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School of Politics and International Relations

Dr Holly Eva Ryan, BSc (Hons), City; MSc (Res), LSE; PhD, City.

Holly Eva

Reader in International Relations, Director of Research, Deputy Head of School

Room Number: ArtsOne, 2.15
Twitter: @HollyERyan
Office Hours: Tuesday 13:00-14:00 (in person). Drop in, no appointment necessary.


Dr Holly Eva Ryan joined the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary in September 2018. Her research sits at the intersections of international politics and practical aesthetics. It has a particular emphasis on the relationship between sensory experience, power and the political practice(s) of non-state/civil society actors – including artists, social movements and NGOs.

Holly's first book 'Political Street Art: Communication, Culture and Resistance in Latin America', examined the relationship between street art and social change in Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina. Beyond street art, she has written on a wide variety of topics including collective memory, political emotions, campaign imagery, the politics of solidarity, international development and the concept of ‘public value’. She is currently writing a book on friendship and international politics.

Holly is a Co-Director of the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CRoLAC), a hub established to connect scholars within and beyond Queen Mary whose research is focussed on Latin America and the Caribbean region. She is a founding member of the Artistic Activism Research Co-Lab (AARC).

A Fellow of Advance HE (formerly the Higher Education Academy), Holly has over a decade of teaching experience in UK Higher Education. She has previously taught at Kings College London, Aston University, Manchester Metropolitan University and City University of London, where she completed her PhD in 2013.

In her spare time, Holly enjoys drawing, dancing, and growing plants. She is also a fan of cats.


Semester A - POL283 - Global Theory

Semester B - POLM060 - Latin America in the World


Research Interests:

Holly’s research interests include:

  • Visual and sensory politics
  • Practical aesthetics 
  • Artistic activism
  • Participatory and arts based research
  • Latin America & the Caribbean (esp. Nicaragua, Colombia, the Anglophone Caribbean and Guyana) 
  • Paradiplomacy, twinning and community linking 
  • Friendship in International Relations 
  • Theories and practices of solidarity

Examples of research funding:

2023 QMUL HSS Funding, Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CRoLAC) (£15,000 Co-Director)

2022 QMUL HSS Funding, Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CRoLAC) (£2,000 Co-Director)

2018 ESRC New Investigator Award “The Art of International Friendship” (£305,000, Principal Investigator)

2017 MMU GCRF/Newton Accelerator Award (£7,500, Principal Investigator)

2017 BISA Early Career Small Research Grant (£2,200, Principal Investigator)

2016 University of Sheffield SURE 301 Award (£1,200, Principal Investigator)

2015 ESRC Seminar Series: “Civil Society Strategies for Democratic Renewal” (£30,500, Co-Investigator)



  • Ryan, H.E. (2017) Political Street Art: Communication, Culture and Resistance in Latin America. London: Routledge [paperback published 2018]

Edited Books

  • Davies, T., Ryan, H.E. and Peña, A.M. (2016) Protest, Social Movements, and Global Democracy Since 2011. Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change. 39 [Peer Reviewed]

Journal Articles

  • Ryan, H.E. and Mazzilli, C. (2023) Twinning and Development: A Genealogy of Depoliticisation, Journal of International Relations and Development. Online first:
  • Ryan, H.E. (2022) Twinning for Solidarity: Building Affective Communities in the Aftermath of the Nicaraguan Revolution, International Relations. Online first:
  • Ryan, H.E. (2021) The Political Work of Graffiti During the Covid-19 Pandemic: A View from Tottenham, London, Visual Studies Special Issue on Covid-19. 36(2)
  • Ryan, H.E. and Mazzilli, C. (2021) Debating the Value of Twinning: The Need for a Broader Perspective. British Politics. Online first: https://doi: 10.1057/s41268-023-00289-z
  • Ryan, E. and Flinders, M. (2018) From Senseless to Sensory Democracy: Lessons from Applied Theatre. Politics, 38(2)
  • Hannah, E., Ryan, H.E. and Scott, J. (2017) Power, Knowledge and Resistance: The Revolutionary Potential of IGOs in Global Trade Governance? Review of International Political Economy, 24(5)
  • Ryan, H.E. (2016) From Absent to Present Pasts: Civil Society, Democracy and the Shifting Place of Memory in Brazil. Journal of Civil Society, 12(2)
  • Ryan, H.E. (2015) Affect’s Effects: Considering Art-activism and the 2001 Argentine Crisis. Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest, 14(1)

Book Chapters

  • Ryan, H.E. (2020) Political Street Art in Social Mobilization: A Tale of Two Protestsin McGarry, A. et al. (eds.) The Aesthetics of Global Protest: Visual Culture and Communication. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press
  • Ryan, H.E. (2019) The Aesthetic Politics of NGOs in Davies, T.R. (ed.) Routledge Handbook on NGOs. London: Routledge
  • Ryan, H.E. (2018) ‘Os Anos de Chumbo’, Grupo Tupinãodá and the possibilities of street art for resistance in Martins, R., and Canevacci, M. (eds.) Lusophone Hip-hop. ‘Who we are’ and ‘where we are’: identity, urban culture and belonging. London: Sean Kingston Publishers
  • Ryan, H.E. (2015) Moving Forwards, Looking Backwards: Os Anos de Chumbo, Tupinãodá and the new politics of memory in Brazil in Fuggle, S. and Henri, T. (eds.) Return to the Street. London: Pavement Books

Review Articles

  • Ryan, H.E. (forthcoming) Love the Dark Days. Mathur, I. Reviewed in Journal of Indentureship and its Legacies
  • Ryan, H.E. (2022) Sensible Politics. Callahan, W. Reviewed in Perspectives on Politics.
  • Ryan, H.E. (2021) Visual Global Politics. Bleiker, R (Ed). Reviewed in Visual Communication, 20 (1)
  • Ryan, H.E. (2014) The Human Cost of Development and Resettlement. Bennett, O. and McDowell, C. Reviewed in: Anthropology in Action, 21(1)

Pedagogic Tools and Writing


Supervised to completion:

  • Mor Cohen, Manchester Metropolitan University

Thesis title:  "Things That Grow From Below: Art Collectives in Contemporary Israel"  (2020)

Current supervisees:

  • Carlos Cruz Mosquera: “European Union aid in Colombia and the peace agreement: An investigation into its effects on socio-political discourse and behaviour”
  • Kinti Orrellana: “Andean ‘life cycles’ & global politics: Alternative conceptions of time and the dynamic re-constitution of the global” (Principal’s Scholarship, QMUL)
  • Sara Wong: “Creative Practice and Transnationalism: Art and Resistance in the Burmese Diaspora” (LAHP Scholarship, LSE-QMUL)
  • Hellen Gutierrez
  • Francisca Merino Fernandez
  • Nicola Armstrong

Public Engagement

I have curated three public exhibitions: LINES (ESRC funded exhibition at QMUL, 2023); Everyday Politics (Photography exhibition co-organised with the World Photography Organisation at The Palace of Westminster, 2015); Art, Politics and Expression (ESRC funded exhibition at Bank Street Arts, 2015)

To date, my research has been featured in The Telegraph, The Conversation, The Independent, The Yorkshire Post, Open Democracy, The Huffington Post and in a feature by the Forest Peoples Programme. I have been interviewed by Lord Ed Vaizey for Times Radio and the Global Politics Unbound podcast series.

In 2023 I was nominated for a Queen Mary University Research and Innovation Award.

Media and Reporting

Holly’s research has been featured in The Independent, The Yorkshire Post, The Telegraph, The Conversation, OpenDemocracy/Democracia Abierta, The Huffington Post. See below for a selection of her public engagement work:

  • Ryan, H.E. (2021) Moving Forward Together: Reflections and recommendations on twinning and linking projects in the 21st Century. Medium. Available from:
  • Mazzilli, C and Ryan, H.E. (2020) From ‘Mutual Aid’ to ‘Mask Diplomacy’: Reflections on Covid-19 and the Twinning Movement. Mile End Institute. Available from:
  • Ryan, H.E. (2020) Guyana elections 2020: a crude awakening? LSE-LACC Blog. Available from:
  • Ryan, H.E. (2020) The post-Brexit battleground of twinned towns. The Independent. Available from:
  • Ryan, H.E. (2019) Environmental Protests in Gunjur magnify wider concerns about Chinese Investments in West Africa. The Conversation. Available from:
  • Ryan, H.E. (2017) Brazil must protect its remaining ‘uncontacted’ indigenous Amazonians. The Conversation. Available from:
  • Ryan, H.E. (2017) What can theatre do for democracy? Politics Journal Blog. Available from:
  • Ryan, H.E. and Trujillo Copete, L. (2016) On Newspaper Cartoons in the Colombian Peace Process. OpenDemocracy/DemocraciaAbierta [Available in Eng and Esp]. Available from:
  • Ryan, H.E. (2015) #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik‪: Unpacking Artistic Responses to the Aylan Kurdi image in Vis, F., & Goriunova, O. (Eds.). (2015). The Iconic Image on Social Media: A Rapid Research Response to the Death of Aylan Kurdi.

Available from:


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