PhD student nets top award for helping child slave victims

13 June 2018

Natasha Williams beat hundreds of candidates to win funding to help child victims of slavery and human trafficking.

Natasha Williams, currently studying a PhD at the University of Westminster, has received £500 from Gradconsult, which will help young victims disclose their experiences through storytelling and sketching.

Natasha, originally from Leicestershire, began her PhD in 2017 and is now celebrating becoming one of six winners, selected from over 300 entries, of a grant from Gradconsult - a Sheffield-based specialist in graduate recruitment, learning and development.

The grants aim to help new researchers and early career academics get a head-start with funding bids, starting their portfolio of funded research to enable them to secure larger funding bids and conduct research in their field in the future.

38-year-old Natasha used personal experience to focus her research. Growing up in a single parent family with siblings and a mother who suffered from depression, Natasha has overcome significant setbacks, becoming homeless at just 16. She is now working towards her PhD, while raising her two children.

Her research will examine how drawing, and the art of storytelling, can be of use to foster carers and people who are working to help people deal with their pasts.

She said: “My employment history involved working with vulnerable women and children who were at risk of a range of abuse, and also working with adults who had acute mental health issues.

“I am currently in negotiations with the charity Barnardo’s, as I hope to access their foster carers and work with their child trafficking team”.

About the University of Westminster:

The University of Westminster boasts a vibrant learning environment attracting more than 20,000 students from over 150 nations and we continue to invest in our future with new developments, research projects and new ideas.

We offer highly attractive practice-based courses that are independently rated as excellent, many with international recognition. Our distinguished 180-year history has meant we lead the way in many areas of research, particularly politics, media, art and design, architecture and biomedical sciences, and our position in the city of London allows us to continue to build on our close connections with leading figures and organisations in these areas as well as in the worlds of business, information technology, politics and law.

Our commitment to educating graduates for the needs of professional life attracts high quality students from within the UK and around the globe.

Internationalisation, employability and sustainability are key elements in the University of Westminster’s vision for the future and we strive to ensure the very highest standards are met and maintained.

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