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‌Our staff



Our Academic Staff lead the Centre's research projects, convene and teach degree modules, and supervise PhD candidates.

Dr Ioana Cismas


Tel: +44 (0)1904 325833

Paul Gready

Professor Paul Gready

Director of the Centre for Applied Human Rights

Tel: +44 (0)1904 325831

Martin Jones

Martin Jones

Senior Lecturer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 325834

Dr Alice Nah

Senior Lecturer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 325824

Dr Piergiuseppe Parisi

Research Associate

Tel: +44 (0)1904 325830


Simon Robins

Research Fellow


Dr Jonathon Zaragoza

Research Associate

Support Staff

Support staff

The Centre's core support staff have a breadth and depth of knowledge and experience which are key to the success of our work.

Hilary Conroy

York Human Rights City Network Coordinator (Disability Programmes)

Pippa Cooper

Research Administrator
HUB Coordinator

Tel: +44 (0) 1904 325885

Sanna Eriksson

Protective Fellowship

Jelena Erstic

Research Coordinator


Claire Fox 

Centre Manager


Emma Jackson

Emma Jackson 

Research Associate





The following visiting human rights practitioners, NGO personnel and researchers contribute to the work and teaching of the Centre: 


Emilie Flower - Coordinator of the development alternatives research

Emilie Flower is coordinator of the development alternatives research at The Centre for Applied Human Rights, and a freelance film artist based at Pica artist led studios in York. Since 2016 she has been a resident artist and coordinator in the AHRC-funded research network exploring art, archives and the political imagination between Uganda, Bangladesh and the UK; and carried out research for the ESRC funded project partnering with ActionAid to look at strategies of resistance and resilience to expand civic space.

As a filmmaker, Emilie works in film design for theatre, arts and rights based projects. She is currently the resident film maker in Mind the Gap's four year Daughters of Fortune project in Bradford and London. She has worked internationally as a participatory video facilitator since 2000, and was a founding member and associate at InsightShare. During this period she has led field based qualitative research, ethnographic research, community journalism, knowledge archiving and participatory evaluations projects for non and government organisations, including DFID, UNDP, UNICEF, IIED, and the European Union. Her most recent project was the establishment of a participatory video Indiginous Climate Change Observation Network with the Saskatchewan Cree, the Kainai Nation and the Parks and Environment Department in Alberta, Canada, in 2019.

Emilie's current research interests are visual art, activism, civic space and the archive.

Marta Foresti profile

Marta Foresti - Overseas Development Institute

Marta manages the Rights in Action Programme at the Overseas Development Institute. Her current research interests include the implementation and feasibility of economic, social and cultural rights; accountability and governance of development and human rights agencies; and social exclusion and inequality. Marta has a particular interest in the methodological dimensions of development and human rights research. She was responsible for developing impact assessment frameworks for Save the Children UK and Amnesty International and has undertaken research and evaluation studies of several UK and European social policies and programmes. Before joining ODI in January 2006, she worked as a senior policy advisor in the Department of Development Policy of the Italian Treasury and was the former Head of the Learning and Impact Assessment team at Save the Children UK. Marta will contribute to the module on Human Rights and Development.

John Gray

John Gray - Associate

I joined the Centre for Applied Human Rights in April 2014.

Previously I qualified and practised as a solicitor in private practice, before leaving the law to work overseas (with an NGO in Geneva; and supporting grassroots peace-building efforts in Burundi, central Africa). On returning to the UK, I set up and led City of York Council’s community mediation service. In 2001 I became an organisational development consultant, facilitator and leadership coach; this freelance practice continues alongside my teaching at the University of York.

Juliana Mensah

Dr Juliana Mensah - Research Associate

Juliana Mensah is a writer, creative practitioner and researcher. She is currently an associate at the Centre for Applied Human Rights and has also held the following positions at the Centre: Leverhulme Artist in Residence (2013 – 2014); research and teaching fellow (2014 – 2016); research associate on the Law of Asylum project (2016 – 2019). 

Juliana's human rights work has involved collaborating with organisations such as Freedom from Torture and Amnesty International. Her cultural management roles have included Arts Development Officer for Wansbeck District Council and Senior Project Manager at Helix Arts. She has served on the board of directors for the Angelou Centre in Newcastle (2006 – 2008), the Oval House Theatre Company in London (2008 – 2011), and Pilot Theatre in York (2016 – present). 

Juliana's writing for theatre has had a focus on survivors' testimonies and productions have included: A Restless Place (Pilot Theatre, York, 2015); Crow on the Cradle (Riding Lights Theatre, York, 2016) and From the Sky to Your Hands (Live Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2017).  Juliana received a Northern Writers' Award in 2016 and she holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from Newcastle University.
Maro Pantazidou

Maro Pantazidou - Amnesty International International Secretariat

Maro works on the intersections of human rights, politics, social development and learning. She is currently the Lead Advisor for Organisational Learning and Accountability with Amnesty International (International Secretariat). In the past, she has supported both grassroots and international organisations to introduce reflective practice and power analysis into their strategy and practice. She has a background in campaigning, advocacy and participatory learning predominantly with migrants and refugee rights organisations. Currently, she is interested in emerging forms of citizen organisation and action and the implications for civil society and human rights work - she has taken part as a researcher or facilitator in a number of related research projects including with the Institute of Development Studies, LSE, Hivos, INTRAC and others.

‌‌Champa Patel

Dr Champa Patel - Chatham House

Dr Champa Patel became Head of Asia-Pacific Programme for Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs) in September 2017. Before joining Chatham House she was most recently the Regional Director/Senior Research Advisor for South Asia and S.E. Asia and Pacific Offices for Amnesty International, responsible for managing the research, campaigns, media and advocacy for the region.

Prior to Amnesty International, she worked in public health for almost a decade working initially on HIV/AIDs work and then later black and ethnic minority youth, refugees and asylum seekers, and young people at risk of sexual exploitation/trafficking. She obtained her PhD from the University of Nottingham in 2005 and is a Visiting Practitioner/External Examiner at the University of York, a fellow and faculty member of the Salzburg Global Seminar, and on the Editorial Board of Human Rights Quarterly.

Lars Waldorf

Dr Lars Waldorf - University of Dundee

Lars Waldorf is a Reader at Dundee Law School. Before that he was a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Applied Human Rights from 2009-2017 and a Lecturer at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (University of London) from 2006-2009.

Lars has authored numerous publications on transitional justice, legal empowerment, and Rwanda, including three co-edited books: Remaking Rwanda: State Building and Human Rights after Mass Violence (with Scott Straus); Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities after Mass Violence (with Rosalind Shaw) and Disarming the Past: Transitional Justice and Ex-Combatants (with Ana Patel and Pablo de Greiff).

He is Principal Investigator for an AHRC-ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund (PaCCS) project that looks at how combining mixed-abled dance and rights-awareness may empower people with conflict-related disabilities in Sri Lanka. More information about that research is available on the Performing Empowerment project website.

Lars is an Associate Editor at The International Journal of Human Rights and on the editorial board of the Journal of Human Rights Practice. He has worked as a consultant for several organizations, including the International Center for Transitional Justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers.

‌ ‌Siobhan Warrington

Siobhan Warrington - Oral Testimony Works

Siobhan Warrington is a researcher and facilitator who has worked in the field of participatory research and communications for 25 years. She has worked with community-based organisations, international NGOs, UN agencies, photographers and the media on projects in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. Her work has supported those affected by displacement, poverty, HIV stigma and environmental degradation to become part of local, national and international debates about challenges and change.

In 2013, after 13 years at Panos London, she founded Oral Testimony Works which provides advice and training to NGOs, academic research partnerships and schools. It is also working to ensure the 20-year archive of Panos’ oral testimony work continues to be accessible to many and inspire new activities. She has built up a body of work on representation and ethical image making (research, guidelines, training materials, presentations and articles) including The People in the Pictures: Vital perspectives on Save the Children’s image making and forthcoming guidelines for the Bond network.

She is an editor of the Oral History journal and a mentor with the Girls network. She can be found on twitter @oraltestimony.

Other staff

Other staff

The following University of York staff contribute to both the work of the Centre and the teaching of the MA and LLM programmes:


Professor Neil Carter - Department of Politics

Neil is interested in all aspects of environmental politics and policy and is a founding member of the Centre for Ecology, Law and Policy at the University of York.

The second edition of his book, The Politics of the Environment: Ideas, Activism, Policy, was published in 2007. He has been awarded an ESRC grant of over £92,000 (with Dr Charlotte Burns) for a project titled 'Is the European Parliament an Environmental Champion?'. Neil was also commissioned by Friends of the Earth to produce a study of the Labour Government’s environment policies. See Neil Carter and David Ockwell, New Labour, New Environment? – an Analysis of the Labour Government's Policy on Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss, July 2007.

Nina Caspersen 

Dr Nina Caspersen - Department of Politics

Nina Caspersen's research focuses on intra-state conflicts in the Balkans and the Caucasus, strategies for conflict resolution, and ‌unrecognised states. Instead of viewing communal groups as homogeneous and static, her work focuses on internal divisions, political rivalry and popular mobilisation, which significantly influence the development of conflicts and the prospect for peaceful settlements. Her articles have appeared in several leading journals and her latest book is Unrecognized States: The Struggle for Sovereignty in the Modern International System (Polity, 2012).

Nina holds a PhD in Government from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Before joining the Department as Senior Lecturer in Politics in 2012, she was a Lecturer at Lancaster University.  

Nina convenes the MA module Peace-Agreements: Ending Intra-State Conflicts.

Claire Chambers

Dr Claire Chambers - Department of English and Related Literature

Claire Chambers is a specialist in Global Literature, with a particular interest in modern writing from South Asia, the Arab world, and their diasporas. She is the author of British Muslim Fictions: Interviews with Contemporary Writers, and is widely published in journals, including an interview with former Guantánamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg in Postcolonial Text. Claire is also the Co-editor of the Journal of Commonwealth Literature.

Claire's interest in the literature of the Indian subcontinent and 'the Muslim world' was originally ignited by the year she spent prior to university teaching in Peshawar, Pakistan. It continues to be informed by return visits to the region, and by engagement work with diasporic communities. She is currently completing a monograph entitled Representations of Muslims in Britain. Both texts in this two-book series are published by Palgrave Macmillan, and supported by funding from the British Academy and Arts and Humanities Research Council.

‌ jonathan eato profile

Dr Jonathan Eato‎ - Department of Music

Jonathan Eato is a composer, saxophone player and lecturer in the Department of Music with interests in a wide range of contemporary music; jazz, improvisation, South African popular music, interdisciplinary performance, music and postcoloniality, and music for dance. From 2007-2008 Jonathan was a visiting research fellow at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, working on questions of performance practice in South African jazz. In 2010 he produced 'Black Heroes' a new solo piano recording by South African jazz legend Tete Mbambisa which was released in 2012 by JISA Records. Jonathan is a regular collaborator with Craig Vear in the experimental duo ev2, and with choreographer Jacky Lansley. Most recently he's been working on Hannah Bruce's site responsive promenade performance piece, 'The Look of the Thing'. Jonathan curates the Jazz In South Africa research pages.

Alice Hall 

Dr Alice Hall - Department of English and Related Literature

Alice Hall is a Lecturer in Contemporary and Global Literature in the Department of English and Related Literature at York.

She did her undergraduate and doctoral studies at the University of Cambridge. She has since taught at Université Paris Diderot, La Sorbonne Nouvelle and Cambridge. Alice also completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the interdisciplinary Centre for Advanced Studies, University of Nottingham before coming to York.

Her teaching and research interests are in the area of contemporary and global literature, particularly literature and the body, disability, ageing, autobiographical fiction, and medical humanities.


david hickman profile


Dr David Hickman - Department of Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media

David is a documentary filmmaker whose recent work has explored human rights and related questions in the US, the Caribbean and South Asia. Race and Intelligence: Science's Last Taboo, his feature-length film for Channel 4, won the Grierson Award for best science documentary in 2010. With former BBC journalist Rageh Omaar, he travelled through the US, the UK and South Africa, in search of reasons for a troublingly persistent 'race gap' in IQ test data. In 2011 (and again with Rageh Omaar) David made three short films for the Al Jazeera series, Slavery: A 21st Century Evil. He recorded stories of child slavery in Haiti, bride trafficking in India and bonded slavery in Pakistan. David's earlier films and series (as producer or director) have picked up the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, two Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award. He has taught in the Department of Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media at York since 2009.


Dr Paul Johnson - Anniversary Reader, Department of Sociology

Paul graduated in 1997 with a BA in Sociology and Social Policy from the University of Durham, where he also  completed an MA, and then obtained a PhD from the University of Newcastle in 2002. He worked in the School of Applied Social Sciences at the University of Durham from 2002, and from 2006 he was Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Surrey. He moved to York in 2012 where he is Anniversary Reader in Sociology.

Paul's current research is concerned with a number of broad questions about the relationship between law, human rights, sexual orientation and intimacy. He has a general interest in the role and purpose of law in promoting (and protecting) particular kinds of sexuality and human relationships. His recent publications have focused on aspects of law and social control in the jurisdictions of England and Wales, Australia and the Council of Europe.


Dr Claire Smith - Politics

Claire (B.A. Hons (Oxford), MIA (Columbia), Ph.D. (LSE)) is a Lecturer in Post-War Recovery Studies at the Department of Politics and the Post-War Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU).

She moved to York in May 2011 from London, where she was a Teaching Fellow in Complex Emergencies at the London School of Economics (LSE) and War to Peace Transitions at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). She also held a Visiting Fellowship at the Crisis States Research Centre at the LSE in 2010. Claire completed her doctorate in Development Studies on the politics of democratic transition and post-conflict reconstruction in Indonesia at the LSE in 2009.

Claire specialises in the theory and politics of democratic transition and political change, with a particular interest in development, war, ethno-religious conflict, state building and the role of corruption in post-conflict reconstruction. She has a special interest in political dynamics in the wider Muslim world. Claire has research and policy experience in Indonesia, Cambodia and Lao PDR with the World Bank and several UN agencies.