Melissa Williams

PHD Scholar | White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership (WRDTP) | 2021 - 2024

I am a Law (LLB), Applied Human Rights (MA) graduate and incoming ESRC and Stuart Hall Foundation Scholar (MRes and PhD) at the University of York. I was raised in Merseyside by White British and Afro-Jamaican parents and am the first of my family to attend University.

I have worked as a Discrimination Caseworker and Adviser, supporting individuals with protected characteristics with discrimination related advice and casework. I am also an active member of a number of local Equality and Diversity Working Groups and am a Trustee, and Equality and Diversity Board member of my local Citizens Advice and Law Centre. I have also worked within varying organisations as a Research Assistant, both within the Academic sphere on an ESRC-funded project, and for an International Charity.

I am a co-founder and coordinator of the ‘Anti-Racism Working Group’ at the University of York, a group of Post-Graduate Students and University Staff who work to increase University-wide knowledge of racism, hold enriching panel events, and push for better representation of Black scholars and a diversification of resources and reading lists. The Anti-Racism Working Group is currently working to become a ‘Hate Crime’ reporting network too, to further support the University community.

My research interests are Migration, Immigration Policy, State Racism, Hate Crime, National Identity, Belonging, Afro-Caribbean Diasporic communities, and Equality. My PhD is a socio-legal investigation of the role of Immigration Legislation in the ontological ‘un-homing’ of British, Windrush Descendants. It will draw upon a triangulation of qualitative data, primarily developed by those of Afro-Caribbean lineage, such as interviews, books, poetry, and music.

My research interests and PhD research are greatly inspired by the life work of Stuart Hall, and so I feel honoured to have been selected for this scholarship and to be joining such an enriching network.