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Research Associates x 2

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The role

We are looking for two postdoctoral researchers to join Professor Julia O’Connell Davidson and Dr Sam Okyere on an ERC funded project titled Modern Marronage: the Pursuit and Practice of Freedom in the Contemporary World (MMPPF). The post holders will work either on a study that focuses on Brazilian sex workers to address questions about race, gender, sexuality, mobility, and the pursuit of freedom; or a study that focuses on SubSaharan African migrants in the UK exploring questions about appeals to the law to access freedom such as asylum claims. Both studies explore the questions through the lens of histories of enslaved people’s efforts to move closer to freedom. 

What will you be doing?

The postholder will primarily be involved in data collection, analysis and writing up of one of the above mentioned project case studies, but may also contribute to other project case studies. 

Research Responsibilities

  • Review relevant literatures and gather relevant secondary historical sources and policy documents;
  • Access interviewees and undertake individual and focus group interviews and field research in the UK, and Portugal and/or Italy and/or Brazil (as required by the case study they work on);
  • Transcribe and where necessary translate interviews, write up and conduct preliminary analysis of data.
  • Ensure fieldwork is conducted in line with ethical protocols, and that records are kept and ordered for ethical review purposes
  • Author and/or co-author articles, reports, blogs, and assist with other forms of dissemination;
  • Participate fully in the intellectual life of the project 

Administration Responsibilities

  • The post holder will be expected to contribute to all routine aspects of project administration, including maintaining project website. 

You should apply if

Essential requirements

Suitable candidates should have a PhD or equivalent professional experience. They should be available to live in the UK but conduct fieldwork abroad for periods of up to 4 weeks. Other essential requirements include the following:

  • Experience of research or activism with, and extensive and deep knowledge of the rights issues facing, sex workers and/or undocumented migrants, asylum seekers and refugees;
  • Experience of conducting qualitative research on sensitive topics;
  • Experience of publishing academic articles, drafting end of award reports or similar documents; 

The following are also desirable:

  • Fluency in Portuguese, or Tigrinya, or Arabic;
  • Experience of translating text from Portuguese to English
  • Knowledge of the theoretical literature on race, slavery and afterlives of slavery;
  • Web page design and management skills

Communication and Interpersonal Skills 


  • Strong interpersonal skills necessary to establish rapport in interviews on sensitive topics 

Additional Criteria


  • Personal experience of navigating the asylum system in the UK, Europe or Brazil
  • Knowledge of, and contacts with, sex worker and migrant rights organisations in the UK, Europe or Brazil 

Additional information 

For informal queries please contact Julia O’Connell Davidson on [email protected] or +441173317599 

We welcome applications from all members of our community and are particularly encouraging those from diverse groups, such as members of the LGBT+ and BAME communities, to join us.

Click Here to Apply For The Job



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