TJI PhD Researchers
PhD researcher profiles and research publications.
About Deirdre Nelson
Deirdre Nelson commenced her PhD studies with TJI in October 2013. Prior to that, Deirdre had completed her LLB (Hons) Law with Government at the University of Ulster, graduating in 2008. She then went on to successfully complete her LLM Human Rights Law at the Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster, graduating in the summer of 2012. Deirdre's PhD research draws on her vast experience within the sporting field. Deirdre is a former Ladies European Kickboxing Champion and has represented Northern Ireland on several occasions. She also created history by being the first woman to box professionally in Northern Ireland in October 2000. However, it was her successful sex discrimination case against the Boxing Union of Ireland, in 2001, which led to Deirdre's doctoral research. Hence, her doctoral research will critically examine the role that law plays in addressing gender equality in sport.
About Christina Taylor
Title of project
Women of the Troubles: Gender, Violence and the Paramilitary in Northern Ireland.
Start date: October 2014
Christina Taylor completed a BA International at University College, Dublin, RoI. In her third year, Christina was awarded a scholarship for international studies at Lund University, Sweden. In 2013/2014, she completed postgraduate studies at the INCORE centre, Ulster University. Throughout her time at university, Christina actively engaged in the areas of conflict and gender studies. She was awarded the Universitas 21; International Summer School Scholarship, 2011 - reflecting on global engagement with the conflict in Northern Ireland. She has also collaborated on a volunteer basis, with the Irish-British Studies Institute, the Women's Irish History Association and the Forum for Cities in Transition. Christina's research, based at the Transitional Justice Institute, centres on an analysis of ex-combatant women in Northern Ireland.
About Hedley Abernethy
Title of Project
The True Cost Of Reparations: Trauma, Memory and Victim-Identity in Northern Ireland
Hedley Abernethy grew up In Belfast during the height of the Troubles, and his PhD study is a direct consequence of five years with WAVE Trauma Centre, an organisation supporting victims of the political violence in Northern Ireland. Prior to this, Hedley graduated with an MA in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia, before going on to work with Catholic Relief Services at their headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. He has worked with church and para-church youth organisations in Northern Ireland, and his PhD studies sees him return to Ulster University from which he graduated with a degree in community youth work in 2000.
Ana Martin Beringola
About Ana Martin Beringola
Intersectionality: operationalizing a gender analysis of sexual violence in international criminal law.
Ana researches ‘intersectionality’ as a method to improve the analysis of sexual and gender-based violence in international criminal law. She considers an intersectional framework based on feminism and international human rights law and applies it to case studies of international crimes of sexual and gender-based violence. The thesis demonstrates that intersectionality enables understanding of the causes, harms, and gravity of international crimes of sexual and gender-based violence, avoiding discrimination in access to justice and in consistency with a human rights interpretation.
Ana has a background as an international lawyer. She worked as a consultant for Amnesty International Spain between 2011 and 2014 dealing with the international crimes committed during the civil war and dictatorship. Ana was a legal officer for ECPAT International in 2014-2015, in Bangkok, where she worked against the commercial and sexual exploitation of children, especially online sexual exploitation. In 2016 and 2017 she joined the EU Genocide Network in The Hague, a network of Member States for investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Ana holds a LLM in International Humanitarian Law (Geneva Academy) and a MSc in International Crimes and Criminology (Vrije University Amsterdam). She has a LLB in Spanish law (Complutense University) and a LLB in French law (Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne).
About Leo Green
Title of project
Consociationalism – A False Dawn? An examination of the capacity of consociational power-sharing arrangements to effect a rights-based social transformative agenda.
Leo graduated from the Transitional Justice Institute, Ulster University with an LLM in Human Rights Law and Transitional Justice in December 2016. He has many years’ experience of politics and political negotiations in Northern Ireland, working previously as both a Special Advisor and a party-political director at the NI Assembly in Stormont. Leo’s PhD project involves a comparative study of the outworking of power-sharing arrangements in both Northern Ireland and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and will critically examine the capacity of these arrangements to effect social transformation.
McElhone - Jessica
McElhone - Jessica
About Cristal Palacios
Cristal Palacios Yumar is a 3rd year PhD researcher at the Transitional Justice Institute.
Her research focuses on collective trauma and other psychosocial dimensions of the Venezuelan diaspora and its potential for agency in transitional justice processes in the country.
Cristal is a psychologist by training and was a Chevening Scholar at Ulster University's MSc program in Applied Peace and Conflict Studies last year.
Before joining TJI, she was also director of Psiquearte, a Caracas-based NGO providing creative arts based psychosocial support to communities affected by urban and political violence.
About Nisan Alici
Title of Project
Transitional Justice in an Ongoing Conflict: A victim-centred analysis of Transitional Justice mechanisms in the context of the Kurdish Conflict
Nisan joined the TJI in October 2018. Her project is on “Transitional Justice in an Ongoing Conflict: A victim-centred analysis of Transitional Justice mechanisms in the context of the Kurdish Conflict.” She holds a Master’s degree in International Conflict and Security from the University of Kent, UK and a BA in Political Science and International Relations from Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey.
Nisan is the co-founder of the Demos Research Association for Peace, Democracy and Alternative Politics and has been working in Demos as a researcher since 2015. Previously, she worked as an advisor in the Turkish Parliament. Her research interests include critical peace, gender, victimhood, and transitional justice.
About Howard Ayo
Howard’s project is on ‘National Action Plan On Business and Human Rights: Implications for Human Rights Obligations of the State and Business Enterprises. Comparative Study of Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania’. He holds a Masters of Business Administration (2015) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Management (2011) from Uganda Management Institute, and Bachelor’s Degree in Development Studies from Mbarara University of Science and Technology (2007), Uganda.
He has over eight years of experience with the United Nations Human Rights in Uganda focusing broadly on technical assistance and capacity building for different interlocutors on Economic Social and Cultural Rights and specifically, National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Human Rights Indicators and Human Rights Based Approach to Data. His current research focuses on the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights and Implications for Human Rights Obligations of the State and Business Enterprises. This research is informed by the United Nations Protect, Respect and Remedy framework (2011) and the increased business and human rights related impacts on the rights-holders. Further, it also addresses a call by the Human Rights Council for Member States to adopt National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights.
About Sasha Gillespie
After a career as a special education teacher for almost a decade, Sasha returned to study for her LLB and LLM. The combination of background and recent experiences at the Ulster Law Clinic while studying Access to Justice, her focus sharpened on Social Justice. She has a particular interest in the experiences of those who care for the disabled in employment, the welfare system and wider social participation in the context of equality law theory, and feminist perspectives.
Sasha’s project focuses on whether there is a discriminatory impact of the legal framework upon carers that is likely to cause social exclusion, poverty and significant barriers to entering or remaining in employment. Her research is interested in the experiences of carers and potential legal and policy approaches to encourage positive attitudes, inclusion and equality for this increasingly large section of society.
About Nada Ahmed
Title of project
Narratives of Perpetration in Transitional Justice Mechanisms: The Cases of Libya, Tunisia & Egypt
Nada Ahmed has worked as a lawyer and human rights research after she obtained a master degree in human rights law from Paris during which she worked with Human Rights Watch, in their Paris office and a bachelor degree in international law from both Paris 1 Sorbonne University and Cairo University.
She worked with Egyptian prominent human rights lawyer Negad El Borai on public opinion cases like the foreign funding case or the assembly law case in Egypt. She also worked with El Borai as a researcher as she wrote various papers about travel ban and enforced disappearances but most importantly she proposed, researched and drafted the Prisoners' handbook: a Q & A about the prison rules and regulations in Egypt. Nada also worked as a researcher interviewing torture victims, monitoring and documenting torture cases with Nation Without Torture campaign.
She joined Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in December 2018 as a non-resident fellow with a focus on Egypt security sector and transitional justice in Tunisia. To pursue her in interest for transitional justice, she joined the Transitional Justice Institute in Ulster University for her PhD focusing on Narratives of Perpetration in transitional justice mechanisms in three MENA region countries: Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.
About Danielle Gallagher
Title of project
Engendering Justice? A feminist exploration of the relationship between trafficked persons and the Criminal Justice System in Northern Ireland.
Danielle Gallagher’s project, ‘Engendering Justice? A feminist exploration of the relationship between trafficked persons and the Criminal Justice System in Northern Ireland’ proposes the development of a more creative participatory methodology for researching with trafficked persons, and the relevant NGOs, to provide much needed knowledge regarding their experience of the criminal justice system. She aims to discover how gender affects access to justice in this context. Further intended outcomes include foregrounding the voices of trafficked persons in the relevant academic and policy discourse, and expanding the use of creative methodologies in sociolegal research to better serve marginalised groups.
Prior to beginning her PhD research in 2019, Danielle graduated from Ulster University’s LLB Law and Criminology programme with first class honours. She has undertaken research for the Department of Justice into defining Access to Justice, for Family Mediation NI into alternative dispute resolution, and with both Mercy Global Action (trafficking) and Mercy International Association (heritage). She has previously trained in both fine art (Belfast Met, 2012), and theatre (Lancaster University, UK, 2004-05), and has experience in community arts facilitation. In her ‘spare’ time she is the artistic director of a site-specific theatre company, Escapade, whose focus is foregrounding gender and political issues through the works of Shakespeare, and the co-director of Enniskillen Light Operatic Society.