Material Crimes, Surviving Society’s podcast – which GPU proudly co-sponsored the launch earlier this year – is finally out (6 December 2022).

“How can infrastructure be criminal? How does a mine, an electricity grid, a prison or a factory, become a perpetrator of violence, insecurity and threat? Material Crimes tries to answer these questions. Each episode investigates a different, discrete piece of infrastructure, tracing its global – often colonial – connections across time and space. They show us how the physical sites of everyday life are intimately linked to networks of private and public actors that inflict violence on spaces and communities often living on the margins. The series also shines a spotlight on the movements people have built to reveal and challenge the infrastructural crimes that harm them.”

The podcast will have a weekly release (every Tuesday), which you can listen to on Spotify (and other platforms) via Linktree:

The link to Material Crimes website is here:

Special Issue – The Reconfiguration of Twenty-First Century Latin American Regionalism: Actors, Processes, Contradictions, and Prospects

In this special issue of Globalizations, Rowan Lubbock and Ernesto Vivares (FLACSO-Ecuador) seek to unsettle the staid narratives about regional integration within mainstream scholarship, by offering a multi-dimensional perspective on the making of regional spaces from above and below. Covering a range of contemporary regional institutions in Latin America (MERCOSUR, Pacific Alliance, ALBA-TCP, and UNSASUR), as well as regionalisms from below (indigenous/peasant regionalism), the SI aims to bring a more holistic understanding to an ever-expanding area of scholarship on both sides of the Atlantic.

The special issue is available in its entirety at

The Art of international Friendship: Exploring Twining in a Global Age

The Art of international Friendship: Exploring Twining in a Global Age

Lead Researcher: Dr Holly Ryan

Funding Agency:  Economic and Social Research Council

At a time when social fragmentation and cultural polarisation appear to be on the rise, this research project seeks to advance and improve on academic and practical understandings of ‘international friendship’ by focusing on alternative drivers such as solidarity, empathy, artistic production and inter-cultural exchange. In particular, by weaving together concepts and methods drawn from International Relations, Social Movement Studies, and Aesthetics, it aims to generate new insights into how cross-border ‘friendships’ are formed, valued and maintained by state and non-state actors operating across the local, national and international levels.It seeks to:

  1. To generate new qualitative data on the civic, social and cultural value of town twinning.
  2. To rethink and revise the concept of ‘international friendship’ as deployed by scholars in the field of International Relations.
  3. To analyse neglected dimensions of twinning practice, including ‘public service twinning’ and ‘solidarity twinning’

Film Screening: ‘Pili’

A single mother facing an HIV+ status, a community of stigma and a generation of poverty, Pili is offered the chance to change it all. But with only 3 days to do so, will she be able to? Facing generations of internalised stigma, Pili’s battle is not just for money, but for acceptance.

The film builds on Dr Sophie Harman’s fieldwork on East African women enduring HIV/AIDS.   Despite having never made a film before, producer Sophie Harman was determined to communicate the lives of East African women in the most compelling narrative possible alongside director Leanne Welham. To comprehend life in Miono, they spoke with 80 women from Pwani, discussing their lives, hopes and experiences of living with HIV/AIDS. From this, the two sketched out the beautiful story of the film. In creating the film, producer Sophie Harman and director Leanne Welham found that for most women in Pwani, their stories of poverty and HIV discrimination were the same. A mentor to the women in Miono, and a cast member in Pili named Sesilia remarked, ‘Pili is everywhere.’

Special screening and with Producer Sophie Harman and Director Leanne Welham:

Tickets for Mon 15th, Lexi Cinema:

Tickets for Weds 18th, Crouch End Art House:

Details on other cinemas screening Pili could be found on the Pili Film facebook page

State transformation and the rise of China

Lead Researchers: Lee Jones (QMUL), Shahar Hameiri (University of Queensland) and Shaun Breslin (University of Warwick)

International Relations (IR) scholars are hotly debating rising powers’ effects on world politics. Often ignored is evidence that state transformation processes – fragmentation, decentralisation and internationalisation – related to deepening economic and security interdependence, influence rising powers’ international behaviour. Central to IR debates is China, the most important rising power and often assumed to be a unitary and coherent ‘Westphalian’ state. This project examines state transformation’s implications for its relations with Southeast Asia. The aim is to develop a new approach for analysing the dimensions and effects of contemporary rising powers, to advance IR theory and provide better policy tools for engaging rising powers.