Past Interns and Assistants: Natasha Dyer-Williams

In honour of GENDER.ED’s five year anniversary, we recently sat down with past undergraduate interns and PhD assistants to discuss their experiences at GENDER.ED, what gender and sexuality studies related work they are currently involved in, as well as to allow them the opportunity to give valuable advice to future interns and assistants. 


Today, we sit down with Natasha Dyer-Williams, a former PhD Assistant for GENDER.ED. This is what she had to say!



When did you work at GENDER.ED and what did you do here  


I helped with the relaunch of the website, managing the comms process and writing and editing text, as well as updating the database. I also worked with one of the GENDER.ED researchers, Rosalind Cavaghan, to research gender equality partnership opportunities with researchers and institutions as an opportunity for Edinburgh to set up a community of practice and as part of the GCRF requirements.    


What feminist work or research are you involved with now? Tell us about what you’re up to!   


I’m writing up my PhD, which is an intersectional comparative study of ‘everyday xenophobia’ as experienced by African migrant women in Johannesburg and London. I am also a consultant in international development and the humanitarian sector, so I apply my research and academic skills mostly as a practitioner, with occasional academic writing projects on the side.   


I use a mixed methodological approach of feminist ethnography and creative storytelling methods to capture and explore the narratives and lives of my African women migrant participants. So, time at GENDER.ED also helped expose me to some of the more creative methodological research approaches available.  



How do you think your time at GENDER.ED shaped your current work? What did you learn that you were able to draw on later?   


Some time at GENDER.ED helped me to understand how Edinburgh is working on gender ie cross-thematically and cross-departmentally and learn about other academics’ work on gender and sexuality, which has been useful for my research. It also gave me a chance to work with Fiona Mackay and others, so that was great.  


I think my time at GENDER.ED exposed me to useful research and academics working on themes that I have been able to draw on both in my PhD and my working life. Right now, I consult for a peacemaking NGO, that takes a strong gender-sensitive and responsive, inclusive approach to conflict dialogue and mediation, so having those resources to hand is useful in helping to shape their work.   


In my own PhD research, the lens I use is intersectional, so not only is gender used to analyse the concept of everyday xenophobia and the immigration systems, structures and processes of South Africa and the UK and how African migrant women navigate them, but it is a central one to my work. So having had GENDER.ED as a resource and hub for learning about such related work is excellent.   



What would you say to someone considering applying to work with GENDER.ED?  


Do it! Great way to spend some of your time during your studies at Edinburgh.