Marianna Karakoulaki

Research, Journalism, Photography


Marianna Karakoulaki is researcher, journalist and photographer based in Cambridge, UK. She is currently a part-time PhD Researcher in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Birmingham. Her professional backgdound is in journalism  / photojournalism, the media and the civil society sector. For an extensive bio keep reading: 

Phd Research

Marianna’s research focuses on border violence, death and forced migration at Europe’s East Mediterranean migratory route. Using ethnographic methods which include documentary photography, observation, and unstructured interviews Marianna employs a necropolitical theoretical framework to examine the experiences of people on the move in relation to the shifting nature of the violent border in Europe; their connection to death and the liminal spaces of mortality; and EUrope’s border security practices. Marianna’s thesis is tentatively titled: Border Violence and the Necropolitics of Fortress EUrope.

Marianna has presented her work on no borders politics, border violence and border deaths in Greece in several conferences and workshops. A select few include: Whither Refugees? Restrictionism, Crises and Precarity Writ Large (2018, International Association for the Study of Forced Migration, Thessaloniki, Greece), Swedish Forum for Human Rights (2019, Sweden) Bodies on the Edge: Life and Death in Migration (2022, Thanatic Ethics, Oxford, UK), Whose International Studies? (2024, British International Studies Association, Birmingham, UK).

Beyond her research Marianna has been a PGR representative for the Department of Political Science and International Relations and a Senior Rep for the School of Government since 2019. In 2020 she was awarded the Outstanding PGR Rep Award for the College of Social Sciences. She has also been a member and co-chair (2022-2023) of the Graduate Centre for Europe.

Marianna has been teaching undergraduate courses in Political Economy (2020), Internaitonal Relations (2021, 2022, 2024) and Politics (2023) at the Univeristy of Birmingham for several years, and during summer she works as a tutor in International Relations, Politics and Media Studies for Oxford Summer Courses based in Cambridge.

Journalism and Photography

Beyond academia, Marianna works as a journalist, photographer and media professional based in Cambridge, UK. She has vast experience as a foreign correspondent in Greece and the wider region. She has won several awards for her work on migration including the Royal Television Society Award and the Foreign Press Association award for my work as a producer with Channel 4 News/ITN, and the third prize of the Migration Media Awards for her work with Deutsche Welle (DW News).

She has worked with and still collaborates with several outlets including but not limited to DW News, Al Jazeera English, Open Migration, The New Humanitarian (formerly IRIN News), and the Middle East Eye. She worked as a stringer for News that Moves (Internews), and she contributes to radio programmes including BBC World Service, BBC Scotland, CBC Radio, and Voice of America. She has also worked as a producer and researcher for several other media including YLE (Finland), Radio Television Suisse (Switzerland), Human Rights Watch, BBC Radio 4 (UK), Sanomat (Finland), Voice of America (USA) and others.

Marianna’s comments and tweets have appeared on BBC Radio World Service, Voice of America, The Guardian, The Times, Mashable, Al Jazeera, Buzzfeed, Bernardinai (Lithuania), Telerama (France) and others.

From 2020-2023 she was the communication manager and Editor in Chief of Media Diversity Institute based in London.

She is the articles editor and director of the editorial board of the online academic publication E-IR.


Marianna photography has been published at several media including DW News. She is currently a contributor for the photo agency Shot By Women. Marianna has recently embarked in the world of commercial photography focusing on photography for small scale organisations, portraits, events and couples photography. Her style follows the principles of documentary photography. For more information get in touch.

Why work with me

If you’re looking for a dynamic researcher, an established journalist or a photographer with a passion for storytelling have a look at the different sections of my website to see what I offer.