Meet the Team

Meet the Team

The ‘Whites Writing Whiteness’ Project Team has a sociological base while being multi-disciplinary and multi-site, and team members over the years it has been running have included:

  • Prof Liz Stanley, Sociology, University of Edinburgh, Project Principal Investigator
  • Prof Sue Wise, Professor Emerita, Lancaster University, Project Co-I and Research Fellow
  • Dr Emilia Sereva, Sociology, University of Edinburgh, Project Research Assistant (from 1 June 2015)
  • Dr Andrea Salter, Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Cambridge, Project Associate (earlier Project RA)
  • Mr Jacques Human, Sociology, University of Edinburgh, Project PhD Studentship-Holder
  • Mr Matthew Groves, and Mr George-Andrie Ionita, HRI, University of Sheffield, Project Principal Technical Officer

The Principal Investigator of the ESRC ‘Whites Writing Whiteness’ Project is Liz Stanley, Professor of Sociology and ESRC Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and also Director of the University’s Centre for Narrative & Auto/Biographical Studies. From a politics, philosophy and economics background originally, Liz has worked extensively on South African topics, including Olive Schreiner’s manuscript writings, the monuments and memorials of the South African War (1899-1902), women’s role in the rise of proto-nationalism up to 1948, and Olive Schreiner’s letters. A former Hugh Le May Fellow at Rhodes University, she now holds Visiting Professorships at the University of Pretoria and the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. She was Principal Investigator of a recent ESRC project, which also involved Andrea Salter, that has published the Olive Schreiner Letters Online ( Since a first chapter on Schreiner was published in 1983, Liz has published extensively on a range of Schreiner topics, including Schreiner’s published writings as well as her social theory and archived letters, and is internationally acknowledged as a leading Schreiner scholar. An experienced editor of letters and diaries, Liz’s The Diaries of Hannah Cullwick (1984) is recognised as a turning-point in rethinking women’s employment in mid nineteenth century Britain; and her The Auto/Biographical I: The Theory and Practice of Feminist Auto/Biography (1992) is acknowledged as a foundational text in theorising women’s life writings. Her work on conceptualising and theorising the epistolarium (including in Stanley 2005) has been described as ‘the definitive theorisation of letters as a genre’, and this work has been built on in a succession of articles concerned both with Olive Schreiner’s letters and with theorising letters more generally. She has also published widely on epistemological and methodological matters, including with Sue Wise.

Prof Sue Wise is Professor Emerita, Lancaster University. With a background and undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Sociology, she has recently taken early retirement from many years of teaching in applied social science, social justice and social work areas, to return to her first love of sociology. Her previous publications have been primarily concerned with matters of feminist methodology and epistemology, including in Breaking Out (1983) and Breaking Out Again (1993), both with Liz Stanley. Other joint work has included research on representation of children in documents concerning the South African War, with ‘Putting It Into Practice: Using Feminist Fractured Foundationalism in Researching Children in the Concentration Camps of the South African War’ Sociological Research Online 11, 1 ( winning the 2011 Sage Prize for Innovation and Excellence. Her role as Project Co-investigator involves her in a number of archival fieldwork projects as well as contributing to the ideas structure of the WWW project.

The Project Honorary Research Fellow is Dr Andrea Salter. Andrea completed an ESRC-funded PhD in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, which focused on women’s wartime diaries written for the radical British sociological research organisation Mass-Observation. She was subsequently appointed Research Associate on the Olive Schreiner Letters Project (2008-12) ( Her research frame draws on historical, cultural and feminist sociology and socio-cultural geography, with a particular interest in analysing ‘documents of life’ and the methodologies used to explore and represent these, including narrative, archival and digital. From 1 June 2015 she has the full-time post of School Research Facilitator across the Schools of Arts & Humanities and the Humanities & Social Sciences at the University of Cambridge. With Liz, Andrea is co-editor of The World’s Great Question published by the Van Riebeeck Society.

The Project’s Research Associate is Dr Emilia SerevaEmilia has recently completed her PhD in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh. She has previously completed an MA in Social Anthropology from Goldsmiths, and an MSc in Sociology (Research) from the LSE. Her thesis deals strongly with the work of Norbert Elias, and is particularly concerned with the long-term development of family businesses in Britain. As well as maintaining WWW webpages and overseeing project administration, she  is involved in some archival fieldwork projects and has a particular role in contributing to the use of the analytical framework of ideas produced by Elias.

The Project’s ESRC PhD Studentship holder is Mr Jacques Human. Jacques’ research explores social change in South Africa by focusing on the micro, everyday lives and social networks of the Randlords; these were a group of mining magnates who, often along with their families, controlled the diamond and gold industry in South Africa for over 50 years. In doing so, Jacques aims to explore the interwoven interests of these Randlords and the larger power elite played in broader social changes.

Mr Matthew Groves and Mr George-Andrie Ionita are Digital Humanities Developers based in the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Sheffield, UK, and act the project’s principal Technical Officers. They have played the major role in the development of the project VRE (Virtual Research Environment) and also in producing the WWW website.

Last updated: 13 May 2021