Meet Our Team

Dr Benjamin Dix

Founder and Executive Director

Ben worked as a Communications Manager for the United Nations and various international NGOs across Asia and Africa for over 12 years. After working as a photojournalist across India for 7 years, Ben was based in LTTE controlled Vanni, North Sri Lanka with the UN from 2004 – 2008 throughout the conflict. He has a BA in Political Geography of South Asia (SOAS, University of London, 2002) an MA in Anthropology of Conflict and Violence (University of Sussex, 2011) and a Doctorate in Anthropology (University of Sussex, 2016). Ben is a Senior Fellow at SOAS and a Research Associate at the University of Sussex.

Emily Oliver

Managing Director

Using a cross-sector approach, Emily has been working for over a decade with a diverse spectrum of organisations. Her experience ranges from launching peoplefund.it (which became the UK’s largest crowdfunding platform, Crowdfunder), to establishing the arts service for the London Borough of Newham. Deeply committed to supporting marginalised groups, her experience includes working with undocumented migrants, refugees and homeless communities. She is currently studying a masters scholarship in Sustainable Leadership.

Sara Wong

Research and Project Manager

Sara has a BA in Political Science (University of Minnesota 2015) and an MSc in Development Studies (SOAS, University of London 2017). Her MSc thesis explored the role of arts and culture in times of social transformation. She has worked with not-for-profits, political parties and community organisations on a variety of social issues. Her past work includes researching universal healthcare in the US, direct community outreach in urban South Africa, fighting for marriage equality in Minnesota and arts-based youth engagement. Sara joined the PositiveNegatives team in September 2016 and manages collaborative research projects related to conflict, human rights and international development.

Poppy Ogier

Research and Project Manager

Poppy has a BA in Politics with International Relations (University of York, 2016) and an MA in Post-war Recovery Studies (University of York, 2017). Her MA thesis discussed the influence of digital humanitarians on the response to the refugee and migrant crisis in Greece. Committed to supporting marginalised groups, she has worked in direct outreach, and project design and development for various charities, community and international organisations. Poppy joined the PositiveNegatives team in June 2017 and manages collaborative research projects related to migration, conflict and historical memory.

Dr Andrei Gomez Suarez

Senior Research Consultant

Andrei is an Honorary Senior Research Associate in the Institute of the Americas, University College London and co-founder of peacebuilding organisation Rodeemos el Diálogo (ReD, Embrace Dialogue). He is author of Genocide, Geopolitics and Transnational Networks (Routledge, 2015) and El Triunfo del No (Icono, 2016). He has taught at the University of Sussex, and in Colombia, Los Andes, Cauca, and Externado Universities. He has done consultancies for Conciliation Resources, IHS Jane, the International Organisation for Migrations, the Organisation of Ibero American States, and in Colombia, the National Centre for Historical Memory, the Ombudsman’s Office, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace. He has been associate researcher at the Universities of Oxford and Sussex, and the Conflict Analysis Resource Centre in Bogotá. He has a PhD in International Relations from the University of Sussex.

Ayesha Mago

Senior Research Consultant

Ayesha Mago has 20 years of research, policy advocacy and training experience on a wide range of issues related to human rights, development and law reform. Over the last decade her work has been focused specifically on the rights of women, children and adolescents in the context of violence, trafficking, sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV and access to justice. She divides her time between human rights research and training organisations on the impact of gender dynamics on the working environment and society at large. In the latter capacity, she conducts training on discrimination, sexual harassment, sexuality and consent for NGOs, corporations and educational institutions. She has had considerable exposure to the non-governmental sector as well as experience dealing with international inter-governmental bodies, such as the United Nations Human Rights Council and the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation in Law (SAARCLAW). Ayesha holds a Masters Degree from Columbia University in New York and is a trained mediator accredited by the Bar Council of England and the Law Society.

Rachel Shapcott

Research Consultant

Rachel has a BA in Fine Art (Coventry University, 2013) and an MSc in Psychology (University of Westminster, 2015). She became passionate about Human Rights issues after volunteering at the Helen Bamber Foundation, an organisation committed to protecting asylum seekers. Her role included researching the mental health needs in survivors of modern slavery and working closely with clients from countries all over the world. Rachel joined the PositiveNegatives team in October 2016.

Elettra Pellanda

Research Consultant

Elettra has a BA in Philosophy (Università degli Studi di Milano, 2013) and an MA in History of Art and Archaeology (SOAS University of London, 2016). Elettra specialises in developing innovative educational programmes and has represented PositiveNegatives in a diverse range of academic and policy-oriented conferences, including the 2018 International Conference on Global Citizenship Education (GCED) in Seoul. She has worked with PositiveNegatives as a Researcher and Project Manager on a variety of projects, including Living on the Margins, An Empty Promise and Migrants on the Margins.

Laurence Ivil

Research Consultant

Laurence has an MA in Global Digital Cultures and Development (SOAS University of London, 2017) and is a freelance journalist, producer, project manager and engagement consultant. As a journalist and producer, he has managed a wide variety of media and development projects including; managing a team of over 30 journalists covering the Nigerian national elections; the creation of “Dementia Diaries” – a national series of audio diaries documenting the day-to-day lives of people living with dementia; and award-winning coverage of the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone. Laurence specialises in engagement practices that incorporate SMS, WhatsApp and more traditional communications methods to create more inclusive and ethical media environments.

Emma Parker

Communications Consultant

Emma is a PhD student and tutor at the University of Leeds, whose research focuses upon women’s autobiographical writing. With degrees from the University of Oxford (2015) and Queen Mary, University of London (2013) her work explores many forms of literary non-fiction — including comics — and she is particularly interested in the power of real-life stories. Emma writes articles and reviews for The Conversation, Wasafiri, Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writing and Doris Lessing Studies. From 2017-18 she worked on a GCRF project in South Africa, organising symposia, workshops and public events addressing difficult memories of traumatic pasts in Rwanda, South Africa and Germany. Emma currently works as a communications consultant with PositiveNegatives, co-authoring articles, creating podcasts and managing social media channels.

Anoushka Khandwala

Design Consultant

Anoushka has a BA in Graphic Design (Central Saint Martins, London 2018), where she found her voice as a designer and writer. She began at PositiveNegatives in September 2018, working on the rebrand of the company and projects that involved human centred design. Her personal work explores ideas of race, feminism and identity and she regularly writes and speaks about diversifying and decolonising the creative industry. Her work has been featured on numerous websites such as Creative Review, YCN New Now, Lecture in Progress and the Young Creative Council’s Badass Gal.