Arely Cruz-Santiago

Arely Cruz-Santiago is a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow within the Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology Department at the University of Exeter. In 2014, she was one of the founders of ‘Citizen-Led Forensics’: The first forensic DNA database created, managed and governed by relatives of disappeared persons in Mexico. The project, funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council transformative research stream, is the product of a long-standing ethnographic engagement that has explored how families of disappeared persons become forensic experts in their own right. Cruz-Santiago’s Leverhulme fellowship (2021-2024) Forensic Citizenship: Science and expertise in Latin America examines the development of forensic grassroots practices and governance that have emerged in Latin America amid human rights violations. For ten years, her research has incorporated ethnography and Participatory Action Research (PAR) to analyse citizen-led forensic practices such as case file analysis, DNA, mapping, GPS, and the use of drones to aid in the search for the disappeared. Her research is the bedrock of a new agenda on citizen forensics and participatory research that challenges existing forensic investigation models. She holds an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice and a PhD in Human Geography from Durham University, United Kingdom.