Welcome to our Early Career International Fellows

Dr Tanya Aberman and Dr Sheng Zou visit the Department of Sociological Studies as part of the Visiting International Fellowship scheme.

Dr Tanya and Dr Sheng
Dr Tanya Aberman (left) and Dr Sheng Zou (right)

We are very pleased to welcome our two Early Career International Fellows for 2022-23, Dr Tanya Aberman from York University and Toronto Metropolitan University and Dr Sheng Zou from Hong Kong Baptist University.

Tanya’s visit to the Department of Sociological Studies begins on 5th June and will be based here for 6 weeks with Dr Rebecca Murray as her host. Tanya holds a PhD in Gender Feminist and Women’s Studies from York University in Toronto, Canada. Her research has focused on migration issues from intersectional feminist, critical migration and border studies perspectives. She has lectured in Sociology, Social Service Work and Community Mental Health, with a focus on participatory research methods and community work. She also specialises in the area of access to education, having developed, coordinated and taught community and university-based education programs for newcomer and migrant students. 

Whilst here, Tanya will be delivering a seminar alongside Rebecca Murray, entitled ‘Displacement and access to education: connecting and co-producing knowledge across the UK and Canada’. You can book onto the 8th June event via the Migration Research Group website

In addition to this, Tanya will deliver a PhD Masterclass on ‘Re-conceptualizing Gender in Migration Research’, share her research and knowledge with our MA Social Work students and contribute to Rebecca’s Leverhulme project, ‘(Re)imagining the Higher Education Border’.

I am very excited about this fellowship. This is a wonderful opportunity to work with Rebecca Murray, as our work is very complimentary, and this will give us the chance to collaborate on specific research activities and set a framework for future collaboration. I am also looking forward to meeting other scholars and students in the department of Sociological Studies and across the University of Sheffield.

Dr Tanya Aberman

Our second Early Career International Fellow is Dr Sheng Zou who will visit from 10th - 30th June and will be hosted by Professor Helen Kennedy.

Sheng’s research looks at digital media, technology, and state-society interactions in China during COVID. He is working on popular discourses around the Covid Health Code on Chinese social media, which reveal the multifarious ways in which young people attuned themselves to the expansion of algorithmic governance during the pandemic. He is also working on mixed-method projects on COVID-themed short videos on Douyin (Chinese TikTok) in collaboration with computational social scientists. One focuses on nationalistic expressions in COVID-vaccine-related videos on the platform and another focuses on trust and medical authority during different phases of the pandemic as demonstrated by the videos. Sheng will share and advance his research while he is with us, and he will also deliver a methods workshop to PhD students.

I am excited to visit the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield as a Visiting International Fellow, since it provides opportunities for me to meet with the department’s scholars and students, discuss common research interests, and explore possibilities for collaboration. My research themes align well with the department’s foci such as public health and technology, everyday life and critical diversities, and experience of datafication. I will also be thrilled to participate in the Digital Good Network events. I believe I will benefit greatly from this academic exchange.

Dr Sheng Zou

The department is looking forward to collaborating with both Tanya and Sheng and exploring how our respective institutions can develop and support future research. 

As part of our Visiting International Fellowship scheme, we recently welcomed Professor Loretta Baldassar from Edith Cowan University, Australia who was appointed to the Senior International Fellowship.

What is the Visiting International Fellowship scheme?

The Visiting International Fellow scheme takes place annually and is awarded for the duration of one academic year, and involves a mix of one in-person visit and virtual engagement and collaboration over the course of the academic year. There are two categories of fellows, the Early Career International Fellow and the Senior International Fellow.

Fellows are expected to undertake a programme of work, collaborating with single or multiple colleagues from the Department. That programme of work will be bespoke to the Fellow, but would normally include elements such as collaborative writing of articles and other outputs, the staging of workshops / symposia, the development of external research bids and impact and public engagement activities. 

In addition to the proposed programme  of work, Fellows will be expected to contribute to the research environment of the Department by giving one or two seminar presentations (virtual / in-person). 

Where appropriate, they will also be asked to deliver a research methods masterclass with post graduate students, and to nurture new research relationships in the Department with potential to develop funded collaborative proposals or research development/exchange activities. Fellows will also be asked to document their work and achievements via a report, blog activity or by other means deemed appropriate.

Applications for the 2023-24 scheme are now open. Please visit this page for more information. Applications for 2024 close on Monday 3rd July.

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