School of Modern Languages

Staff Profiles

Alex Young

Postgraduate Research Student


I am an ESRC-funded PhD candidate in Iberian and Latin American Studies. My research project critically analyses the transformation of Medellín, Colombia, with an emphasis on gender. The project is based on ethnographic research in Colombia and examines the contradictions and fractures that exist between local government policy and the lived experience within this urban environment. I graduated with a BA (Hons) in Politics from Newcastle University and an MSc in International Development from the University of Edinburgh. During my MSc I conducted research with Rural Reconstruction Nepal, focusing on gender and transformation in rural communities. I have previously worked in both the charity sector and the arts, including working as a researcher for Edinburgh Women’s Aid.



Dr Nick Morgan, Dr Amanda Chisholm and Dr Patricia Oliart

Gendering the strategies and experience of ‘transformation’ in Medellín, Colombia

This ESRC-funded project critically examines the ‘transformation’ of Medellín, Colombia, with an emphasis on gender. In a city that is globally recognised for its innovative strategies of development and reduction in levels of violence, gender inequality and violence continues to challenge local government and activists alike. Informed by feminist and critical pedagogical theories, this project firstly explores how gender has informed the policies, planning and successes of the urban transformation and secondly, examines the lived (gendered) experience of the city space.

Using a feminist ethnographic approach, sustained engagement with the urban space provides a rich insight into the lived experience of the city. Through engaging with representatives of local government, social movements and city residents I will provide a multi-layered account of the urban space and those who shape it. By paying attention to the gendered limitations of the urban ‘transformation’ we see how such changes continue to fall short in truly ‘transforming’ – a process that requires challenging the systems of power including, but not limited to, gender relations.

Research Interests

Gender, Feminisms, Ethnographic research, Critical Pedagogy, International Development, Cities, Urban Studies


'A City Transformed? The Gendered Political Economy of Violence and Urban Space', International Studies Association Annual Convention, March 2019, Toronto

'From Participatory to Participation: flexible feminist research practice in Medellín, Colombia', Gender and Development/DSA Women and Development Symposium, May 2018, Northumbria University, London campus

'Assessing Medellín's narrative of urban transformation through a gender lens', Latin American Studies Association Congress, May 2018, Barcelona

‘Education for Transformation: Its role in campaigns to reduce Gender-Based Violence in Colombia’, PILAS conference, June 2016, Newcastle University

Co-organiser and facilitator, International Development Conference, 2011, Newcastle University


Young, A. (2019) Creative Resistance in Medellín's Changing Public Space, NACLA. Vol 51(4): 341-347


LAS1010 - Introduction to Latin America, Seminar Leader

LAS4010 - Cultura y Política en Colombia, Lectures and Seminars

POL2078 - Critical International Politics, Seminar Leader

HASS8005 - Introduction to Quantitative Methods, Data Practical Assistant