Dr Sonja Marzi

Dr Sonja Marzi

Visiting Fellow

Department of Methodology

Connect with me

Dutch, English, German, Spanish
Key Expertise
Gender, Cities, Urban Inequalities, Violence, Activism

About me

I am an Assistant Professor at Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Before joining Radboud University, I was a lecturer in Research Methods and Inequalities at the University of Glasgow and a fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, now I continue to hold a Visiting Fellow position at the LSE. My research draws on feminist, anti-racist and post-colonial theories and pushes the boundaries of collaboration and participatory action research designs, focusing on (re)conceptualising gendered urban challenges in Colombia. Building on cutting-edge methods of using audio-visual digital methods (e.g., film and video) I co-produce knowledge on gendered urban inequalities with (displaced) women in cities and on how they (re)build more feminist futures. In particular I contribute to new understandings about women’s resistance to multiple forms of violence, activism and negotiation of their urban futures in contexts and times of crisis. My research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), UK; The Fritz-Thyssen Foundation, Germany; and by an LSE Knowledge Exchange and Impact fund, UK.

Research Interests

Currently I have several lines of inquiry with a regional focus on Colombia, Latin American and Europe.

Rebuilding emancipatory urban futures: Colombian women resisting urban trauma and slow violence with activism and solidarity
This project explores the extraordinary everyday resistance, solidarity and activism among displaced women and women who self-identify as victims of conflict in urban Colombia. The research co-produces knowledge using participatory and arts-based methods and interrogates the role of activism in collective rebuilding from chronic trauma. It is particularly interested in understanding the chronic everyday traumatic effects of different forms of violence, and their impact on women’s resistance and involvement in direct and indirect action. In this way, the research examines the role of multiple crises of war, displacement, the Covid-19 pandemic, economic precarity and gender-based violence in women’s collective resistance in building healthy, sustainable and socially just emancipatory urban futures.

Co-producing knowledge during emergencies and pandemics: developing remote participatory visual methods using smartphones
Funded by an Economic and Social Research Council Grant, I am lead investigator to develop innovative remote participatory visual methods to co-produce knowledge about women’s urban challenges in Colombia. In collaboration with displaced women in Colombia, and researchers and filmmakers in the UK and Latin America, I apply participatory filming remotely, using participants’ smartphones, to investigate women’s conflict and displacement experiences, their challenges in settling in their urban environments and their resistance to inequalities and violence they experience(d). The entire research process is conducted online. Academic co-investigators in this research project are Professor Rachel Pain and Dr Jen Tarr (both Newcastle University).
The ESRC project builds on insights from my LSE Knowledge Exchange and Impact Fund project: ‘Reinventada: the realities of women in Medellín during the pandemic’.

Migrant women in Medellín and their right to the city
Funded by a Fritz-Thyssen Research Project Grant I investigate urban and spatial challenges of displaced and conflict affected women in relation to their use of urban space. By looking at how women, especially mothers and heads of household, negotiate their ‘right to the city’ in urban areas in Colombia, the research aims at providing a greater understanding for their needs and aspirations within the city and for future urban development issues and processes.

Selected Publications

(2023) Marzi, S. and Pain, R. ‘Volviendo a Vivir’ (Coming back to life): Urban trauma, activism and emancipatory urban futures. Urban Studies
(2023) Marzi, S. Co-producing impact-in-process with participatory audio-visual research. Area
(2022) Marzi, S. ‘‘Having money is not the essential thing… but… it gets everything moving’: Young Colombians navigating towards uncertain futures? Sociological Research Online
(2021) Marzi, S. Participatory video from a distance: co-producing knowledge during COVID-19 using smartphones. Qualitative Research
(2021) Marzi, S. ‘Looking towards the future: Intersectionalities of race, class and place creating boundaries to young Colombians’ aspirations and social mobility’. In Horton, J., Pimlott-Wilson, H., Hall, S.M.(eds) Growing up and getting by: poverty, precarity and the changing nature of childhood and youth. Bristol, Policy Press
(2018) Marzi, S. ‘We are labeled as gang members, like a dangerous barrio, even though we are not’: belonging, aspirations and social mobility in Cartagena. Development Studies Research
(2016) Marzi, S. Aspirations and social Mobility: the role of social and spatial (im)mobilities in the development and achievement of young people’s aspirations. In: Ni Laoire C, White A and Skelton T (eds) Movement, Mobilities and Journeys. Singapore: Springer Singapore, pp.1-20.