UoE Students

Orla MurrayÓrla Meadhbh Murray
PhD Student & Tutor – Sociology, University of Edinburgh

My research uses the work of feminist sociologist Dorothy Smith to explore the organisation of UK higher education through texts, specifically student satisfaction surveys, research funding guidelines, and the Research Excellent Framework, which assesses the quality of academic research. I also teach extensively in sociology and human geography,  with a focus on qualitative research and feminism. My special interests include: institutional ethnography; intersectionality; identity; feminist epistemology; activism; theatre and performance.

Selected Publications:

Selected Conferences  Presentations:




Sarah GolightlySarah Golightly
PhD Candidate in Social Work, University of Edinburgh

Experience: As a PhD student, I am currently researching therapeutic boarding schools in the USA, focusing on the narratives of former students. My background is in social work practice in the UK, where I have specialised in supporting LGBT+ victims/survivors of domestic abuse, and LGBT+ young people experiencing homelessness.

Special interests: Mad Studies, Critical Disability Studies, Queer Theory, Feminist Research Methods, Anti-Oppressive Practice

Education: MScR Social Work (University of Edinburgh), MA Social Work (University of Sussex), BA Sociology (McGill University)

Published work:

  • Golightley, S. (2016) ‘Disabling Madness: Disrupting the mind-body divide‘, Asylum Magazine: The Magazine for a Democratic Psychiatry, Special Issue: Mad Studies Comes of Age (Part 1), 23(4), PCCS Books.
  • Tosh, J. and Golightley, S. (2016) ‘The Caring Professions, Not So Caring?: An Analysis of Bullying and Emotional Distress in the Academy‘, in Burstow, B. (eds.) Psychiatry Interrogated: An Institutional Ethnography. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 143-160.
  • Select Conferences:
    ‘Disabling Madness: Disrupting Mind Body Dichotomies’,
    2016 Disability Studies Conference, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK
  • ‘Transgender People’s Access to Domestic Violence Shelters’
  • 2014 Trans*Literate Conference, Hunter College, New York City, USA

Lauren WilksLauren Wilks
PhD Candidate in Sociology, University of Edinburgh

Experience: Drawing on sixteen months of ethnographic fieldwork, my PhD research explores the everyday lives and experiences of commuting domestic workers in West Bengal, India. I tutor on sociology and South Asian studies courses, and I am also involved ina student-led journal project and apeer support scheme for masters’ students. My special interests include: domestic labour, care, gender, class, social inequality, migration, mobility, commuting, work and labour, family and personal relationships.


  1. MSc by Research in Sociology, University of Edinburgh
  2. MA (hons) in History, University of Edinburgh

Published Work:

I have written about my research interests for various media publications, including Thomson Reuters FoundationThe Huffington PostThe Observer, and The Guardian. See: www.laurenwilks.wordpress.com


  • 2018 (scheduled to present). ‘Contestation and Constraint: Commuting Domestic Workers and their Employers in Contemporary Kolkata.’ Servants’ Pasts: 2nd International Conference, 11-13 April, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany.
  • ‘Does an Outsider Ever Become One’s Own?’ Commuting Domestic Workers and Employment Relations in Kolkata.’ Annual Meeting of the South Asia Anthropologists’ Group (SAAG),8 September, University of Edinburgh, UK.
  • ‘Everyday Violence and Resistance in the Personal Lives of Women Engaged in Daily Commuting and Domestic Work in West Bengal, India.’ Modern Matters: Negotiating the Future in Everyday Life in South Asia, 20-22 September, Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET), University of Lund, Sweden.

2017. ‘Gender, Migration, and Domestic Work in West Bengal, India.’ (En)gendering Migration: Narratives from South Asia and Beyond, 20 February, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata (IDSK), India.

Megan CanningMegan Canning
PhD Candidate (International Development)

Before returning to academia to pursue my PhD in 2014, I previously spent eight years working in the NGO sector both in the UK and in Africa. I worked as project manager for a development NGO in Malawi, splitting my time between Malawi and Scotland for more than six years, working on rural development projects in the areas of health, education and the environment. I’ve also worked on research in development related to entrepreneurship and economic empowerment. My academic research has focused on agribusiness in Africa, including ethnographic research analysing the gender dynamics of Malawi’s sugar industry in 2014; and 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork on a commercial sugar estate in Malawi between 2016/2017.

Special interests:
I’m interested in the political economy and anthropology of development in the Global South; with a special focus on the gender dynamics of development. I use gender- and intersectionality- as an organising category through which to explore the power dynamics of labour, livelihoods, and production in southern Africa. My work is interdisciplinary, but crosscuts the fields of development studies, African studies, anthropology, and feminist economics. My current PhD work is an ethnography of sugar production in Malawi, using an intersectional lens to explore the social and economic dynamics of agroindustrial development in Malawi.


  • 2014-present: PhD in International Development, University of Edinburgh
  • 2012-2014: MSc in International Development, University of Edinburgh
  • 2002-2006: MA Hons in Philosophy and English Literature, University of Glasgow

Published work:
Canning, M. (2017) ‘Sugar and Gender Relations in Malawi’, in Shortall, S. and Bock, B. (eds), Gender and Rural Globalisation: International Perspectives on Gender and Rural Development, Wallingford: CAB International Publishing.


  • Canning, M. (2017) ‘Life Inside the Bubble: the Sugar Estate as a Social Space’. Presented at the Centre of African Studies annual presentation day for PhD candidates in African Studies and International Development. University of Edinburgh. April 2017.
  • Canning, M. (2015) ‘Wage Labour and Livelihood Strategies in Malawi’s Plantation Economy’.  Presented at the Business, Investment, Trade and Tourism (BITT) Forum, Scotland Malawi Partnership, Edinburgh.  June 2015.
  • Canning, M. (2015) ‘Labour, Livelihoods and Gender Equality in the Malawian Sugar Industry’.  Presented at the 16th Annual Researching Africa Day, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford.  March 2015.

Other projects:
I am currently involved in teaching at the University of Edinburgh- including tutoring for undergraduate study in sustainable development, and international development, aid, and humanitarianism- as well as guest lecturing on the topic of agriculture and the rural economy in Africa.

Lisa KalayjiLisa Kalayji
PhD Student in Sociology, University of Edinburgh

Experience: My doctoral research is situated in the sociology of emotions, and explores emotion cultures in social movements through a case study of British radical feminist magazine Trouble and Strife. I specialise in documentary research methods, particularly involving archival documents of life. I teach feminist debates and the sociology of emotions.

Special interests: Sociology of emotions, feminist historiography, culture

Education: MSc Social Research; BA Philosophy

Select Conferences:

  • ‘The Anti-emotional Conjuncture in 1980s British Radical Feminism’, at British Sociological Association Emotions Study Group Conference, Salford, September 2017
  • ‘Reading Emotion from Textual Data: A Sociological Approach’, at European Sociological Association Annual Conference, Athens, August 2017
  • ‘The Textual is Political: Exploring Radical Feminist Emotion Culture through Book Reviews’, at British Sociological Association Annual Conference, Manchester, April 2017

kamyaKamya Choudhary
PhD Candidate in International Development at the School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh



Power and Transformation in Rural India: Understanding the Impacts of Solar-Powered Irrigation Pumping.

My research seeks to analyze the social and political consequences of the wide-scale shift to state-subsidized solar-powered irrigation pumping systems in Rajasthan, India. I focus on debates surrounding access, control, and sustainability to demonstrate how interactions with the technology for farmers are mediated by caste, class and gender axes.

Core Interests: India, Gender and Development, Agriculture, Sustainable Development, Irrigation, Water Resource Management, Solar Energy, Gender and Technology, Men and Masculinities.


  • 2016 – present: PhD International Development, The University of Edinburgh
  • 2015 – 2016: MSc International Development, The University of Edinburgh
  • 2012 – 2015: BA (Hons.) Political Science, The University of Delhi (Lady Shri Ram College)