The research team

Meet our international team of researchers

This project brings together an international team offering expertise in geography, sociology, international development, and participatory, visual, and digital co-production methodologies.

Dr Sonja Marzi
Principal investigator
Department of Methodology, LSE

Sonja Marzi is an LSE Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the Department of Methodology. She is also an Associate Academic of the LSE Latin America and Caribbean Centre. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on gendered urban challenges and inequalities in Colombia, cutting across the fields of geography, anthropology, and sociology. She aims to push the boundaries of collaborative and participatory research designs under remote conditions as a means of (re)conceptualising gendered urban challenges in Colombia. Building on cutting-edge methodological applications of film and video in co-produced research, her work centres the voices of marginalised women and contributes to new understandings about their relationship to urban space.

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Professor Rachel Pain
School of Geography, Politics, and Sociology, Newcastle University

Rachel Pain is a Professor of Human Geography at Newcastle University and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. Her research focuses on violence, fear, and trauma, with gender-based violence a particular interest from intimate to international scales. Her work is informed by feminist and participatory theory, practice, and activism. She collaborates on this research with a range of voluntary and public sector organisations, as well as with survivor groups. 

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Dr Jen Tarr
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Newcastle University

Jen Tarr is Senior Lecturer in Social Science Research Methods with the HaSS Faculty Research Training Programme at Newcastle University.  A health sociologist by background, she is interested in digital, visual and other sensory methodologies, including video.  She is particularly interested in the ethical issues that arise with these methods.

Substantively, her research has been concerned with experiences that are difficult to translate into words or numbers, particularly chronic pain. She is currently writing a book about how visual images are used in pain communication, diagnosis, and treatment.

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Mark Saunders
Third sector co-investigator
Spectacle Productions

Mark Saunders is an award-winning independent filmmaker, media activist, and lecturer. He has been engaged in participatory media practices since the very first UK community video projects in the early 1980s. He founded the groundbreaking community access media cooperative Despite TV in 1982 and Spectacle Productions in 1990.

Mark's films have been broadcast internationally and exhibited at galleries such as Tate Britain, the National Film Theatre, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Musee des Beaux-Arts, the National Media Museum, and the Photographers Gallery.



Dr Michele de Laurentiis
Third sector co-investigator
Spectacle Productions

Michele de Laurentiis is an anthropologist, independent filmmaker, and participatory-video practitioner. He has carried out long term ethnographic research in Italy (prisons, migration, health care) and in Bolivia (rituals, indigenous politics, mining conflicts). Michele has led independent participatory-video projects in the UK and Italy. He has been at Spectacle Productions, where he coordinates participatory video programmes and video training for social research, for over five years.



María Fernanda Carrillo Sánchez
Filmmaker and researcher
Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México

María Fernanda Carrillo Sánchez is a filmmaker and researcher. She is a professor of Communication and Culture at the Audiovisual Media Laboratory, Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México. She holds a master's in documentary filmmaking from the University Centre of Cinematographic Studies (UNAM, Mexico), a master's in social sciences from FLACSO, and a degree in sociology from Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Her research interests lie principally in audio-visual anthropology, documentary cinema, collective action, gender, and historic memory,  whereas her practice has focused on direction, sound, and editing of documentaries. She is an enabler of communitarian and collaborative process of audio-visual production.



Lina María Zuluaga
Action researcher

Lina María Zuluaga is an anthropologist with a master's in education and human rights. She has substantial experience in the use of participatory research methodologies.

Lina is a member of the Conflicts, Violence, and Human Security research group at the University of Antioquia in Medellín, Colombia. Lina previously worked on intervention and research projects as a consultant for international organisations, often in close collaboration with indigenous, peasant, and urban Afro populations in Latin America. In this way, Lina has accumulated a great deal of experience in the implementation of participatory methodologies within scholar-activism research projects on issues like gender, human rights, human security, and social policy.


Carolina Dorado
Pedagogical facilitator and audio-visual producer
La Partida Feminista

Carolina Dorado is a pedagogical facilitator, with more than 20 years of work in the social sector. She has a Master of Research in Cultural Studies with an emphasis on Gender and Culture. Her main interest is based on community social work and the design of methodological and pedagogical tools for the construction of collective knowledge. Here, she is interested in feminisms, community cinema and local knowledge production. She is co-founder of the group La Partida Feminista, which uses audio-visual and feminist methodologies for working with women from diverse backgrounds


Professor Gareth Jones
Department of Geography and Latin America and Caribbean Centre, LSE

Gareth Jones is Director of the Latin America and Caribbean Centre, as well as Professor of Urban Geography in the Department of Geography and Environment at LSE and an Associate Member of the International Inequalities Institute. He has an interdisciplinary academic background, having studied economics, geography, and urban sociology, and holds an undergraduate degree from University College London and a doctorate from University of Cambridge. He has held numerous visiting positions, including at University of California San Diego, University of Texas at Austin, and the Universidad Iberoamericana.

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Professor Cathy McIlwaine
Department of Geography, KCL

Cathy McIlwaine is Vice Dean (Research) for the Faculty of Social Sciences and Public Policy and Professor of Development Geography within the Department of Geography at King's College London. Cathy has also held positions in the geography departments of the London School of Economics and Political Science and Queen Mary University of London, as well as working at the World Bank as a Social Scientist Research Project Manager. She has a BA (Geography) and MA (Latin American Studies) from the University of Liverpool, as well as a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

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Banner image: Medellín cityscape, © Sonja Marzi, 2021