Gillian McFadyen

Dr, PhD (Aberystwyth University) MSc Postcolonial Politics (Aberystwyth University) MSc International Politics (University of Glasgow) BA(Hons) Social Science (Glasgow Caledonian University) , HEA Fellow

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Personal profile


Dr Gillian McFadyen is a Lecturer in International Politics. She is the Deputy Director of Recruitment, Admission and Marketing for InterPol and sits on the Aber University Research Ethics Panel.  Gillian's research focuses on the international refugee regime, with a particular focus on the British refugee system. 

Gillian has a PhD from Aberystwyth, as well as degrees from Aber (MSc), Glasgow (MSc) and Glasgow Caledonian (BA Hons). She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a 2021 alum of the Welsh Crucible. 


Research interests

Gillian's research engages with the area of refugee studies. She is particularly interested in refugee law, the British Asylum system, EU asylum process, as well as applying theories such as hospitality, labelling and postcolonialism to the refugee regime. She also has an interest in memory, trauma, silence and their application to refugee politics. Gillian's first book, Refugees in Britain: Practices of Hospitality and Labelling was published with Edinburgh University Press (2020).  The book intertwines theories of hospitality and labelling, and applies them to the British refugee regime, arguing that the British refugee regime has developed towards an externalised humanitarian hospitality. The book examines counter-discourses by examining local practices of British hospitality and showing acts of solidarity and resistance that challenge the statist logic. The result is a theoretically informed account of the British approach to externalisation and geographical seclusion of refugees, particularly in response to the current Mediterranean Crisis 

A secondary field of research, sees her focuses on political embroidery, using stitching and craftivism as a method of resistance, memory, activism and story-telling. This research has seen her work on multiple projects at the national and international level, with exhibitions at the Tate Modern, Liverpool (2018), British Refugee Council Archives, London (2019) and Bordando Por la Memoria Project.

In this thread, Gillian is working on an interdisciplinary project with researchers from Swansea and Northumbria University - Maternal Guilt Quilt- an innovative project that explores maternal emotional experiences, through a digitally augmented quilt- through touching the quilt, embedded audio narratives are heard of mothers experiences of feeding. With the quilt complete, we are focusing on utilizing the quilt as a tool kit to take to health professionals in order to improve and support perinatal mental health in Wales. 

Expertise: Gillian is interested in supervising projects in the following areas: refugee, asylum, hospitality, labelling, memory, trauma, language, detention, postcolonialism, colonial legacies, human rights, political embroidery, propaganda.

PhDs to completion:
Dr Chloe Sydney
Dr Joanne Elliott


Gillian is the Visiting and Open Day Coordinator for the Director of Recruitment, Admission and Marketing. 


Gillian teaches in the area of International Politics and Global Development, covering modules on Global Politics, Global Development and Refugee Politics/Simulation. In 2020 she won the Aber SU Student and Staff Award for Creative Teaching. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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