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Professor Cathy McIlwaine has a BA (Geography) and MA (Latin American Studies) from the University of Liverpool and a PhD from the London School of Economics. Prior to joining King's, Cathy held positions in the Geography Departments of the London School of Economics and Political Science (1994-5) and at Queen Mary University of London (1995-2017). She also worked at the World Bank as a Social Scientist Research Project Manager (1-year secondment) in Washington DC(1998-9).

Cathy has served or is currently serving as a trustee for the following organisations: Carila Latin American Welfare Group (2006-9), Children Change Colombia (2010-17), Latin Elephant (2014-present) and the Latin American Bureau (2019-present). She is also an advisory board member of the Latin American Women’s Rights Service (2017-present) and is an Advisory Council Member for the Institute of Latin American Studies, London (2013-present).

She became Vice Dean (Research) for the Faculty of Social Sciences and Public Policy (SSPP) on 1 October 2020 and is also leading the Department of Geography's Athena Swan activities.

Cathy's website


Cathy’s research revolves around issues of gender, poverty and violence in cities, especially in Latin America, and among migrants in London. The latter focuses on low-paid migrant workers in general and specifically the Latin American community in relation to transnational livelihoods, citizenship and political participation from a gendered perspective.

Her current research projects are on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) amongst Brazilian migrants in London and among those living in the favela of Maré in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Newton Fund) and on the experiences of migrant survivors of VAWG with insecure immigration status (funded by the Latin American Women’s Rights Service through the Lloyds Bank Foundation) as well as a British Academy project on resisting gendered violence and creating dignity among women in Rio de Janeiro.

Cathy also works with arts and theatre organisations, such as the People’s Palace Projects, CASA Latin American Theatre Festival and Footprint Productions. She has collaboratively produced (with Gaël le Cornec) a verbatim theatre play (Efêmera), a short film based on this (Ana) and a sound-performance installation (Believe) all based on her research on violence against women and girls. She co-coordinates the King's Visual and Embodied Methodologies Network.

In the video below Cathy talks us through her new project 'Resisting violence, creating dignity: negotiating Violence against women and girls (VAWG) through community history-making in Rio de Janeiro'


Cathy’s teaching focuses on gender and development in the global South, transnational migration and Latin American London.



PhD supervision

Cathy has extensive expertise in supervising PhD students, including on the following subjects. She welcomes students seeking to pursue PhD supervision for:

  • gender and cities in the Global South
  • transnational livelihoods
  • migrant labour
  • migrant citizenship and political participation
  • violence against women and girls (VAWG) in the Global South and amongst migrants in the UK
  • Latin London: the Latin American migrant community in London

Further details

See Cathy's research profile