Joanna Morley

Postgraduate Research Student


After careers in marketing and book publishing, Jo completed an MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (School of Advanced Study, University of London) in 2015, during which time she also interned as a research assistant at the Human Rights Consortium. Jo completed an MRes in Social Research at University of Liverpool in September 2018 as part of the ESRC funded NWSSDTC 1+3 research pathway, moving on to begin her PhD research in October 2018. She was also Vice President of the Postgraduates in Latin American Studies (PILAS) Committee 2017/18 responsible for delivering the PILAS Annual Conference at University of Liverpool in June 2018.

Research Interests

Thesis Title 

"Renewable Energy Transformations and Sustainable Development in Ecuador"

This research will explore the impacts of energy projects promoted under the banner of buen vivir development on local communities in Ecuador, including attempts to diversify the country’s energy matrix away from traditional fossil fuels, within the context of sustainable development and climate mitigation policies. The research will include interview-based fieldwork conducted in Ecuador, allowing for the collection of empirical data from communities and stakeholders impacted by hydroelectric energy projects, with the aim of understanding how policies of sustainable energy development are translated from the international arena into practice at the national and local level and the trade offs that take place. This research will contribute to the academic debates surrounding the socio- environmental and human rights implications of neo-extractivist policies in Latin American to the existing body of literature on Chinese investments in natural resource exploitation across Latin America.

Research Funding

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

NWSSDTC 1+3 pathway

Research Centre Membership

  • Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS)
  • Latin American Studies Association (LASA)
  • Human Rights Researcher’s Network (HRRN)
  • ENCA (Environmental Network of Central America)


  • Book chapter: ‘Human rights and socio-environmental conflict in Nicaragua’s Grand Canal project’. Natural Resource Development and Human Rights in Latin America: State and Non-state Actors in the promotion and opposition to extractivism activities. University of London 2017.
  • Article: ‘ ... Beggars sitting on a sack of gold’: Oil exploration in the Ecuadorian Amazon as buen vivir and sustainable development. International Journal of Human Rights: Special Issue: Social-Environmental Conflicts, Extractivism and Human Rights in Latin America. Volume 21 issue 4, 2017
  • Article: Extreme energy, ‘fracking’ and human rights: a new field for human rights impact assessments? International Journal of Human Rights. Volume19 issue 6, 2015
  • Book review: Oche Onazi ‘Human rights from community’ International Community Law Review. Issue 17, 2015