Cathy McIlwaine

I am a Professor of Development Geography at King’s College London, UK



I am a Professor of Development Geography at King's College London where I have been working since 2017. Previously, I worked in the School of Geography at Queen Mary, University of London between 1995 and 2017 (with a year’s secondment at the World Bank in Washington DC in 1998-1999).

My research focuses on gender and international development issues in the global South with specific reference to poverty, violence and employment in cities. I also work on international migration in London with a specific focus on the Latin American community in relation to transnational livelihoods, citizenship and political participation among migrants from a gendered perspective. Much of my research works at the interface between academic work and policy-making with a strong emphasis on impact. In relation to policy-making, I have worked with the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, the Commonwealth Secretariat and UN-Habitat on a range of different research projects, most recently on The State of Women in Cities 2012/13 with Sylvia Chant. I have also developed interests in equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at both Queen Mary and King's College London.

I am currently working on three projects; 1) Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) among Brazilian migrants in London and Rio de Janeiro (2016-2018 - funded by ESRC-Newton with Paul Heritage as CoI, People's Palace Projects, Casa Latin American Theatre Festival, the Latin American Women’s Rights Service, Redes da Mare and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro); 2) on the experiences of migrant women and VAWG in London, with the Latin American Women’s Rights Service as part of their Step Up Migrant Women campaign (2018-2019) 3) Resisting violence, creating dignity: negotiating Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) through community history-making in Rio de Janeiro (2019-2021 - funded by the British Academy with Paul Heritage as CoI, People's Palace Projects, Redes da Mare and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro).

I have also been working across the social sciences and the arts as a way of communicating research in new ways, especially through theatre and performance. As part of the Violence Against Brazilian women project, we created a verbatim theatre play called Efemera written by Gaël le Cornec about the experiences of Ana, a Brazilian migrant woman in London who had insecure immigration status and who had experienced violence (based on the interviews with the women included in the research). The play has been performed 8 times (in London, Rio de Janeiro and Brighton). We have also made Efemera into a short film called Ana. Most recently, I have been working with colleagues at King's College London and the Visual and Embodied Methodologies (VEM) network. Through this, we developed an Artists in Residence programme at Somerset House; Gael Le Cornec and I created a new sound-performance installation called Believe based on the Step Up Migrant Women research.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers, the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London, the Higher Education Academy, and an Associate Fellow of UCL-Institute of the Americas. I also serve as a trustee of the charity Latin Elephant, and the Latin American Bureau and an adviser at the Latin American Women's Rights Service. I have previously been a trustee at Children Change Colombia (2011-2017) and Carila Latin American Welfare Services (2005-2010).

Latest from Twitter

  • Elephant and Castle has provided economic, social and cultural lifelines for so many Latin Americans over the years… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
  • Today Elephant&Castle Shopping Centre closes its doors, while some traders are still waiting to be relocated. It is… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… Retweeted by Cathy McIlwaine
  • The Domestic Abuse Bill must provide protection & support for all DA victims including migrant women. This means be… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… Retweeted by Cathy McIlwaine
  • If you would like to share your work through the #feministperspectives blog, please get in contact with the editori… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… Retweeted by Cathy McIlwaine
  • Can you imagine a market without food? If @TfL has their way, that’s what will happen to the Latin Village. Please… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… Retweeted by Cathy McIlwaine