School of Global Studies

Dr Ross Wignall

Post:School Tutor (Anthropology, International Development)
Other posts:Member (Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth)
Location:ARTS C C311
Email:R.Wignall@sussex.ac.uk
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Biography

My research practice focusses on the inclusion of young people in development policy and programming and uses my experience as a youth worker and educator to bring youth voices into policy arenas. My recent work has had an emphasis on youth employment, youth participation and youth mobility, but with a strong gender component with projects on women’s economic empowerment, informal forms of ‘everyday politics’ and the gendered experience of work, migration and political participation. With recent experience in Sierra Leone and The Gambia I have strong regional experience of both rural and urban West Africa, though I have also conducted several projects in Brighton, UK.

After converting from English Literature to do a Masters in Anthropology at Sussex, my doctoral research focussed on the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), the largest youth NGO in the world and explores the role of urban youth centres as trans-local spaces of transformation, transition and middle-class morality. Based on 18 months ethnographic fieldwork split between The Gambia and the UK, my thesis offers significant contributions to understanding:

  •  The contribution of NGOs to the formation of youth identities and the circulation of youth as a development object
  •  The intersectional and socially embedded nature of youth identity, relating strongly to both gender and class.
  •  The power of space as a transformational tool and site of moral negotiation.
  •  The role of religion and belief in youth identity, particularly in precarious economic contexts

Role

Associate Lecturer

Qualifications

2011 - present. ESRC funded PhD in Social Anthropology.

Supervisors: Dr Jon P. Mitchell (Anthropology) Professor James Fairhead (Anthropology)

“Moralities of Transformation at YMCA centres in UK and The Gambia”


2010- 2011: MScin Cross-Cultural Research Methods
2007- 2009: MAin Social Anthropology.
2001- 2002: MA in Literatures of Conflict, University of York

1997- 2000: BA English Language and Literature,
University of Lancaster

Activities

 

PUBLICATIONS

 

Journal Articles (Peer-Reviewed)

Wignall, R.,2017,“From Swagger to Serious: Managing Masculinities Between Faiths at Gambia YMCA.” Forthcoming for Journal of Religion in Africa, 46(2)

 

Wignall, R., 2016, "‘A man after God's own heart ’: Charisma, Masculinity and Leadership at a Charismatic Church in Brighton and Hove, UK." (Published)

 

Book Chapter

Wignall, R,. 2016 “Being Big and Tough”: Moral Masculinities on a Sports Leaders Course at the YMCA,” in Cornwall, A & Lindisfarne, N. Eds.(2016), “Masculinities Under Neoliberalism” London: Zed Books. (Published)

 

Non-Peer Reviewed Work:

Wignall, R., 2016. ‘Leave No One Behind’: The Post-2015 Universality Agenda and Youth Employment (IDS Evidence Report; No. 212). IDS. (Published)

 

In Preparation (draft available on request):

 

Wignall, R 2017, “Just Managing or Just Getting By?: Entrepreneurial Selves, Masculinity and Moral Dissonance in Cross-Cultural Comparison at the Young Men’s Christian Association in the UK and Gambia.” Submitted to Economic Anthropology, January 2017

 

Wignall, R 2017, Belonging without Believing?: Making Space for Marginal Masculinities at the Young Men’s Christian Association in the UK and The Gambia. In preparation for edited volume “Youth, Place and Theories of Belonging”

 

Wignall, R 2017, “Universal Trouble?: Young Men, Morality and the ‘Problem’ of Employment in the Sustainable Development Goals.” Submitted to Geoforum, February 2017

 

PRESENTATIONS

 

2017

(February) “Belonging without Believing?: Making Space for Marginal Masculinities at the Young Men’s Christian Association in the UK and The Gambia, University of Brunel Departmental Seminar Series

2016

(February) "A Heart for Service: Love, Leadership and Charisma at the YMCA." University of Sussex Departmental Seminar Series

2015

(May) “Being the ‘Whole Man’: Enacting Moral Masculinity on a YMCA Sports Leader’s Course in Brighton & Hove.” Auto-ethnography Conference at Brighton University.

2014

 (September) “Swagger, Stubborn or Serious: Youth, Islamic Masculinities and Leadership at Gambia YMCA.” Workshop on “Religion and Masculinities in Africa” at School of African and Asian Studies, London.

(September) “Our Brother’s Keeper’: Doing Friendship in Faith-Based Development at YMCA Centres in UK and Gambia”. African Studies Association of the UK Biennial Conference, University of Sussex          

Panel Convenor: “Sacred Spaces: Interfaces of the Secular and Sacred in Development across Africa.” African Studies Association of the UK Biennial Conference, University of Sussex.

“Being Big and Tough”: Moral Masculinities on a Sports Leaders Course at the YMCA.” Paper Submitted for “Dislocating Masculinities Revisited” Worksop. University of Sussex.       

2013

(December) “Big and Tough”: Moral Masculinities on a Sports Leaders Course at the YMCA” Sussex Africa Centre, Emerging Research Landscapes Event.

(September): “The Big Change”: Sport, Leadership and Transformation on an Alternative Education Course in the UK and The Gambia.” at University of Sussex Department of Education and Social Work R.I.P. Seminar.

(June) “Our Brother’s Keeper’: Doing Friendship in Faith-Based Development at YMCA Centres in UK and Gambia”. Conference on Critical Debates With(In) Development: Power, Resilience and Change. IDS and the School of Global Studies at University of Sussex

 

Academic Activities

 

2015-2017         Brighton Auto-Ethnography Group (University of Sussex)

As co-convenor I am responsible for organising meetings, selecting participants and organising conferences, workshops and wider academic activities.

2013-2014         NGender (University of Sussex)                                                                                                                                                 As a key member for the ‘Graduate Research Events in Gender and Sexuality Research’ I actively contributed                                                            to the administration, organisation and facilitation of the Spring Seminar Series 2014 and the first annual N                                                         Gender Conference in May 2014 as well as convening the Feminist Literature Discussion Group.

2014                 Creative Public Engagement Conference (University of Sussex)                                                          

As a member organising the inaugural conference, I helped coordinate this conference, creatively and critically drawing together interdisciplinary students and faculty using a variety of       media, including participatory photography, social media and film-making.

2014                 Dislocating Masculinities Workshop (University of Sussex)                                                                                          As part of the doctoral school organising team, I helped facilitate this exciting conference that                                                                   brought doctoral students into contact with some of the leading names in gender studies. 

2014                 ASAUK 2014 (University of Sussex)                                                                                                                               As part of the organising and communications team, I helped facilitate the event, acting as a key point of                                                 communication and contributing to the social media strategy.

2014                 Sussex Africa Centre (University of Sussex)                                                                                                                   As a member of the Postgraduate Committee of the Sussex Africa Centre I have organised and                                                                   facilitated a variety of activities. 

 

Consultancies

 

2017     Institute of Development Studies/ Plan UK: Young Women’s Economic Empowerment in Fragile Settings

2016     Institute of Development Studies/ Plan UK: Youth Responses to Fragile Settings (Sierra Leone)

2016     Institute of Development Studies/ DFID: Framing Paper- Youth Employment and the SDGs

2014     University of Sussex: Creating an Accessible Online History of Sussex Anthropology

2013     YMCA: Youth in Conversation: Film-making project between Hove and Gambia YMCAs

2011      Voluntary Service Overseas (Gambia): Participatory Workshops on Youth Issues

2008     YMCA: Youth Homelessness in East Sussex- Using Participatory Research

2008     YMCA: Addressing the Youth Housing Crisis in Brighton and Hove