WRDTP ESRC Postdoctoral Fellows

The ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme is aimed at those in the immediate postdoctoral stage of their career. See below to find out more about the current ESRC WRDTP Postdoctoral Fellows:

Edward Brookes

University of Hull, CEL


Edward Brookes is an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Hull. His current work forms part of the Cities, Environment and Liveability pathway and explores the role of arts and heritage in shaping urban liveability in precarious places.

Edward completed a BA in Geography at the University of Southampton and an MA in Cultural Geography at Royal Holloway University. It was during this time that Edward developed an interested in research which explored art, architecture and its relationship to urban and aesthetic politics. This developed through a range of projects focused on how people experience art and architecture at the every day level and how this intersects with ideas associated with home, identity and community. Culminating in research which explored individual experiences of sheltered accommodation to the conceptual analysis of door and corridor spaces through the artwork of Bruce Nauman and AVPD.

For his doctoral thesis titled ‘Memorability as Image: The contested aesthetic politics of Robin Hood Gardens’ (also completed at Royal Holloway University), Edward explored the contested heritage of the Robin Hood Gardens (RHG) estate in East London and its recent regeneration, problematising the debates that emerged around its demolition and perceived ugliness/beauty. The project centred around analysing various forms of representation; including the artwork of numerous ‘RHG artists’; the audio-visual materials produced by the estate’s developers (Blackwall Reach); as well as interviews with key heritage stakeholders and tenants of the estate, in order to present a discussion around how symbolic and representational practices continue to shape the material realities of RHG.

In 2021 Edward joined the Risky Cities Project at the University of Hull as a Postdoctoral Researcher where his work has centred around exploring and assessing the effectiveness of arts and history for building flood and climate resilience. This has entailed working with a range of local communities in Hull, using creative practice to explore themes and experiences of flooding and how communities can learn to live with water in the future. This resulted in the hugely successful ‘Follow the Thread’ Exhibition and ‘Flow of Words’ public art sharing.

During his fellowship Edward will further disseminate findings from his PhD and use the knowledge gained to work with communities in hull to explore concepts of liveability and how arts and heritage programmes shape experiences of the built environment. This will involve working with local communities and arts/heritage groups in Hull to unravel and assess notions of what makes places ‘liveable’.

Research Interests: My research interests are quite broad and at times eclectic – but broadly speaking I am interested in how people create and experience different ‘everyday’ art and architectural spaces and how these are linked to a wider urban politics. This includes how they influence notions of resilience and liveability. Typically, my published research sits across the intersections between Geography, History, Architecture, Art, Archaeology, Community Engagement, Urban and Social theory – with work that ranges from the social and cultural history of the door to using arts and history for building climate resilience.

Email: e.brookes@hull.ac.uk

Twitter: @Edward_Brookes_

Lucy Eddy

University of Bradford, WHC


Lucy is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Bradford. Her fellowship aligns with both the Wellbeing, Health and Communities, and the Education Childhood and Youth pathways.

Lucy completed her BSc in Psychology at the University of Leeds, where she also completed an MSc by Research, and was awarded an ESRC WRDTP 1+3 pathway PhD. The title of Lucy’s thesis was: Developing a school-based universal screening tool to identify deficits in fundamental movement skills in children aged 5-11 years. After this, Lucy worked at the Centre for Applied Education Research, supporting schools and the education sector to integrate evidence-based practice.

During her fellowship Lucy will conduct further research to establish a normative database, and then link this data into the Connected Bradford database (comprising health, education and care records for the district) to explore early life risk factors for motor difficulties and associations with other aspects of childhood development. She will also disseminate her work in various formats, including academic papers, a briefing for the Department for Education and a co-production event with teachers and key stakeholders. Lucy will also engage with training opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills required to be a future academic leader in her field. The fellowship will also include a study visit to the Population Health Sciences department at Stanford University.

Lucy’s research interests include the development of motor skills and how they interact with other aspects of childhood development such as health and academic attainment in children with and without developmental disorders.

Email: L.H.Eddy@bradford.ac.uk

Katy Gordon

Katy Gordon

University of Sheffield, WHC

Commencing the fellowship in November 2023.


Commencing the fellowship in November 2023.

Nirali Joshi

University of Sheffield, CEL


Nirali Joshi is an ESRC postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, University of Sheffield. She is a human geographer with a background in Urban Policy and Governance (MSc, Tata Institute of Social Sciences). In 2016, Nirali was awarded the King’s India Scholarship award from King’s College London to undertake her doctoral research on the presence of and institutional response to accidental death and injury along the commuter railway lines of Mumbai. Through extensive fieldwork amid different stages and attendants of ‘accident work’ – emergency response, medical care, and investigation and closure, her research highlighted the various lives of/at risk produced through the historical embedding of colonial railways in urban space. With its focus on both – the larger social structuring and political economy of accident production and care, as well as its localised contingencies, embodied labours and relationality, the study underscored everyday risk and injury as critical sites to examine the relationship between the state, infrastructure and people.

Nirali’s fellowship period will be used to build upon and disseminate the findings of her doctoral research to both academic and non-academic audiences through publications and academic-practitioner engagement workshops. She will also use the fellowship opportunity to build capacities as a scholar and collaborator in advancement of an interdisciplinary railway studies through future research projects and knowledge-exchange networks.

Key areas of interest: Infrastructural and health geographies in the Global South; anthropology of the state; critical urban studies; mobility and risk; labour, care and embodiment.

Email: n.joshi@sheffield.ac.uk

Tamsin Mitchell

University of Sheffield, CDD


Tamsin Mitchell is an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow with the Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM), Department of Journalism, which she joined in October 2022. She completed her PhD in Politics at the University of York’s Centre for Applied Human Rights in 2021, also funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Since then, Tamsin has worked as an independent researcher and consultant, with clients including the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights. She has 15 years’ prior experience of working in the international human rights and development sector, including managing programmes of research and advocacy in Latin America and Africa for PEN
International from 2007-2016, providing support to writers and journalists at risk.

Tamsin’s postdoctoral fellowship focuses on publication and dissemination of the findings of her doctoral research. An adapted version of her PhD dissertation will be published as a monograph by Routledge in 2024. The book will offer a qualitative, comparative, bottom-up exploration of journalists’ responses to impunity for violence against journalists in Mexico and Honduras, both formal democracies with high levels of violence. It will provide a critique of International Relations/ politics debates on the value of appeals to international human rights standards to local civil society. The book will show the centrality of self-protection and the significance of the norms of professional
journalism over international human rights norms and legal rights in journalists’ mobilisation and accountability efforts. She also plans to develop articles and presentations for academic and non-academic audiences.

Tamsin holds an MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights from the School of Advanced Study, University of London, and an M.St. in Research Methods from Balliol College, University of Oxford. She is a refugee befriender for HostNation and a former trustee of Peace Brigades International UK.

Research interests: Civil society responses to human rights violations and impunity, including use of international human rights law and norms; protection and self-protection of journalists and human rights defenders; freedom of expression; journalism and human rights; journalism and corruption; political repression; fieldwork in high-risk environments.


Journal articles:

Mitchell, T. (2022) Using Journalism for Self-Protection: Profession-Specific and Journalistic Measures and Strategies for Countering Violence and Impunity in Mexico and Honduras, Journalism Studies, DOI: 10.1080/1461670X.2022.2080754 – available Open Access

Books chapters:

Mitchell T. (2019) Journalists as Human Rights Defenders: International Protection of Journalists in Contexts of Violence and Impunity. In: Shaw I., Selvarajah S. (eds) Reporting Human Rights, Conflicts, and Peacebuilding. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Other publications

Mitchell, T. (2022) Safety of journalists in non-EU countries: state and non-state protection mechanisms and the role of the EU, Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), European Parliament, June 2022. Available here.

Mitchell, T. (2022) In search of protection, justice and the truth: journalists’ responses to impunity in Mexico and Honduras. Human Rights Defender Hub Working Paper Series 13. York: Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York. Available in English and Spanish at: hrdhub.org/working-papers

Tamsin has also authored and edited numerous non-academic reports and articles as an NGO researcher and advocate.

Email: t.s.mitchell@sheffield.ac.uk

Cara Molyneux

University of Leeds, SMP


Cara is an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Sociology and Social Science at the University of Leeds. Her fellowship is aligned with the Sustainable Growth, Management and Economic Productivity pathway.
Cara completed her BA (Hons) in Disability Studies (Inclusive Practice) at Blackburn College. In 2016, she secured an ESRC 1+3 Studentship award in the North West Doctoral Training Partnership (NWDTP), to complete a MA in Social Research followed by a PhD in Sociology at Lancaster University. The title of Cara’s PhD thesis was: Disabled People, Work and Small-Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs).
During her fellowship, Cara will focus upon writing academic publications, policy engagement and professional development activities. She will also prepare a bid for a three-year Early Career Fellowship, proposing an international comparative study to explore policy interventions supporting SMEs in reducing the disability employment gap.
Research interests: disability, inclusive practice, work, employment, social policy, sociology of work, employment relations
Twitter: @MolyneuxDr

Natalie Richardson

University of York, WHCC


Natalie is an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the School for Business and Society at the University of York. She completed an undergraduate degree in Sociology before completing her ESRC 1+3 funded PhD in the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield. She has since worked as a Research Associate in the Social Policy Research Unit at the University of York on projects concerned with paediatric palliative care and spiritual care at the end of life.

Natalie’s PhD project was titled ‘Suffering in Relation: An Ethnographic Study of Hospice Work’, which she successfully defended in 2021. The research adopted an ethnographic approach to explore the everyday work of hospice staff. It focused on the range of workers within the hospice, to appreciate the hidden aspects of work and the subtle forms of care carried out by non-medical hospice staff. Taking on a sensory focus in the ethnographic study, Natalie explored the hospice workers’ experiences of their interactions and relationships with patients and families. The PhD work appreciated the everyday work of the range of staff: from the consultants and nurses to the cooks and the housekeepers. Through the fellowship, Natalie will draw on the key findings from the PhD research around the emotionality and experiences of hospice work. She will develop and communicate an understanding about who provides care and what forms this takes in the hospice setting. In the fellowship, Natalie will seek to further a research agenda around hidden work in hospice and end-of-life settings by co-producing resources around the support needs and experiences of medical and non-medical hospice staff. Through presentations and publications, she will also contribute to academic understanding around hospice work, relationships at the end of life and the role of the senses in care.

Research Interests: Hospice work, end-of-life care, relationships, identity, sensory, embodiment, sensitive research, qualitative and ethnographic research methods.

Email: Natalie.richardson@york.ac.uk

View our Postdoctoral Fellows from previous years: