Wallis Motta is currently an LSE Fellow in Media and Communications. She was an LSE Research Officer with Dr. Myria Georgiou and Prof. Sonia Livingstone in the project: Community through digital Connectivity, Communication Infrastructure in Multicultural London.
She previously worked as a Research Associate in The Bartlett School of Graduate Studies at UCL, where she was responsible for community engagement in the www.screensinthewild.org project.
She has been Visiting Lecturer at Riga Stradinis University and Visiting Researcher at the University of Cambridge. She has worked in industry as Planner in advertising agencies like DDB and JWT (Mexico City), as well as a Market Research consulting expert for Flamingo International (London) and De la Riva (Mexico City).
Wallis earned her PhD in Anthropology at UCL. She has an MA in Material and Visual Culture (UCL) and a BSc in Communication Sciences (Universidad Iberoamericana).
As an anthropologist and media scholar Wallis is particularly interested in:
1) The way socio-economic neoliberal reforms affect historically embedded modes of production/reproduction of middle-classes in Europe, leading to reconfiguration of socio-cultural organisation and forms of procuring livelihoods, in particular when these are negotiated through entrepreneurship and new media.
2) The emergence of new technological urban landscapes, such as high-tech clusters and regions, as well as the appropriation of new media into projects of 'multicultural community building' within urban neighbourhoods, enabling cosmopolitan aesthetics and conviviality. These initiatives are often related to entrepreneurship, place making and social innovation communities.
In her PhD thesis Wallis studied the construction of Cambridge city as a Technopole, and the emergence of a local high-tech start-up culture rooted in scientific values. Her dissertation aimed to critique the ways in which the discipline of Anthropology has portrayed entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs through an exotic lens. She insisted it is important to examine entrepreneurship not only considering culturally deviant groups or minority populations (migrants, strangers or subalterns); but also what happens with middle-classes in more prominent and mainstream institutions, like Universities, private SMEs, regional development agencies, NGOs and other professional support networks within the city, seeking to exert socio-cultural change.
Ultimately entrepreneurship in Cambridge has emerged as an alternative cultural idiom, which is simultaneously a radically innovative proposition and a conservative effort. Entrepreneurship provides the residents of Cambridge a way to manage tensions and anxieties regarding the reproduction of privilege, enabling to better position themselves and their city as prominent actors to address 21st century challenges.
As a member of academic staff in the Media and Communications Department, Wallis teaches masters students on Theories of Media and Communications, Audio Visual and Mixed Research Methods, as well as Identity, Transnationalism and the Media. Wallis supervises MSc dissertations, grades students' work and produces academic publications in her speciality areas.