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Meet the team

Alison Ribeiro de Menezes,


Alison Ribeiro de Menezes is Professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Warwick. Her research focuses on literature and film, and in the relationship between history, memory, and culture in various regions of the Hispanic world. Alison specializes in modern Hispanic literatures and cultures, but also has interests in Portuguese narrative and film, and in the contemporary reception of Golden-Age authors. She has held visiting positions at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, and Brown University, Rhode Island. Her research has attracted awards from the Irish Research Council, the European Union, the Leverhulme Trust, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. She joined WISPS because it offers a unique and supportive forum for female academics and those interested in gender issues to exchange ideas, develop research, and establish a professional network. 

Mirna Vohnsen,


Mirna Vohnsen is a Lecturer in Spanish at TU Dublin where she teaches literary and critical theory, Latin American and Spanish literature, Argentine cinema, intercultural studies as well as Spanish language. She holds a PhD in Hispanic Studies from University College Dublin. Her specialism is Latin American cultural studies with a particular focus on film. She was awarded a runner-up for the AHGBI-Spanish Embassy Doctoral Publication Prize in 2017 and published a monograph entitled Portrayals of Jews in Contemporary Argentine Cinema with Tamesis Books in 2019. She is the co-author of Eva Perón: A Reference Guide to Her Life and Works (Rowman and Littlefield, 2021) and the co-editor of Contemporary Argentine Women Filmmakers (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023). When not teaching or researching, she enjoys travelling around the world.

Mercedes Carbayo-Abengózar, 
grants officer


Mercedes Carbayo-Abengózar is a Lecturer in Spanish within the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Maynooth University. She has published extensively on the relationship between gender and the nation focusing on Hispanic writers such as Carmen Martín Gaite, singers like Concha Piquer and Paquita la del Barrio and painters like Frida Kahlo and Maruja Mallo. Her current research interests include representations of women/mothers, marginalized mothers and the relationship between adoption and class. She is working on a project on the experiences of adoptive mothers and their representation in Spanish popular culture. 

Lourdes Parra Lazcano, 
communications officer


Lourdes Parra Lazcano teaches in the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Her research focuses on Latin and Latinx American literature and film, as well as the relationship among plants and people in Mexico. She holds a PhD in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies from the University of Leeds. She has been co-director of Women’s Paths: Rewriting Physical and Discursive Borders, a research group about women writers from around the world. She was awarded the 2021 AHGBI-WISPS Dorothy Sherman-Severin Research Fellowship for Early-Career Researchers in Luso-Hispanic Studies to work on a project about Mexican traditional healers and medicinal plants. Lourdes believes that the WISPS conference is a safe space to share and exchange knowledge. She has a passion for travelling and grassroots herbalism.

Blanca García, 


Blanca Gómez García (she/her) is an Associate Lecturer (Teaching) and PhD candidate at University College London (UCL), where she teaches Spanish literature, language, and film. Her thesis, funded by the AHRC and the British Spanish Society, focuses on autobiographical writings by Republican authors exiled in Great Britain after the Spanish Civil War. She is also interested in autobiographical writings by Republican exiled women. Her work has been published in journals such as the Bulletin of Spanish Studies and Revista Anagnórisis and she is the founder and director of the early-career journal Revista Úrsula.

Hannie Lawlor, 
membership secretary

Photo for staff profile - Hannie Lawlor.jpg

Hannie Lawlor is Lecturer in Spanish at University College Dublin. She holds a PhD from the University of Oxford, where she was supervised by Dr Daniela Omlor and Professor Marie-Chantal Killeen. Her comparative doctoral project focused on twenty-first-century Spanish and French women’s life writing in response to traumatic loss, and she is currently preparing the manuscript for her thesis monograph. She is co-editor of the volume The Autofictional: Approaches, Affordances, Forms (Palgrave Studies in Life Writing, 2022), with Dr Alexandra Effe, and she has published elsewhere on intergenerational trauma and relational life-writing. 

Alicia Castillo Villanueva,
conference secretary


Alicia Castillo Villanueva is an Assistant Professor in Spanish in the School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies at Dublin City University. Prior to this, she held various academic positions at University College Cork and the University of Limerick. Her current research revolves around the intersection of translation, conflict and memory studies. She also explores cultural representations from the period of the transition to democracy (1975-1982) and contemporary Spain. Her recent publications include “The Recession in Contemporary Spanish Cinema: Masculinities in Transition” (Ashgate, forthcoming), “Narratives of Violence and Resistance in Spanish Women Writers” (Arabesques Editions, forthcoming) and “El cuerpo como espacio de escritura de la subjetividad en Beatriz y los cuerpos celestes (1998) de Lucía Etxebarría” (Dossiers Feministes, 2015).

Ailsa Peate, 
conference secretary


Ailsa Peate is Lecturer Hispanic and Museum Studies at the University of Westminster. She completed her PhD on the representation of sex, bodies, and violence in contemporary Mexican and Cuban detective fiction. Her previous positions include that of Research Associate on the AHRC-funded project Memory, Victims and Representation of the Colombian Conflict at the University of Liverpool. Her research currently focuses on state terrorism in Mexico, photographic representations of north western Mexico’s narcoculture, and visibilising experiences of women victims of sexual violence through participatory art and gender ethics in cultural institutions in Colombia and Mexico. Her co-edited volume, Latin American Crime Scenes (2019), is available from Peter Lang, and her monograph, Subverting Sex, Genre and Genre in Cuban and Mexican Detective Fiction is due for publication with Liverpool University Press in 2024. 

Abril Ríos Rivera, 
postgraduate representative


Abril is a DPhil researcher in Migration Studies at the University of Oxford and convenor of Migration Oxford. She focuses on gendered relations, power, and agency in forced migration contexts. She mixes quantitative and qualitative methods and integrates participatory and creative methodologies in her research. Her doctoral research explores processes of empowerment and decision making among women and gender diverse migrants in the Mexican cities of: Tapachula, Tijuana and Mexico City. Abril is a psychologist specialising in social and cultural psychology and gender studies and holds a master’s degree in Migration and Intercultural Relations. She has more than seven years of experience working in the development sector on issues related to migration and entrepreneurship in Mexico and East African countries.

The aim of WISPS is to bring female Hispanists, Luso-Brazilians and Spanish Americanists in Great Britain and Ireland together and to support them in every aspect of their professional life.

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WISPS Constitution

  1. The name of the Association of Women in Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American Studies (WISPS).

  2. The aim of WISPS is to bring female Hispanists, Luso-Brazilian and Spanish Americanists in Great Britain and Ireland together and to support them in every aspect of their professional life.

  3. Full membership is open to anyone identifying as a woman who is currently studying, teaching or working in any area of Hispanic, Luso-Brazilian and related studies at any level or who has done so in the past.

  4. Associate membership is open to anyone identifying as a man and anyone identifying as a woman who is currently studying, teaching or working in any area of Hispanic, Luso-Brazilian and related studies at any level or who has done so in the past, and is resident outside the UK or Ireland. Associate members are designated as Friends of WISPS. Friends of WISPS are eligible to be added to the mailing list, may attend WISPS conferences and have access to the website but not other events such as study days. Friends of WISPS will not be able to apply for funding or take part in the AGM. The membership fee will be GBP15 per annum. 

  5. All members shall pay an annual subscription due on 1st of October. Payment by Standing Order is preferred. Members resident outside the UK can pay by Paypal. Rates of subscription shall be decided by the Committee and ratified by the Annual General Meeting. Membership will lapse if the subscription remains unpaid six months after it is due.

  6. The day-to-day business of WISPS shall be conducted by a Committee normally consisting of eight members: president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, conference secretary, an elected member who undertakes tasks as designated by the Committee, a post-graduate representative and a webmaster.

  7. The eight committee members shall be as representative as possible of the different groups within WiSPS.

  8. The officers and committee members are elected by the Annual General Meeting and normally serve for three years, renewal once. They must then wait for two years before they can stand for re-election to the same post.

    1. The Vice-President normally becomes the President unless they do not wish to do so, in which case the post of President is electable among the membership. Posts that are coming up for election should be advertised via the mailing list. Candidates should provide a short campaign statement which will be circulated via email before the Annual General Meeting takes place.

    2. Elections for all posts take place at the Annual General Meeting. Should candidates be unable to attend the meeting, they may be elected in their absence. Should more than one candidate put themselves forward for election, a closed ballot will take place at the AGM.  Should one or more candidates be absent, a closed ballot will take place at the AGM.

    3. If nobody has put themselves forward before the AGM, a candidate is invited to apply from among those present and must be proposed and seconded.

  9. The organisers of each Annual Conference are on the committee and serve for the year immediately preceding the Conference they are organising. If there is only one Conference Organiser, or the second Organiser is already a member of the Executive Committee, a Member without a Portfolio may be elected.

  10. Should a member of the Executive Committee wish to resign, they may do so at any time. Should they wish  to  take  a  leave  of  absence  (for  Maternity  leave,  Sabbatical  leave  or Sickness  leave)  they  may  do  so  for  six  months,  their  role  being  covered  by  another member on the Executive Committee. Should they wish to leave for more than six months, an election will take place for a replacement at the next Annual General Meeting.

  11. The Committee is authorised to spend the association’s funds to further the aims of WISPS and shall present accounts at the Annual General Meeting.

  12. A Committee is quorate if three Committee members are present.

  13. In the event of WISPS ceasing to exist, any existing funds in its possession shall be donated to a women’s organisation approved by the Final General Meeting.


Last amended 2 November 2018

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