"The scheme has been an amazing project to be a part of and I feel very privileged that the University chose my project"

SURE Scheme student James Manville
James JW Manville
SURE Scheme Participant
BA Politics and Modern Languages & Cultures
Working alongside experts in the department with the SURE scheme, James has been researching the links between Political parties, policy, and attitudes towards queer communities in Latin America.

What is the SURE scheme and how did you hear about it?

The SURE scheme is run by the University of Sheffield and basically gives students the opportunity to work as a researcher alongside an expert in a field. It’s a fantastic opportunity to conduct research in an area that is of interest to you and allows you to learn more about the sorts of topics you may want to go on and study further.

What have you been researching?

The title of my research project is ‘What role do political parties and their ideologies play in shaping attitudes and policies towards queer communities in Colombia and Chile?’ It is largely focused on the current state of affairs in both of these countries, looking at where they have seen shifts to the left of the political spectrum in recent years, and about how we are again seeing the rise of far-right parties and political candidates due to population dissatisfaction on certain issues.

Why did you want to research this topic?

As a dual honours student in both the School of Languages and Cultures, and the department of Politics, I wanted to find an interesting intersection between my two areas of interest, one being Latin American studies, and the other being Queer peace and security in International relations. This topic is important because there is a lack of research in this area, which I have discovered through my analysis of secondary literature. It is also interesting to look at how geographical/regional similarity does not equate to similarity in political power structures, beliefs, and practices. Colombia and Chile have both set precedents in terms of queer security in the last decade, and so they are both very interesting case studies of how political parties and ideologies are affecting queer legislation in Latin America.


What have you learned from this project?

It has definitely been really interesting to see just how little research into queer politics exists for Latin America, especially considering the region has seen positive steps towards greater LGBTQ+ inclusion and equality.

How has this scheme helped you with your career ambitions?

My goal is to work in policy analysis and hopefully make contributions to situating queer people in important pieces of legislation, so looking at how we can ensure greater queer inclusion in a world that often sees queer identities used as a political battleground has been really exciting, even though it highlights how much still needs to be done. Being able to analyse some of the influential policies that have shaped the modern legislative landscape and where queer people are included or left out of these has given me really solid foundations for the research that I hope to continue with in the future.

How has it helped your studies?

This project has definitely given me an entirely new set of skills which I look forward to applying when I return for my final year at Sheffield. Research requires a different approach to essay writing and it is important to remember that being interested in what you are doing is the most important thing as it requires a lot of your time and energy. Alongside giving me greater confidence in my own ability, the project has enhanced a lot of the skills which University has given me over the last two years, so it is definitely a worthwhile effort for anyone considering it!

What would you say to anyone considering taking part in this scheme, and what advice would you give them knowing what you know now?

The scheme has been an amazing project to be a part of and I feel very privileged that the University chose my project this year. It has taught me so much about the research process and how much time and effort has to be put into it. I think this opportunity is fantastic for anyone who thinks they may want to progress into a career in research, or just for people who are passionate about what they study and want to learn as much as they can. While it has been hard work, it is definitely worthwhile; the crucial thing is having a plan and staying on top of the work you intend to get done, as the time slips away very quickly!

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