Lockdown Stories

Grassroot Media Making in the favelas
of Rio de Janeiro

Research Team

Dr Fabian Frenzel

Fabian is an Associate Professor at the University of Leicester (UK). In his research, he has investigated qualitative indicators of tourism’s role in poverty alleviation specifically the non-monetary effects of tourism in low income neighbourhoods. Fabian widely researched tour guides and the specificities of their role, effects of tourists and the importance of storytelling as empowerment tool.

He considers the role of transnational mobilities, from activists to tourists, in the formation of a global social question with a focus on the way slums are becoming destinations of a range of better-off travellers, in solidarity and volunteer travel and in slum tourism. This is also the topic of his book ‘Slumming It‘ (Zed Books, 2016).In his second empirical research field, Fabian studies the ways in which social movements organise themselves in response to place and space with a particular interest in the organisational form of the protest camp.

In 2013, he published a book on protest camps as an organisational form (with Zed books) in collaboration with Anna Feigenbaum (Bournemouth University) and Patrick McCurdy (Ottawa University). In, 2018, he co-edited the book ‘Protest Camps in International Context’ (Policy Press).

Dr Isabella Rega

Isabella holds a Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and an Executive Master’s degree in Intercultural Communication from the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI, Italy). Her research focuses on the role of digital media to promote community development and social change. She is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Media and Communication at Bournemouth University (UK), she has been involved as Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator in research projects funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Council, the Swiss National Science Foundation, and the European Commission. Currently she is PI of an AHRC International Network titled Sustainability and Local Heritage, and is Co-I of two AHRC projects – DARE: Digital Arts for Refugee Engagement, and GiVE: Girls into Vocational Education. She is also involved as Co-I in two GCRF projects, one funded by Leicester University, Lockdown Stories and one by Bournemouth University, Sister Communities, both exploring the potential of community tourism and digital storytelling.

She co-founded Associazione Seed, a non-profit organisation promoting the use of educational technologies in the non-profit sector, and she is now Global Research Director of Jesuit Worldwide Learning: Higher Education at the Margins, leading the research efforts of the organisation on the impact of higher education on marginalised communities around the globe and on the effectiveness of digital technologies to deliver high-quality educational experiences.

Dr Camila Moraes

Camila is an Associate Professor at the Tourism and Heritage Department at University of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO) where she coordinates the Program of Tutorial Education (PET) funded by the Ministry of Education (MEC), TurisData: Database on Tourism and Mobility Studies and the Observatory of Favela Tourism, where she monitors and collaborates with local tourism initiatives in favelas since 2010. She is Co-I in the Lockdown Stories Project funded by University of Leicester and in the AHRC International Network titled Sustainability and Local Heritage with Bournemouth University.

Camila has done extensive research on tourism in favelas in Rio de Janeiro, she is especially interested in the local guides engaged in tourism activities and how favela tourism has put on the move favelados voices and narratives about their favelas. She is co-editor of the book ‘Brazilian Mobilities’(2020) which provides unique insight into the complex dynamics of mobilities in the emerging countries from the Global South.


Dr Juliana Mainard-Sardon

Juliana holds a Ph.D. in Third Sector Management (University of Leicester) and in her thesis, she ethnographically explores how UK third sector workers’ identities are formed in an organisational culture of maximising achievements and in a workplace, which is characterised by a continuous and exhausting neoliberal busyness.  She worked as a funding manager of The Peepul Centre, one of the UK’s largest social enterprises, for 10 years with sole responsibility for fundraising, partnership development and grant management.

Juliana successfully developed long-term partnerships with Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, Leicester City Council, Sporting Equals, Age UK, LeicesterShire & Rutland Sport, Curve Theatre, Charnwood Arts, Attenborough Arts Centre and different community groups. She had secured funding and effectively managed projects from Sport England, Arts Council England, European Regional Development Fund, Big Lottery Fund and different Trusts & Foundations. As a community activist, she had established engagement programmes in the fields of art, health and well-being for youth communities in Argentina.

Msc Bernardo de La Vega

Bernardo is a master student in Ecotourism and Conservation at the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO) and works as a research assistant in The Lockdown Stories Project at the Observatory of Favela Tourism.  Engaged in scientific and technological approaches for community education and empowerment, also coordinates a scientific divulgation project at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and act as an Art, Science and Technology Analyst at Serviço do Comércio do Rio de Janeiro (Sesc Rio). 

In his research, Bernardo explores and analyses the emergence of virtual tours initiatives in Brazil during the pandemic period, especially those in which the main attraction is nature itself, the (eco) tours. In parallel, he takes part in biological studies about biodiversity of anurans, scientific divulgation in social media, and climate change impacts, the latter in partnership with the Center for Environmental and Climate Research, Lund University, Sweden.

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