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News | 24th April 2024

Recipients of the 2024 Ignacio Ellacuría MPhil Thesis Grant Announced

Key Details

Integral Human Development
Natural Resources
Social Justice
Transdisciplinary Research
Integral Ecology
Latin America

The LSRI is pleased to announce the two latest recipients of the Ignacio Ellacuría MPhil Thesis Grant. This grant is open to MPhil students across all departments and faculties at the University of Oxford who are engaging in fieldwork as a component of their thesis. Its aim is to encourage students to develop projects that adopt an integral ecology approach to contemporary socio-ecological challenges.

Our two prize-winners for 2024 are:

Marc Mariner-Cortés is an MPhil student in Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology at the School of Anthropology & Museum Ethnography. Marc’s project will explore intersections of infrastructure development and landscape around Lake San Pablo, or "Imbakucha", in Ecuador, with special reference to the communities that live on the shore. As well as qualitative research techniques, Marc will be using photography to document and analyse ecological impacts, resulting in delivery of a visual report to the municipality of Otavalo providing anthropological insight into the caretakers’ socio-ecological problems.

Marlene Merchert is an MPhil student in the Department of International Development. Marlene’s project will explore the Hyphen site, a large green hydrogen project in Namibia, through an energy justice lens. She will be engaging with numerous stakeholders, including local communities, NGOs, government officials, academic experts, and industry representatives. Her work will use methods derived from complexity and systems science, including Participatory Systems Mapping to identify Sensitive Intervention Points.

Fieldwork visits will take place in summer 2024. Both students will have an opportunity to present to the LSRI in Spring 2025 to ensure integration of their findings into future LSRI methods and research.

The grant is named after Spanish-Salvadoran Jesuit Ignacio Ellacuría, who exemplified by his life, and death by the Salvadoran military dictatorship, a preferential option for the poor and for the earth, and a commitment to social transformation through intellectual inquiry.