Dr Virginie Grzelczyk is a senior lecturer in International Relations. She started working in LSS in 2013.
What I enjoy most about working in the school is the people. Regardless of what we do, whether we are in a long meeting, rushing to teach, or struggling with a grant application, there are lovely people who are there to help, with kindness and humour.
I work mostly on the Korean peninsula, and especially on North Korea. I have been interested in international relations and especially conflict resolution for a long time, and my initial research work was focused on trying to find whether there was a North Korean negotiation strategy, and whether we could have more cooperative outcomes. This was more than 15 years ago, even before North Korea tested its first nuclear weapons, and this question still very much stands today so I guess I will never stop researching
The most significant project I have worked on is my book on North Korea’s 21st century diplomacy. It was released no so long ago, so this is the book that crystallises most of what I have been working on for a number of years.
My research is now taking a bit of a different turn as I will be looking at the politics of toys in conflict and conflict zones. My main work, North Korea, will still be part of the project that looks at toys that represents the enemy, and that carry within themselves a specific violent narratives that is not always recognised as such because these object are toys, and therefore not always taken very seriously…I will be working on this almost exclusively for 2018-2019 thanks to a Leverhulme Research Grant, and I am looking forward to sharing toy stories with my students, colleagues, the Aston community and beyond!
During my time here, campus has obviously changed a lot and especially the buildings that surrounds us. We used to feel very much at the northern end of Birmingham, and now we feel very much part of the city. In LSS, we have grown a lot over the past 5 years and so many wonderful and dynamic colleagues have joined, and I have developed deep friendships with some of my colleagues, which creates a great sense of community and family
Over the next 20 years, I would like to see LSS grow, but not too much as LSS feeling like a community (and not a sea of people), is important to me. I think we will keep on doing interesting and cutting-edge research, and that our ties with Europe and the world will be further developed, which will make us a great place for study, and research
When I am not working I run a lot! (I picked up running when I went to North Korea for a sport event some years ago), and I am always proud to take part in races in Birmingham that start on our lovely Aston campus (like the 10K in May and the half-marathon in October). I like to take care of my garden, and I like to motorcycle. And I have a small kid who makes time disappear in the most wonderful ways.