Meet the team

Mercedes Carbayo-Abengózar, president


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. 

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. 

Maria Luisa Coelho,



Maria Luisa Coelho is a FCT post-doctoral fellow at the University of Oxford and Universidade do Minho (Portugal), where she is developing a project entitled Portuguese Artists and Writers in Britain (1950-1986): Cultural Networks and Identities in Transit. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature; her thesis focused on representations of the female body and women’s experiences by Portuguese and English women writers and artists. Her work is focused on feminist and gender studies, from an interdisciplinary perspective (literature and the visual arts). She is also very much interested in transcultural approaches to art and literature. Her recent publications include Estudos Comparatistas e Cosmopolitismo: Pós-colonialidade, Tradução, Arte e Género (2018; co-editor), “Woman-Body-Paint: Helena Almeida and the Visual Inscription of Sexual Difference” (in Luso-Brazilian Review) and “On Appropriation and Craft: Considering the Feminist Problem of De-politicization” (in n.paradoxa). She is editing, with Dr Claudia Pazos-Alonso a special issue of the Portuguese Studies journal on Transnational Portuguese Women Artists (due in 2019) and has recently curated the exhibition “Identities in Transit: Portuguese Women Artists since 1950 (University of Oxford, 2017).


Mirna Vohnsen,
digital communications officer


WISPS digital communications officer Mirna Vohnsen is an assistant lecturer at the Technological University of Dublin, Ireland, where she teaches literary and critical theory, Latin American and Spanish literature, Argentine cinema as well as Spanish language. She holds a PhD in Hispanic Studies from University College Dublin. Her speciality 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 currently co-authoring a historical dictionary on Eva Perón, working on a project on transgender cinematic representation, and co-editing a collected volume on Argentine women filmmakers which will be published by Palgrave Macmillan. Having said that, she also has a passion for travelling and exploring new cultures. 


Lorna Dillon,


Dr Lorna Dillon (1).jpg

Lorna Dillon is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Cambridge. Her research takes a comparative approach to Latin American art and culture. Lorna’s doctoral thesis explored the work of the Chilean artist Violeta Parra, tracing the relationship between Parra’s poetry, song lyrics, embroideries, paintings and sculptures. Lorna received her PhD from King’s College London and the project led to two books, the edited volume Violeta Parra: Life and Work (2017) and the monograph Violeta Parra’s Art: Painted Songs (2020). Lorna’s current research focus is sewing groups in Latin America, which use embroidery, applique and quilt art to campaign against injustices. Lorna’s research has attracted awards from the AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust, the Chilean Consejo de la Cultura y los Artes, the Henry Moore Foundation, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (via the Culture Capital Exchange) and the Institute of Fine Art of the University of New York. Lorna has a fond relationship with WISPS, since one of her early publications was a chapter in the WISPS special volume Identity, Nation, Discourse: Latin American Women Writers and Artists (2009). Several years after the completion of her PhD, Lorna was drawn to WISPS again. She found the WISPS conference to be a warm and supportive environment when she returned to academic life following a career break.


Lourdes Parra Lazcano,
conference secretary


Lourdes Parra Lazcano teaches in the Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Her research focuses on Latin and Latino 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 is currently working on a monograph on travel writing by Mexican women. 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.

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.


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