three Students walking in Nidd Foyer

Postgraduate study

A PhD or Masters from the Wilberforce Institute is more than a qualification. Our students’ research and study help inform policies and practices around emancipation issues. Their work drives the agenda to help tackle modern-day slavery.

Graduates form the vibrant heart of our community, undertaking cutting-edge scholarship that shapes the direction of slavery studies, past and present.

Many of our postgraduate students go on to do research and engagement work that informs the policies and practices of government, NGOs, museums, education and the wider community in matters of historical and modern slavery.

Former student Dr Alicia Kidd was named as one of the Top 100 Corporate Influencers in Modern Slavery, and is now employed at the Wilberforce Institute as a Modern Slavery Lecturer and Researcher.  Another former student, May Ikeora, sits on ETAHT’s Board and Committee in Nigeria, and has published a book presenting a case study of human trafficking from Nigeria to the UK.  These are just two of many examples of former Wilberforce Institute students working to dismantle slavery and human trafficking around the world.

For those interested in following our PhD programme, we welcome applications from all disciplines, which to date have included History, Criminology, Law, Education, Anthropology, Modern Languages, and Heritage Studies.

Each graduate is supervised by two experienced scholars, and since we specialise in interdisciplinary research, one of these scholars is usually a permanent member of academic staff at the Institute and the other a leading scholar from a related discipline on the main university campus. This ensures that all our students receive the level of support they need. Students are guaranteed their own dedicated desk space within the Institute to allow them to make maximum use of our on-site research library and its considerable resources. The postgraduates run their own Graduate Seminar Programme, organise internal and external events, and are provided with opportunities to engage with leading scholars from home and abroad. Decisions about applicants are made in the first instance on an individual basis by the academics who will be supervising them. If we are able to provide supervision, you will then need to apply through the usual University channels.

If you are interested in Postgraduate Study please contact Dr Judith Spicksley attaching a cv and a proposal of c. 800 words in length of the research you intend to carry out.

Our students

isabel arcy zelada

Isabel Arce Zelada

Living with the consequences of slavery PhD cluster

Supervisors: Professor Simon Green and Dr Alicia Kidd

James Baker

James Baker

Falling through the net PhD cluster

Supervisors: Dr Nicholas Evans and Dr Judith Spicksley

Fred Bricknell

Fred Bricknell

Water, Slavery, and Unfree Labour in the Nineteenth-Century British Empire

Supervisors: Professor Trevor Burnard and Professor Briony McDonagh

Joanna Butcher

Joanne Butcher

Transatlantic Cultures of Incarceration Cluster

Supervisors: Dr David Eldridge and Dr Alicia Heys

Lewis Carter

Lewis Carter

ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Programme Scholar

Supervisors: Dr Nicholas Evans, Professor Rudi Wurzel and Professor Andy Jonas

Sarah Colley web thumbnail

Sarah Colley

Researching the perpetrators of organised child sexual exploitation across the UK

Jasmine Holding

Jasmine Holding Brown

Falling through the net PhD cluster

Supervisors: Dr Judith Spicksley and Dr Mick Wilkinson

Mavuto Kambochola Banda

Mavuto Kambochola Banda

Living with the consequences of slavery PhD cluster

Supervisors: Dr Elsbeth Robson, Dr Judith Spicksley and Professor Lewis Holloway

Adiva Lawrence

Adiva Lawrence

The memorialisation of transatlantic slavery in museums of black heritage and the uses of art

Supervisors: Professor Helen Johnston and Dr Susan Ashley (Northumbria University)


Rajib Mustofa

Differential characteristics of marginalization and vulnerability of sexual minority groups to exploitation in South Asian countries: The Transgender community in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan

N. Jennifer Nghishitende

N. Jennifer Nghishitende

Living with the consequences of slavery PhD cluster

Supervisors: Professor Helen Johnston and Dr Alicia Kidd

Lance Parker

Lance Parker

Survivalists: Communities and kinship in enslaved and Maroon societies during the 17th and 18th centuries in South Carolina and the Caribbean

Supervisors: Professor Trevor Burnard and Dr Nicholas Evans

Charlotte Russell

Charlotte Russell

Contemporary Slavery and The Refugee Child: Human trafficking risks in European refugee camps

Supervisors: Professor Simon Green and Dr Alicia Kidd

Laura Skinner

Laura Skinner

Transatlantic Cultures of Incarceration Cluster

Supervisors: Dr Alicia Heys and Dr Sabine A. Vanacker

Our past students

Feisal Farah

'Not quickly cleansed': Bids for Freedom by Former Slaves in Mombasa and the Coastal Strip of Kenya, 1895-1945

2023 P D Richardson and ME Turner

Saphia Fleury

Applying the ‘useable past’ to the protection of climate migrants: Child Displacement from Vietnam and Montserrat, 1975-2000

2023 D Parsons and T Burnard

Loria-Mae Heywood

Child trafficking, child protection and the fitness of the law: Vietnam, Albania and Nigeria

2022 S Green and G Johnstone

Anta Brachou

Human Trafficking from Albania: Interrogating the efficacy of the 4Ps Paradigm of Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Partnerships

2022 M Wilkinson and M Zernova

Chloe Wilson

The Identification and Treatment of Human Trafficking Victims: Policy, Practice and Protection

2021 G Johnstone and S Green

Edward P. Mair

Indians, Maroons and Estelusti: A Reconsideration of the Role of Reciprocity and Slavery in the Biracial Relations of the Florida Seminoles, 1780-1850

2019 J Porter and J Oldfield

Alicia Heys

The Dynamics of Contemporary Slavery and Conflict

2018 S Green and H Johnston

Craig Barlow

Child Criminal Exploitation: A new systematic model to improve professional assessment, investigation and intervention

2020 S Green and G Johnstone

Edward P. Mair

Indians, Maroons and Estelusti: A Reconsideration of the role of Reciprocity and Slavery in the Biracial Relations of the Florida Seminoles, 1780-1850

2019 J Porter and J Oldfield

Rowena Elizabeth Shepherd

The Scale and Extent of Forced Labour in the UK: Can the Existing Legislative and Administrative Address the Problem?

2018 M Wilkinson and A R Calverley

Fiona De Hoog Cius

The Complicity of Women in Child Slavery: A Gender Analysis of Haiti and the Restavek System

2017 S M Clisby and K B Bales

Sam North

Contested Pasts, Forgotten Voices: Remembering and Representing Slavery in South Africa

2017 N J Evans and H Dampier

Lauren Darwin

Convict Transportation in the Age of Abolition 1787-1807

2016 N J Evans and J Oldfield

Zhaleh Bahiyyih Boyd

Contextualizing Slavery: A Framework for Understanding the Relationship between the Enslaver and the Enslaved

2016 M Wilkinson and K B Bales

Angelina Gillian Osborne

Power and Persuasion: the London West India Committee, 1783-1833

2015 D J Hamilton and C Prior

Emmanuel Saboro

Slavery, Memory and Orality: Analysis of Song Texts from Northern Ghana

2015 P D Richardson and J R Oldfield

Julie Claire Walsh

Displaying Families: Exploring the Significance of 'Display' in a City that is Increasingly Culturally Diverse

2015 J D Seymour and M Wilkinson

Ryan James Hanley

Black Writing in Britain, 1770-1830

2015 N Evans and D J Hamilton

May Nkriu Ikeora

Interstate Cooperation and Anti-Human Trafficking: Assessing the Existing Approaches between Nigeria and the United Kingdom

2014 J Quirk and R M Burchill

David Wilkins

Repairing Historical Wrongs: The Role of Education and Commemoration in Overcoming the Legacies of Transatlantic Slavery

2013 J G Johnstone and J Quirk

Stacey Jean Muriel Sommerdyk

Trade and the Merchant Communities of the Loango Coast in the Eighteenth Century

2012 P D Richardson and S D Smith

Angel Smith

An Anatomy of a Slave Society in Transition: Virgin Islands 1807-1864

2012 P D Richardson and D J Hamilton

Mary Constance Wills

The Royal Navy and the Suppression of the Atlantic Slave Trade, c.1807-1865: Anti-Slavery, Empire and Identity

2012 P D Richardson and D J Hamilton

Bob Mouncer

Dealt with on their Merits?: The Treatment of Asylum Seekers in the UK and France

2010 M M Kilkey and G Craig

Lindsay Doulton

The Royal Navy's Anti-slavery Campaign in the Western Indian Ocean, c. 1860-1890: Race, Empire and Identity

2010 M M Kilkey and G Craig

Ahmed Nyerere Reid

Economic Growth in a Slave Plantation Society: the Case of Jamaica, 1750-1805

2008 P D Richardson and M E Turner

Hannah Jane Lewis

Interrogating Community: Dispersed Refugees in Leeds

2007 G Craig and S Jansen