2017 - 2018 PILAS Committee


Richard George Smith (University of Liverpool) | r.g.smith@liverpool.ac.uk
Richard originally trained as a chemist at the Universities of Oxford and Sussex before embarking on a career in consumer product innovation with Unilever. This took him all over the world, including three years living in Buenos Aires and many years working and travelling across the length and breadth of Latin America. After leaving Unilever, he was innovation lead for the regional development agency Yorkshire Forward, and, following their demise in 2010, he has worked with universities in the north of England developing initiatives linked to low carbon economies and sustainable agri-food systems.
Upon returning to the UK after living in Argentina, Richard gained a BA (Hons) in Spanish, French and History from the Open University, before obtaining a Distinction for his MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Liverpool in 2016. He was awarded the José Herrera Oropeza Prize I for the best postgraduate essay in Latin American Studies in 2015 and a UGA Franklin College-University of Liverpool Doctoral Student Short-Term International Research Fellowship in 2016. Since receiving his MA, he has been working part-time on his PhD, which concerns the opposition to Pinochet’s military government in Chile during the 1980s. His research interests include social movements, social network analysis, revolutionary Christianity, Liberation Theology, political violence and radical left wing politics.


Joanna Morley (University of Liverpool) | jomorley0212@hotmail.co.uk
Joanna Morley completed an MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights in 2015, graduating with distinction. She will begin an MRes / PhD in Latin American Studies in 2017, funded by an ESRC-NWDTC 1+3 Studentship. Her PhD research will use the Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) methodology to make an evidence-based evaluation of how hydroelectric dams in Ecuador affect the ability of individuals, groups and communities to exercise and enjoy their rights. Joanna’s research interests include the human rights impacts on local communities of international development policies linked to natural resource exploitation, particularly focussing on Chinese investments in Latin America.

Her published articles include: ‘“...Beggars sitting on a sack of gold”: Oil exploration in the Ecuadorian Amazon as buen vivir and sustainable development’ and ‘Extreme energy, “fracking” and human rights: a new field for human rights impact assessments?’ (co-author), both in the International Journal of Human Rights. Joanna’s previous career in marketing and book publishing provides her with experience including liaising between project teams, stakeholders and internal and external suppliers to delivering projects, including events within tight deadlines. She is currently the Events Coordinator for the Amnesty International UK Children’s Human Rights Network (a voluntary position), and in this role has delivered panel discussions and workshops.



Jeremy John Gunson (University of Manchester) | jeremy.gunson@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk
A PhD candidate in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester, Jeremy obtained a first class honours BA in Latin American Studies at the University of Liverpool in 2010. He obtained an MA in Anthropological Research at the University of Manchester in 2014, and has since been working on a PhD project entitled ‘Alternative Currencies and Social Movements: the case of the Mercado Alternativo Túmin’, in the Department of Social Anthropology at the same institution. Jeremy carried out 18 months fieldwork with members of an alternative currency network in Mexico.

His research interests include money; exchange; value; creativity and social movements. As part of his research, Jeremy participated in a number of forums, workshops and talks on the Solidarity Economy in Mexico. Jeremy helped organise the NWDTC funded conference ‘Impact and its Discontents’ at the University of Manchester in May 2017. Jeremy is funded by an ESRC-NWDTC 1+3 Studentship, and has also been awarded the Presidential Doctoral Scholars Award for Outstanding Doctoral Candidates.

Past Committees


President: Lourdes Parra Lazcano; Vice-President: Jesús Sanjurjo; Secretary & Treasurer: Valentina Caruso; Communications Officer:Peter Watson


President: Laura S. Sariego-Kluge; Vice-President: Diana Morales-Arcila; Treasurer: HéctorBezares-Buenrostro; Secretary & Communications Officer: Ivone Campos-Luna; Communications Officer: Jorge Altamirano-Flores


Co-Chairs: Megan Ryburn and Rachel Randall, Vice-Chair: Esther Ojulari, Secretary: Natalie Hoskin, Treasurer: Pablo Torres, Conference Team: Emily Baker


President: Jose Angel Garcia, Secretary: Christian Beyle, Treasurer: Ramón I. Centeno, Communications Officer: Marcia A. Vera Espinoza, Webmaster/developer: Jennifer Nelson.


President: Sarah Parry, Secretary: Jenny Wattrus, Web Officer: Rachael Boothroyd, Communication Officer: Benjamin Inman.


President: María Mancilla García, Secretary: Claudia Contreras Rojas, Treasurer: Patricia Espinoza, Website Editor: Gisela Robles Aguilar, Network Developer: Cintia Kulzer Sacilotto, Communications Officer:Ivan González de Alba, Social Events Officer: Carmen Contreras Romero, Panel Organizer: Annette Idler


The 2010-2011 PILAS Committee was based at the University of Cambridge. Andrew Tillman and Catriona McAllister served as Co-Presidents with the following committee members: Lucy Bell (Secretary), Stella Krepp (Treasurer), Katy Critchfield and Joey Whitfield (Social Events), and Juan Pablo Scarfi (Keynote Organiser). Cara Levey of the University of Leeds undertook the advisory role of Past President. An outline of the year’s events can be found in the 2010-2011 Annual Report.


The 2009-2010 PILAS Committee was based at the University of Manchester, and also included members from other universities in the region. In December, after the resignation of the elected President due to unforeseen personal circumstances, Cara Levey (Secretary, University of Leeds) and Chandra Morrison (Past President, University of Cambridge) acted as Co-Presidents for the remainder of the academic year. Susanne Hofmann and Ainhoa Montoya served as Conference Coordinators at the University of Manchester, leading the Manchester team which included Rachel Wilde (Treasurer); Logistics Team: Carolina Corral, Kirsten Howarth, Pablo Jaramillo, Siobhan McGrath, Jessica Pineda Zumarán, Germán C. Prieto, Giulia Sirigu; Programme Management: Ania Kowalczyk, Robin de la Motte; Social Events: Félix Aponte González, Alex Flynn, George Oliveira Bentley, Patrick O’Shea, Hugo Romero, Jacqueline Romo, María Ximena Sanclemente. A review of the year’s events is outlined in the 2009-2010 Annual Report.


The 2008-2009 PILAS Committee was based at the University of Cambridge, and comprised of the following members: Chandra Morrison (President), Jordana Blejmar (Secretary), Matthew Butler (Conference Secretary), Stefanie Gänger, Carrie Gibson, Natalie Krol, and Joanna McGarry. All committee members were PhD students in either the Centre of Latin American Studies (CLAS) or the Department of History. The year’s PILAS activities are summarised in the 2008-2009 Annual Report.


The 2006-2007 PILAS Committee was based at the University of Liverpool, and consisted of the following members: Daniel Huerta Conde (President), Violeta Mayer (Secretary), Heinrich Kramarski, Gregorio Perez, Helen Porter, and Katinka Weber.

Long-Term Development Initiatives

Each year, the PILAS Committee undertakes at least one long-term development initiative, so as to continue improving PILAS as a useful resource for our postgraduate community! Below are some of the projects carried out by past Committees: 

2013-14 – Developed an ‘Experts Directory’ to facilitate communication and enhance research networks between members of PILAS.

2010-11 – Introduced a third annual event for PILAS members, PILAS @ The British Library, to provide further information about research resources and an additional opportunity for PILAS members to meet. Wrote ‘The Rough Guide to PILAS’, a detailed document about the running of PILAS for future committees, to improve continuity from year to year. Set up the PILAS twitter account.

2009-2010 – Expanded the website content, including the addition of downloadable ‘Research Resources’ documents accessible via the website; and reinitiated the use of the PILAS JISCMail forum, in efforts to improve networking and dissemination of information among postgraduates.

2008-2009 – Developed the permanent website and email account, in an effort to create a stable base for PILAS as an institution and to maintain continuity between committees.