Executive Committee 2013

Professor Warwick Murray

Co-President | Email

Warwick Murray is a New Zealand human geographer and Latin Americanist. He graduated from the University of Birmingham in 1993, where he also gained a PhD 1997. He has held academic posts at the University of the South Pacific, and Brunel University (UK). He is currently professor of human geography and development studies at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.


He has won awards for his teaching, including in 2006 a New Zealand National Tertiary Teaching Award for Sustained Excellence, and in 2007 the New Zealand Geographical Society President’s Award for Teaching Excellence. In 2007 he also won a Victoria University Research Excellence award.


As a researcher he has published about 80 books, articles, or chapters in the fields of development and economic geography, focusing especially on Chile and Latin America, as well as the Pacific Islands. He is a commentator on national television and radio on Latin American affairs, and is the author of the textbook Geographies of Globalization. From 2002 to 2010, he was the main editor of Asia Pacific Viewpoint, a journal in development geography, and since 2007 has been the founding director of the Victoria Institute for Links with Latin America. He is currently associate editor of Journal of Rural Studies.

Dr Nicola Gilmour

Co-President | Email

Nicola Gilmour completed her PhD in 2001 at the University of Auckland, having joined Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand at the beginning of that year. She was appointed Senior Lecturer in 2008. Her undergraduate degrees are also from the University of Auckland however she spent several years studying Filología Española, specialising in Literatura Moderna y Contemporánea at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid.


Within the Victoria University administration she has served on the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Leave Committee, the School of Languages and Cultures Learning and Teaching committee, a working party of the Undergraduate Review and has been Acting Director of European Studies on several occasions. She is also currently the Director of the Spanish Programme.


Nicola’s current areas of specialisation are twofold. Firstly, the 19th- and 20th-century Hispanic novel, with a particular focus on psychoanalytic criticism and the first-person narrative technique, the literary movements and genres of Realism and Romanticism, and the figure of the author in relation to the canon. Her book, Transvestite Narratives in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Hispanic Writers: Using the Voice of the Opposite Gender (Edwin Mellen UK, 2008) reflects that interest. A second important focus of her research is representations of the historical cultural minorities (Hispanic Arabs and Jews) in contemporary Spanish literature and mass media, and the uses to which those images are put. This research, focussed around the topic of historical memory and the historical novel, has led her into the field of Memory Studies and Holocaust Studies. Ultimately this research will result in two monographs, one on representations of the historical Hispano-Jewish community and the other on the Hispano-Muslim community.

Associate Professor Sarah Leggott

Secretary | Email

Sarah Leggott is an Associate Professor of Spanish and the Head of the School of Languages and Cultures at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her research interests focus on twentieth- and twenty-first- century Spanish literature and culture, with a particular interest in women writers and autobiographical narratives. Sarah is also an external partner in the international “Dynamics of Memories” research group, an interdisciplinary group based at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom.


Sarah’s current research project examines novels by contemporary Spanish women writers that present memory and the recuperation of a traumatic past as one of their principal themes. She is studying a series of works that deal with the years of the Civil War, Franco dictatorship and transition to democracy in Spain, all of which involve female protagonists who are struggling to deal with issues relating to war and dictatorship. Her work analyses these novels in terms of contemporary debates about trauma, memory and the recuperation of the past, and discusses the ways in which gender affects the process of remembrance.

Dr Marcela Palomino-Schalscha

Treasurer | Email

Marcela Palomino-Schalscha is a Lecturer  in the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She completed her PhD in Geography at the University of Canterbury (2012).


Her research interest is located in the intersection between development studies, human geography and political ecology, with special emphasis on Indigenous issues. Based on her experience working in development and environmental issues for NGOs and government agencies in Chile, her home country, she is interested in putting academia at the service of communities through engaged scholarship, conducting theoretically sophisticated work while remaining rooted in practical aspects.


One of the key aims of her work so far has been to explore how Indigenous ontologies and knowledge (multiple and mixed) are hybridising modern and Western knowledge and ways of being, which poses important theoretical and practical implications for development, economic and environmental thinking and cross-cultural relations, and has consequences that affect us all, Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

Mr Colin Kennedy

Committee Member for Strategy, Communications and Marketing | Email

Colin Kennedy is a Teaching Fellow in Development Studies at Victoria University. He studied for his PhD at Victoria University and completed his undergraduate qualification at Trinity College, Dublin in Ireland. Colin is a research associate in the Victoria Institute of Links to Latin America (VILLA) and is also the Manager of Student Recruitment Programmes at the University.


Colin’s current research is spread across two areas. He has examined the relationship between socio-economic disparity and social relations of dependency, particularly in the context of education in contemporary Chile. More recently, he has been involved in looking at the potential of social design programmes and the opportunities for designers to promote positive change in developing communities.