Matthew Richmond studied for a PhD at both the Brazil Institute and Geography Department at King’s. Here, he explains about his work across Brazil and why he’s never left:
'I was very lucky to carry out my PhD research at King’s. I spent a year conducting fieldwork in two favelas in different parts of Rio de Janeiro and the King’s Brazil Institute gave me great supervision and helped me to build strong connections with researchers in Brazil.
'My research looked at the effect that new urban policies, linked to the 2016 Olympics, had on communities. I found that there was huge variation between favelas across the city, and that different policies were implemented in different ways. I also identified big differences in how individual residents sought to take advantage of opportunities available to them. Despite this diversity, it was clear that social, symbolic and institutional factors continued to collectively separate the favelas from the rest of Rio, much to the disadvantage of their residents.
'My fieldwork was hugely enjoyable and eye-opening and, alongside conducting research, I taught English and organised photographic history projects with residents in both communities. Needless to say, during this period I formed some great personal friendships as well as academic collaborations. I also witnessed an important moment of change in Brazil, as underlying social conflicts exploded onto the street in the mass protests of June 2013.