Emily Yeates: 'Africa Beyond Brexit' Research Assistant
MPA student Emily Yeates discusses her experience as a research assistant for the 'Africa Beyond Brexit' project.
By Research Assistant intern, Emily Yeates
I am currently interning as a research assistant for the project ‘Africa beyond Brexit: Ideas and Practices of Postcolonial Engagement in a Changing Global Order’ based in the Department of Politics and in collaboration with the Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre (IGDC). This project seeks to create and engage with a new research agenda that uses Brexit as a basis of discussion for UK relations with Africa, set into a wider context of changing global power dynamics. The focus of my work has been on creating a literature review and to support Dr Peg Murray-Evans and Dr Nicole Beardsworth on their ‘Africa Beyond Brexit’ workshop to be held in December.
The literature review that I am currently working on is based on post-colonialism, ‘Britishness’ and race within UK-Africa relations in trade and foreign policy. Here, the emphasis is on how ideas and concepts can shape discussions and policy. Brexit has opened up a debate around British identity and legacy and this is particularly interesting in relation to Africa and the context of a changing global order. As a new and upcoming research area, Brexit is a fascinating topic, therefore it will be interesting to see how this framework develops in the future.
As a Public Administration (MPA) masters student, this project has allowed me to enhance my skills in the broader field of politics within an interdisciplinary environment. This project has developed my interest in international relations, trade policy and foreign policy, as well as learning more about Africa. More specifically, it has opened up new areas of research to me that I can develop moving forward in my career.
From this project, I have learnt how to apply my research skills, improved my communication skills and increased my confidence. Plus, I have gained unique insight into working in an academic environment and learnt to ask for help from the team when needed. This opportunity has given me a chance to critically self-reflect on areas I can work on for future development and further still, helping to organise the ‘Africa Beyond Brexit’ workshop has given me valuable experience in event organisation.
Working at the IGDC, I have gained a greater appreciation for the role of research in making a difference within society and it has given me more insight into possible career paths. Going forward, my experience has made me more motivated to pursue a career in the public sector and has inspired me to consider a PhD in the future.
I would like to thank Peg for the continued support as well as Nicole and the whole team at the IGDC for the friendly, welcoming and open atmosphere. I would recommend anybody to work or intern here, it is a great opportunity and invaluable experience.