Polina Zelmanova (she/her) is an AHRC Midlands4Cities funded PhD student in Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick. Her thesis is titled 'Sex in Contemporary Film and TV: Power and Pleasure after #MeToo'. She is interested in the representation and politics of sex and sexuality in popular culture, the #MeToo context, representations of sex work, as well as broader frameworks of queer and feminist screen studies. Outside of her research, Polina has worked in film festival project management and as an audio-visual practitioner including for projects funded by IATL (Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning) Warwick such as The Boyfriend Trick, and Coventry City of Culture.
Harrison Charles (he/him) is currently a PhD researcher conducting his doctoral study at Birmingham City University. His project is exploring the genre of gay adult video games and the concept of sexual play, considering to what extent these games structure sexual agency and sexual conducts, focusing on queer player perspectives. His research engages with discourses surrounding the explicit constructions of sex and sexual content in games, queer sexual representation, queer gaming cultures, sexual scripting, gay pornography, and the use of autoethnographic approaches in conducting research.
Daniel Zacariotti (he/him) is an AHRC Midlands4Cities funded PhD student in Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick, whose research focuses on queer cinema and politics in Brazil. Specifically, his doctoral research examines the subversion of fascist ideals through queer cinema and how film can be used as a means of public advocacy for the LGBTQIA+ community in Brazil. His research background includes a Master's degree in Communication and Consumer Practices, where he wrote his dissertation on the politics of trans authorship. Daniel has been invited to give papers and presentations on over 20 occasions, published 17 articles and book chapters focusing on performance and queer subjects in Latin America. His research aims to discuss the interrelations between queer audiovisual production and the Brazilian political context, seeking new possibilities for political actions that guarantee human rights for the LGBTQIA+ community in Brazil.
Viola Nassi (they/them) is a first-year PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Their research is funded by the M4C doctoral training partnership. Viola’s research spans American feminist literature written by women and gender non-conforming authors, Chicana and Mexican literature. In their PhD project, Viola is studying how contemporary Mexican and Chicana literature written in both English and Spanish on the historical figure of La Malinche can represent a framework through which we can assess gender-based violence in contemporary Mexico. As a key component of their multidisciplinary project, Viola is planning a collaboration with a Mexican feminist collective in order to evaluate with them the relevance of the La Malinche figure and symbol within the context of gender-based violence in contemporary Mexico.
Raad Khair Allah
Raad Khair Allah (she/her), a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Arts/ Department of English and Comparative Literary, University of Warwick, UK. Her thesis title is ‘Contemporary Arab Women Writers, Filmmakers and Artists in an International Frame’. She is also a member of the seminar series organising committee at CSWG/Center for the Study of Women and Gender at the same institution. She was a candidate for the Paula Svonkin Creative Art Award at the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA) conference in Los Angeles, USA, 2022. Prior to joining the University of Warwick, She worked as an English lecturer at Damascus University (part-time, 2009-2012) and the Syrian Private University (full-time, 2014-2018). Her research interests include Women's Studies, Gender, Feminism, Sexuality and War.
Andy Irwin (he/him) is an M4C-Funded PhD student in Sexuality & Gender Studies at the University of Birmingham. His thesis focuses on the possibilities for (and challenges with) optimism in twenty-first century gay men's literature. Andy's broader academic interests lie in contemporary anglophone fiction, representations of masculinity and male sexuality in contemporary literature, and the uses of queer theory in praxes of social justice activism and social change. He has published on 'disruptive masculinities' in Ad Alta: The Birmingham Journal of Literature and has given research papers on the pejorative representations of queerness ('Voldemort: A Monstrous Queer in Heteronormative Waters') in the Harry Potter children's book series. He is the Editor of the University of Birmingham's PGR-led Sexuality and Gender Studies Network, ROLES.
Emily Nicholson (she/her) is a Theatre and Performance studies MRes student currently studying at the University of Warwick. Emily’s research explores contraception as a gendered performance of the everyday. Her research builds a framework for analysing contraception as performance using the macro-level of sociocultural, biotechnical, and medical structures which uphold the status quo, down to the micro-level of each dose of contraception as an individual embodied performance. Her research calls for the advancement and equalisation of contraceptive technologies and reproductive healthcare.
Airelle Amedro (she/her) is an AHRC-funded PhD candidate in French and Queer studies at the University of Warwick. Her thesis analyses the proliferation of references to vulnerability in contemporary queer French texts and their simultaneous desire to break away from the established cultural discourse associating queer suffering with passivity and victimhood. Before starting her PhD, she did a BA in French and German at King’s College London and a MPhil in European, Latin American and Comparative Literatures and Cultures at the University of Cambridge. Previously, she completed a traineeship at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre which focused on knowledge dissemination through science of communication. She was also an intern at the French Institute of the United Kingdom where she helped coordinate festivals and talks to create prolific French-British dialogues.
Yaqian Xu (she/her) is a Warwick-CSC funded PhD student in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. She specializes in aging studies and contemporary American fiction. Her PhD project focuses on the embodied experience of ageing character in American fiction. Her research explores the relationship between the social discourses of ageing and ageing sexuality, masculinity, femininity and other bodily dimensions in later life. Her research intends to discover the diversity of embodied experiences of ageing individuals, the alternative discourses of ageing that go beyond the decline narrative and successful ageing and finally ways to breach the binary of youth/age and body/mind in later life.
Katie Deane (they/she) researches the contemporary circulation of popular romance fiction amongst its readership as a PhD candidate in English Literature at the University of Birmingham, where they hold a Collaborative Doctoral Award from Midlands4Cities co-supervised by Mills & Boon. Their research addresses systems-level genre developments in the wake of technological change, particularly in terms of cataloguing, search and discovery. Their wider research interests lie in fan and audience studies, popular seriality, genre, and media industries, and they have previously published on genre-based marketing in video games.