Emma Brewis

Emma Brewis


Before starting my PhD in POLIS, I worked at the University of Leeds on a research project mapping mass atrocity crimes. Prior to this, I was a research support assistant on a project exploring the 2020 US presidential election. I completed an MA in Conflict, Development and Security in 2021, focussing my thesis on political talk in gaming forums. Following this, I was awarded the White Rose DTP 1+3 Studentship, which required me to complete an MA in Social Research (Interdisciplinary) in 2022/2023  prior to starting my PhD. I joined POLIS as a postgraduate researcher in 2023 supervised by Professor Cristina Leston-Bandeira and Dr Nick Robinson. 

During 2023, I undertook an internship with the Inter-Pariamentary Union (IPU) and the International Parliament Engagament Network (IPEN) which involved administrative work and the development of case studies. I continue to work with IPEN in supporting their mission to bring together academics, parliamentary officials and third sector representatives from across the world, to promote collaboration and encourage knowledge sharing around parliaments and public engagement.

Research interests

My work primarily focuses on video games and political engagement, looking particularly at online roleplaying spaces. My thesis aims to contribute to several debates, such as: how we understand political engagement; how video games might offer opportunities for political engagement; what the barriers are to engagement, particularly among young people; and, more practically, how institutions might use these insights to better engage people. I am also concerned more broadly with the use of video games to further our understanding of principles, theories, and assumptions within political studies, examining what might it mean for scholars to challenge thinking through interactive ludic spaces.


  • MA Conflict, Development and Security, University of Leeds
  • MA Social Research, University of Leeds
  • BA Criminology, University of York