• Annie Olaloku-Teriba

    PhD student in Psychosocial Studies. Birkbeck, 2021 to 2024

    Annie Olaloku-Teriba is starting a PhD in Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her research is driven by two very simple questions: How is ‘race’ made by us today? And how, in turn, does ‘race’ make us? She is particularly interested in constructing a conceptual history of ‘blackness’, tracing how our thinking about this category has changed in the last sixty years and the different social worlds that various approaches to ‘blackness’ imply. She investigates how the languages of race available to us are shaped by the specific material conditions of our society, and then in turn, how these languages of race shape not just how we think about race – but what
    possibilities there are to liberate ourselves from it. She is passionate about finding ways to make liberatory thought accessible to all.

    Annie received her BA in History and Politics from the University of Oxford in 2016, focusing in particular on histories and legacies of Empire in Africa and its diasporas. In the time since, she has been an independent researcher offering an historical approach to contemporary questions in ‘race’ and racialisation. She has written and spoken extensively, with her analysis being appearing in Historical Materialism Journal, Aljazeera English, Channel 4, BBC Radio 1Xtra, and Freize Magazine among others. In 2020, she founded Black as in Revolution, an event series and Youtube channel centring
    the contemporary relevance of Black radical thought.

    This year, Annie became part of the Salvage Journal Editorial Collective, and the host of the Salvage Live series, in collaboration with Haymarket books. She also freelances, curating exhibitions and workshops which bring histories of solidarity to life for young people.

    Most importantly, Annie is the very proud mum of an active and exceedingly cheeky toddler.

    Annie Headshot
  • Jennifer Putnam

    PhD student in History. Birkbeck, 2020 to 2023

    Jennifer is a PhD student in History at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her research focuses on contemporary graffiti in sites of the Holocaust. She is interested in individual acts of resistance against the Nazi regime, how prisoners and guards interacted with the built environment around them, and unconventional forms of communication. She will document and catalogue the graffiti herself, creating a template that can be used at other sites of imprisonment and genocide.

    Jennifer received an MA in Modern History and Politics from Birkbeck College as the Eric Hobsbawm scholar for the 2019–2020 class. Her dissertation focused on the mail system in Auschwitz, comparing the official rules against the lived experiences of prisoners. She also has an MPhil in Linguistics from Trinity College Dublin, writing a dissertation entitled “Critical Discourse Analysis & Graffiti: A Case Study of Prisoner Number Graffiti in Auschwitz I”. Her BA is in Literature and Languages from Loyola University Chicago.

    Her wider research interests include modern graffiti, comparative genocide research, philately, Jewish history, Cuban history, and resistance movements. Jennifer speaks four languages – Polish, French, Spanish, and English – and is learning two more – Yiddish and German.

    Jennifer Putnam
  • David Rypel

    MPhil/PhD in Slavonic and East European Studies UCL, 2020 to 2023

    (The Bonnart Trust UCL Endowed Fund)

    David’s research investigates how different understandings and practices of security interweave with the question of belonging. Focusing on the experience of queer people in Georgia, he is particularly interested in whether non-dominant understandings of security can escape the exclusivist logic the concept is notorious for.

    How does our desire for security interweave with the question of belonging, that is, the matter of where our communities begin and end? The relation seems to be rather worrying: Various endeavours supposedly aimed at enhancing our security, such as anti-terrorist measures, have notoriously produced categories of undesired people.

    David’s research asks whether there are alternatives to dominant understandings and practices of security that would yield less exclusivist dynamics. To this end, he explores what forms and meanings security assumes among queer people in Georgia and how they interact with belonging.

    Before joining UCL SSEES, David received an MSc in Social Sciences (Research) from the University of Amsterdam and an Mgr in Security & Strategic Studies from Masaryk University.

  • Rebecca (or Bex) Shorunke

    MA student in Culture, Diaspora and Ethnicity Birkbeck, 2021 to 2023

    Rebecca (Bex) Shorunke is an MA student in Culture, Diaspora and Ethnicity at Birkbeck College, University of London. She has just begun her studies and is interested in challenging the Eurocentric frameworks through which we have been taught to regard history, and exploring the contributions of discourses and movements, including coloniality, Enlightenment, Eugenics and fascism, in determining what we now regard as ‘race’.

    She is also interested in exploring the relationship between sex and race. This will help her gain a deeper understanding into queer theory and the interactions between race, sexuality, gender, disability and class with the criminal justice system and wider society. And within that, the merging of race and sex to create ethnosexual borders that include and exclude certain groups to create patterns of hypersegregation around the world.

    Bex completed her BA in English Literature at the University of Manchester in 2016. Her dissertation focused on the representation of African American women in poetry and prose in the seventies and eighties, and their use of the arts as an act of resistance to racist and sexist attitudes of the time. Following graduation, she worked at arts publishers and continued to build her portfolio of freelance journalism. She writes about intersectionality, social welfare, homelessness, and culture and has written about issues such as FGM, portrayals of blackness in the arts and the deportation of asylum seekers for Inside Housing, Stylist, Gal-dem, Dazed, Time Out, Stonewall and more.

    For the last year and a half Bex has been working at the LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity Akt (formerly the Albert Kennedy Trust) to raise public awareness into LGBTQ+ youth homelessness and it’s wrap around themes. These include racism, gender-based violence, mental health, substance misuse, sex work and trauma. She drives media and political campaigns to influence changes in policy and through the media platforms the often-marginalised stories of queer, trans and disabled people of colour who are facing homelessness.

    In her spare time Bex enjoys film, documentaries, theatre and Crossfit.

    Bex copy
  • Shereen Hunte

    MA student in Culture, Diaspora and Ethnicity Birkbeck, 2020 to 2022

    Shereen Hunte is an MA student in Culture, Diaspora and Ethnicity at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her research will examine the relationship between the Black British Community and the British Jewry. She strongly believes that a deeper insight into these two minorities communities in the UK can spark a powerful mutual understanding, growth and activism and consequently, disrupt the root of racial, cultural and religious intolerance. Thus far, she has completed an assignment on the relationship between the Shoah and other histories of coloniality and genocide. Currently, in her second term, she is undertaking a module on Modern Europe and Its Others: Jew, Muslim, Blacks.

    Shereen completed her BA in Italian and Classics from University of Warwick in 2016, specialising in the self-representation of minority communities in both the modern and ancient landscapes of Italy. During her study at the University of Warwick, she spent a year abroad studying at the University of Bologna, Italy. In 2016, she founded a community group for black women which she continues to lead to this day. Following the completion of her BA, she has spent the last four years in the Museum and Heritage Sector. Currently, she works at the Jewish Museum London and is responsible for the museum’s Black History Programme, community-based exhibitions and delivering school workshops on Judaism, Jewish History and the Holocaust. She also freelances for The Black Curriculum, delivering workshops and supporting their museum partnership programme.

    In her spare time, Shereen enjoys painting and writes a blog, based on books and experiences that continue to shape her life.

    She also freelances for The Black Curriculum, delivering workshops and supporting their museum partnership programme.

    Shereen Hunte
  • Oliver Trowell

    MSc in International Development Birkbeck, 2020 to 2022

    I am currently studying for an MSc in International Development, following the completion of a BA in Global Politics and International Relations at Birkbeck University last year. I began my studies later in life due to a progressive illness I have suffered since birth, which was partially resolved following a life-changing operation I received at the age of twenty. Nevertheless, the time I spent unwell gave me plenty of opportunities for independent study, which was largely focused on the politics, history and culture of the Middle East; with my interest originally spurred by the Arab Spring in 2010 and 2011.

    I decided to study at Birkbeck as the evening courses it offers enabled me to begin a career relevant to my interests. I started my career working in the NGO sector, in strategic communications as a politics and conflict analyst, during which the focus of my work was to counter the messaging of extremist groups operating out of Syria and Iraq.

    I also participated in a counter-extremism initiative with young people from religious and community groups across London with training from the Mayor of London’s office. I presently work in public affairs for the real estate sector, which involves lobbying local politicians, MPs and community groups, and supporting the planning application process on behalf of large-scale property developers.

    Oliver Trowell
  • Zehra Miah

    PhD student in History Birkbeck, 2019 to 2022

    Zehra is a PhD student in History at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her research considers whether ethnic, religious and racial labels have helped or hindered the integration and development of Turkish migrants in the UK between 1971-1999. Framed as an oral history project focussed on the London boroughs of Hackney and Haringey her work will specifically interrogate the labels ‘white’ and ‘Muslim’ in relation to the Turkish diaspora and how these labels have changed and impacted the community over time. Zehra’s research, whilst historically grounded, will engage with sociological and ethnographic studies using the Turkish speaking migrant population as a case study to extrapolate difficulties, invisibility and the prejudice experienced by other migrant groups.

    Zehra completed her BA in history at Birkbeck College, University of London in 2015 and followed this with an MA in European History as the Eric Hobsbawm Scholar graduating in 2018. Her MA dissertation titled ‘”The Ugly King in Paris”: Turkish Exile in Europe, 1971-1999’ used a micro-historical approach to examine the Turkish experience of exile in Europe. Her wider research interests include poverty, female criminality, trans-nationalism and intersections between race, class, generation and gender.

    Zehra Miah
  • Jahan Foster

    PhD candidate in Geography, Environment and Development Studies Birkbeck , 2018 to 2021

    Jahan is a PhD candidate in Geography, Environment and Development Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her research examines the social reproduction strategies of Latin American transnational families living in London, with a view to understanding how the work of social reproduction is organised around inequalities of class, race, gender and migration status. The research is situated within a wider context of austerity politics and the impact of austerity on migrant families and migrant children. Jahan’s research engages with feminist geographies and adopts a feminist political economy approach in order to develop perspectives on transnational childhoods and social reproduction. Her methodological techniques will include interviews, focus groups and ethnographic observations.

    Jahan completed her BA in Politics and French from University of Bristol in 2013, during which she spent a year living in Paris studying Political Science at Université Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne. She received her MSc in Children, Youth and International Development from Birkbeck College in 2017 and has since been working as a research assistant with an independent health charity. Her broad research interests are transnationalism, gender studies, and geographies of children, with a focus on the intersections of gender, race and class. Outside of academic studies, Jahan plays in a south London netball league, and has been learning Urdu for the last 6 months.

    Jahan Foster2