AHRC Fellowship award for Dr. Lauren Dempster's Research in Transitional Justice
Exploring the intersection of forensic science, knowledge production and transitional justice in the search for the disappeared.
Dr Lauren Dempster, Senior Lecturer in the School of Law has been awarded just under £300k via the AHRC Research, Development and Engagement Fellowship scheme for her project, Forensic Scientists and Knowledge Production in Transitional Justice.
This scheme is designed to support arts and humanities researchers at mid-career and established career stages, providing opportunities to undertake ambitious, innovative research and to develop capabilities as research specialists.
Using this Fellowship, Lauren will explore the relationship between forensic scientists and knowledge production in transitional justice, focusing on their work in recovering those disappeared during periods of conflict or dictatorship.
As a field, transitional justice has deep roots in Argentina, where CONADEP - one of the world's first truth commissions - was established to investigate the disappearances perpetrated under the dictatorship of 1976-83. Establishing what happened to the disappeared required the involvement of a team of forensic specialists, and this case became the first of many across the globe in which forensic scientists have been central to transitional justice efforts to locate, exhume, and identify the remains of those who have been disappeared. Despite the centrality of forensic scientists to this work, the interaction between forensic scientists and transitional justice remains relatively unexplored. Through this Fellowship, Lauren will explore this overlooked interaction to enhance understanding of both the multi-faceted work of forensic scientists and the nature of the knowledge production relationship between forensic scientists and transitional justice.
Of her success, Lauren says “I am absolutely delighted to have been awarded this Fellowship. I have been interested in the role of forensic scientists in transitional justice since my PhD, and this funding will give me an opportunity to explore this relationship in depth. I am grateful to colleagues in the Law School, Mitchell Institute, the Faculty Research Office, and beyond QUB for their support with and feedback on this application, and previous funding applications. The culture of mentoring in the Law School, combined with the support in place for developing funding proposals within the School and Faculty has been key to my ultimate success in getting funding for this research.”
Director of Research, Professor Anna Bryson commented, “This award is due recognition of Lauren Dempster’s pioneering work on the disappeared over many years. It will enable her to develop the international impact of her research and to consolidate her position as an expert in the field. We offer our warm congratulations and look forward to engaging with the fruits of this important research in the years to come."