University – Sweden respectively. His PhD project provides understanding and empirical analysis of how street traders’ everyday experiences, actions and activities interact with other governance actors to co-create the governance of their trading activities and trading spaces. He is currently a Lecturer at the University for Development Studies, Ghana.

Google Scholar / Twitter

Divine Mawuli Asafo

I relocated from Ghana to the United Kingdom in 2016 to pursue a PhD in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, University of Sheffield. Prior to this, I worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Geography and Resource Development, University of Ghana, where I graduated with BA (Hons) and MPhil in Geography and Resource Development.

Urban peripheries, especially in the global south have become places for new development, hence, my research interest centres on examining spatial developments, lived experiences, and vulnerabilities of urban periphery transformations. Currently, I focus on how tenure (in)securities affect housing development in the peripheries of Accra, Ghana. This is linked with a wider ESRC project, ‘
Living the Urban Peripheries’.

Linkedin / Twitter

Diego Astorga de Ita

Diego Astorga de Ita earned a BSc in Environmental Science and MSc in Biology from the Institute for Ecosystems and Sustainability Research (IIES) at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). His previous research focused on beekeeping within traditional Maya management systems in the Yucatán Peninsula. His current work looks at the landscapes of the region of El Sotavento (the Leeward) in South-eastern Mexico, and at the (de)construction of Culture and Nature through folk music in these spaces.

His research interests include the geographies of music, the ontologies of Culture/Nature, and the Poetics of Space.

Durham University Profile / Twitter / Instagram

Kenneth Cardenas

Photo credit: Khristine Alvarez

I am a PhD candidate in geography at York University, and a graduate associate with the York Centre for Asian Research.

My present work is about the new geographies of class power. I am paying attention to the diversification of the largest Filipino conglomerates from 2000 to 2015.

I aim to shed light on ongoing resurgences of class power in societies like the Philippines: Southern, structurally-adjusted, lower-middle income, and urbanizing, with newly-energized oligarchies and weak, captive states; markets where the next trillions in profits are to be made; places that are so far off the theoretical maps of restored class power.

Personal Website

Cansu Civelek

Cansu Civelek graduated from the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the Middle East Technical University, Ankara. She obtained her master’s degree at the Social and Cultural Anthropology Department at the University of Vienna. In 2015, she completed her first self-funded documentary movie about a slums regeneration project developed from her master’s thesis. Currently she is a PhD candidate at the Social and Cultural Anthropology Department in Vienna where she expects to obtain her PhD degree in fall 2020. Her research inquires urban policy making and urban governance and their entanglement with populations while tackling the question of (de)politicization.

Anastasiya Halauniova

Anastasiya Halauniova is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. Her work focuses on how and why urban aesthetics matter in socialist and post-socialist Global East. In her current research project, she examines post-war architectural reconstructions in two Eastern European cities, Wrocław in Poland and Klaipėda in Lithuania. She follows the processes through which architectural professionals and local inhabitants make, maintain, and debate urban appearances to uncover how urban beautifications relate to nation- and state-building processes. Her research contributes to the area that bridges science and technology studies, urban sociology, and urban history.

UvA Profile

Zahra Khalid

Zahra Khalid is a PhD Candidate in Geography at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, where she studies the spatial regimes of uneven development. Employing a historical and cultural materialist approach, her dissertation research will investigate residential enclave developments in urban Pakistan and their co-constitutive interdependence on middle class “structures of feeling” (Williams 1977)—i.e., middle-class desires, anxieties, and proclivities.

Luciana Mendes Barbosa

Luciana Mendes Barbosa is a final year Doctoral researcher in Geography at Lancaster University. She received a bachelor’s degree in Geography from Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais and a master’s degree in International Relations from Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais, both in Brazil. Her current research analyses the new wave of favelas’ removals in the city of Rio de Janeiro justified by the discourses of disaster risk prevention. She is interested in urban politics, disaster risk induced displacements, and forms of resistance emerging from conditions of state-led urban precarity.

CNPq Profile

Fadi Shayya

Fadi is a candidate for PhD Architecture at the Manchester Architecture Research Group (MARG) of the University of Manchester. His doctoral thesis studies the U.S. military engineering’s urban and architectural imaginaries of mobility in Iraq and Afghanistan, drawing on the philosophy of technology and the sociology of innovation. His research training is grounded in ten years of professional practice and public engagement in the MENA region, and it includes planning, urbanism, ecological design, and architectural engineering. He has taught at the Manchester School of Architecture, the University of Manchester, Parsons School of Design-New York, and the American University of Beirut.

UoM Profile / Twitter

Telma de Sousa Bemerguy

I am an anthropologist born and raised in Santarém, a city of the Brazilian Amazon. I initiated my studies at Universidade Federal do Oeste do Pará where I graduated with a B.A in Anthropology in 2015. Just after that, I moved to Rio de Janeiro to start my M.A in Social Anthropology at the National Museum of Brazil, a graduate program of Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. Currently, I am a PhD student at this same program. My works were carried out in the Brazilian Amazon, through research projects performed in the States of Pará and Mato Grosso.

Academia / CV / Instagram

Yawei Zhao

Yawei is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Geography, University of Calgary, Canada. Her research interests include urban-rural relationships in the post-productivist era, the creative class and lifestyle migration, informalities, the urbanization of small cities and towns, the production and consumption of experiencescapes, and data-driven Smart City projects, with a regional focus on China. She has published in Cities, Area, and Geoforum.


Studentships 2020

Ozlem Atalay

Ozlem Atalay is a third year PhD candidate in Urban and Regional Planning at Florida State University. She received her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in urban planning from University at Buffalo, SUNY and Istanbul Technical University, respectively. As a part of her study of LGBTQ spaces in Istanbul, she plans to analyse several inclusive queer spaces and neighbourhoods to understand the effects of national and local government politics, and the involvement of LGBTQ communities in the local decision making processes. She is interested in LGBTQ spaces, space making and everyday resistance strategies of LGBTQ individuals across the globe.

Academia / Researchgate

Brandon Finn

Brandon is an urban planning PhD candidate at Harvard University. He is a South African, and influenced by geography’s tradition of engagement with space, labour, and urbanization in the Southern Africa region. Brandon uses qualitative and archival research methodologies and is broadly interested in Africa’s relation to the history of capitalism. Brandon’s PhD research contends with the historical impacts of urbanization and colonialism on mining labour in the African Copperbelt. He is specifically interested in understanding how historical, and structural legacies of urbanization and colonialism have influenced informal economies today.

Urban Theory Lab Profile / Twitter / Google Scholar

Gümeç Karamuk

After completing a BSc degree in Sociology and Minor in City Planning at METU (Turkey), Gümeç pursued her postgraduate education at ETH Zurich (Comparative and International Studies, MA) and at UCL (Urban Studies, MSc). She has been involved in diverse research projects on electoral mapping, sustainable urbanisation and environmental politics. She is currently working on her PhD project at UCL where she focuses on the development control and management of urban regeneration projects through judicial reviews with a comparative analysis of Istanbul and London. She is interested in examining how different legal-administrative systems respond to concerns related to public interest, spatial equality and spatial justice.


Siddharth Menon

Siddharth Menon is an Architect and a Doctoral Candidate in Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA with research interests in Urban & Regional Studies, International Development, Political Ecology, and Science & Technology Studies (STS). His dissertation research involves a critical analysis of uneven geographical/spatial development as it relates to the construction of buildings and infrastructures in rapidly urbanizing regional towns and cities of contemporary India.

Blog / Twitter

Victoria Ogoegbunam Okoye

I previously studied urban planning and international affairs (Columbia University). For seven years, I worked on spatial interventions, research, and advocacy in Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa. This experience includes co-imagining and co-shaping urban interventions and improvements through partnerships and collaborations with artists, street and market vendors, and community organizations in Accra and Lagos. These relations and experiences now shape my Black decolonial feminist research approach and ethics in my research and practice, as well as my interests that center around creative methods, participatory projects with youth, a focus on embodied experiences, and affective understandings of space.

Twitter / Personal Website

Sarita Pillay Gonzalez

Sarita Pillay Gonzalez is currently enrolled for her PhD at the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Architecture and Planning, South Africa. Her PhD work is focused on dominant property development and property players that shape cities, particularly the multi-scalar intersections between the state and real estate. Her research is based in Johannesburg, with additional fieldwork in Bangalore. She has experience in research, community organising and popular education. She holds a Masters in Urban & Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota, and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Rhodes University, South Africa.


Rida Qadri

Rida is a PhD Candidate in Urban Information Systems at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research looks at the role of digital labor in sustaining and transforming digitized mobility markets in South East Asia. Through this work she hopes to shed light on how informal institutions and worker strategies interact to domesticate digital technologies, challenging the narrative that casts ‘disruptive technologies’ as agents of change especially in emerging markets.
In her research she plays with a variety of methods; merging spatial analytics, digital surveys and field-based interviews.

MIT Profile