Research Team

Image taking during fieldwork in Armenia

Dr Sarah Wilson (PI)

Sarah Wilson is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the Faculty of Social Sciences at Stirling and PI for this project. Much of Sarah’s research has focused on young people living in very difficult circumstances in the UK. She has often used qualitative, including visual and arts-based methods, and is currently developing work on what sociologists can learn from artists in terms of representing the richness and depth of qualitative data.

Sarah first visited Armenia for the first time in June 2019 to discuss developing this project application with Maria Zaslavskaya and Zina Tokmayjan our Armenian colleagues. Through them, we met with a group of Syrian-Armenian women and local organisations supporting Syrian refugees. We hope that this project will contribute to further understanding of South-South migration, in relation to a less-studied country and region; one that has also been omitted from recent accounts of Syrian refugees. Our aim too is to consider the implications of these movements in a country long affected by net out-migration of its young people that wants newcomers to stay. 

Email: Find Sarah on Twitter. 

Dr Marina Shapira

Dr Marina Shapira is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling.  Marina studied Applied Math (MSc) at State University of Yerevan, and Sociology at University of Haifa (MA) and Oxford University (DPhil). Before coming to Stirling she worked at the Centre of Educational Sociology, University of Edinburgh and the ESRC Centre for Population Change. At Stirling Marina teaches the third-year core undergraduate module on research methods (quantitative), and the Honours options module on Race, Ethnicity and Migration. Marina’s research  focuses on young people, educational attainments and early transitions, ethnic socio-economic inequalities,  ethnic identities, interactions between immigrants and their host societies.

Email: Follow Marina on Twitter.

Dr Maria Fotopoulou

Maria is a Lecturer in Criminology  at the University of Stirling with expertise and experience in the field of policy and the service evaluation of marginalised and minority groups in the UK and Greece. She has a PhD in Drug Misuse from the University of Glasgow and an MSc in Drug Use from Imperial College London. She specialises in the topics of drug use, the framing and construction of social problems and the process of problematisation in research, policy and practice. She was also a co-investigator in a Carnegie Trust funded study into the provision of services to unaccompanied minors in Scotland.

Email: Follow Maria on Twitter 

Dr Sossie Kasbarian

Sossie Kasbarian is a Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Stirling. She earned her doctorate from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in 2006. She has been a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Edinburgh and has taught at SOAS, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva), the University of Lancaster (England), and the American University in Cairo. She is co-editor of Diaspora- A Journal of Transnational Studies.

Dr. Kasbarian’s research interests and publications broadly span diaspora studies; contemporary Middle East politics and society; nationalism and ethnicity; transnational political activism; refugee, displacement and migration studies.  She is the co-editor (with Anthony Gorman) of Diasporas of the Modern Middle East: Contextualising Community (Edinburgh University Press 2015). She is author of the forthcoming book, Diasporizing the modern Middle East – Armenian remnants, resilience and reconfigurations.


Professor Maria Zaslavskaya

Professor Maria Zaslavskaya is a Professor of Sociology in the Department of Applied Sociology, Yerevan State University.  Her  research interests include migration, social identity, tolerance, ethnicity, and sociology of education, social research methodologies  and methods, comparative analysis, discourse analysis, social technologies, sociology of knowledge. Prof Zaslavskaya is an author/co-author of 6 monographs and more than 50 scientific papers.


Scot Hunter

Scot Hunter is a PhD student in Sociology at the University of Stirling and a research fellow on this project. Scot has experience in handling complex secondary datasets and using advanced quantitative methods to explore the outcomes of migrant and ethnic minorities. His thesis looks at the impact of contemporary immigration patterns on the Muslim community in the UK and involves longitudinal secondary data analysis of the Understanding Society dataset.

Scot has recently taken part in an internship with the Scottish Government, looking to evaluate the New Scots Strategy for aiding the incorporation of newcomer groups into Scotland. He is dedicated to conducting research that will help inform policy and improve the experiences of newcomer and ethnic minority groups across different contexts.

Email:  Follow Scot on Twitter.