About the team

Sevasti-Melissa Nolas is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Sussex and the Principal Investigator of the CONNECTORS Study. Her disciplinary background is in social psychology and her research interests are on the dynamics and practices of agency in everyday life, social science and society, and qualitative research methods.  She has extensive experience of studying programmatic practices of intervention in children and young people’s lives in England with a focus on children’s, parent’s and professional’s experiences and participation within these spaces.  She has published on theories of collective action, the role of space in creating cultures of participation, participation as a relational practice, the role of stories in creating practical knowledge for participation, social action research and qualitative methodologies.

Christos Varvantakis is an anthropologist and the Research Fellow for the CONNECTORS Study in Athens. He completed his PhD at the Freie Universität in Berlin, having previously trained as a sociologist (University of Crete) and visual anthropologist (Goldsmiths College). He has undertaken research in Germany, South India and Greece, and has worked as a research associate in the University of Crete and as a visiting scholar in the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. He has produced several ethnographic films and published papers on the depoliticization of memory, ritual and community dynamics, the history of ethnographic film, video and youth activism.

Vinnarasan Aruldoss is a social work researcher and practitioner and the Research Fellow for the CONNECTORS Study in Hyderabad.  He completed a PhD in Social Policy at the University of Edinburgh looking at early childhood education and children’s agency in three different educational settings in Tamil Nadu in Southern India. He has a background in social work, and has practised as a social worker in India and working with a number of international NGOs.

Robyn Long is the Research Assistant for the CONNECTORS Study. She completed her BA in Sociology, focusing on citizenship and political sociology, and is currently completing an MA in Sexual Dissidence, researching sexuality, citizenship and global politics, drawing together themes from political sociology and gender studies. Robyn has a background working in academic libraries, training and developing staff, and supporting students and researchers of all levels with digital research, literature searching and reviews, and referencing and reference management software. She is hoping to continue to doctoral study in the future, questioning the ways that queer and crip theories might help us understand political citizenship.

Claire Prater is the Connectors Study Project Coordinator. She has a degree in Environmental Science, and since then has worked mainly in project management roles for an number of large organisations including The Royal Mail, International Affairs; the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and most recently Sussex University, including the School of Education and Social Work and Brighton and Sussex Medical School. [She has two children, two cats and an unruly garden!]

International Advisory Group: Dr Nelly Askouni and Professor Thalia Dragona, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens; Professor Vijay Kumar, Ms Madhavi Latha and Professor S Galab, Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad; Mr Barry Luckock, Professor Jo Moran-Ellis, Professor Gillian Ruch, Professor Elaine Sharland and Professor Rachel Thomson, University of Sussex; Dr Konstantina Sklavou, Social Worker at Sismanogleio Hospital, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Athens; Professor Nigel Thomas, University of Central Lancashire.

Independent Ethics Advisory Board: Dr Janet Boddy, University of Sussex; Anna Fielder, Consumer Rights Advocate and Trustee & Board Chair of Privacy International; Dr Eleni Papouli, TEI Athens; Professor Ilina Singh, Oxford University; Professor Uma Vennam, SPMVV Tirupati.

Any thoughts?