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Department of Psychology


To date, I have conducted field experiments that use media in conflict-affected communities to; reduce stigma towards former child combatants in Democratic Republic of Congo; decrease recruitment into violent extremist groups in the Sahel; mitigate revenge violence in Central African Republic; encourage peaceful defection from the Lord's Resistance Army in central Africa and reduce the prevalence of bonded labor in India. My master's research at Cambridge (MPhil 2018) investigated virtual reality (VR), which is an immersive, multi-sensory media experience. My research explored a progressing repurposing of VR technology to reduce prejudice and discrimination in the active conflict area of the Central African Republic (CAR). In CAR, direct contact between in-group and outgroup members is often unsafe; thus, the research presents a viable alternative. Virtual Immersive Contact (VIC) offers an effective means to simulate safe and positive intergroup contact, reducing prejudice and discrimination towards the Muslim minority.  This study opens up further areas of research for other contexts around the world, where dangerous hate speech, prejudice and division continue to fracture societies and engender violence. For my doctoral research, I am interested in interrogating whiteness as a construct, the social phenomenon and institutionalization of white supremacy, and the confluence of religious ideologies and policy to uphold these constructs in the United States.


Key publications: 

Kelly J, Branham L, Decker M. Abducted children and youth in Lord’s Resistance Army in Northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): mechanisms of indoctrination and control, Conflict and Health, vol. 10, no. 1, 2016.

Branham, L. (2016, 14 December). Hear the siren from behind the fence. Huffington Post.

O’Callaghan P, Branham L, Shannon C, Betancourt TS, Dempster M, McMullen J. A pilot study of a family focused, psychosocial intervention

with war-exposed youth at risk of attack and abduction in north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect. 2014;38:1197–207.

Branham, L. & Kelly, J. (2012, 21 March). Engaging African Voices on Kony. The New York Times.


Selected Films

Branham, L. (Director). (2018). Ani Wa Sa [Narrative Film]. United States/Democratic Republic of Congo: Invisible Children.

Branham, L (Director). (2018). Even in the Rain [Virtual Reality Film]. United States/Central African Republic: Google.

Branham, L (Director). (2018). The Hidden [Virtual Reality Film]. United States/India: Oculus and International Justice Mission.

Branham, L (Director). (2017). The Deep Place [Narrative Film]. United States/Ghana: International Justice Mission.

Branham, L (Director). (2017). Zo Kwe Zo [Narrative Film]. United States/Central African Republic: Search for Common Ground.

Branham, L (Director). (2016). Behind The Fence [Virtual Reality Film]. United States/Myanmar: Huffington Post/RYOT.

Branham, L (Director). (2016). Call Me Priya [Narrative Film]. United States/India: The Freedom Fund.

Branham, L (Director). (2015). Nascent [Narrative Film]. United States/Central African Republic: UNICEF.

Branham, L (Producer). (2013). They Came at Night [Narrative Film]. United States/Democratic Republic of Congo: Invisible Children.

Branham, L. (Producer). (2012). Global Citizen Festival Film Series. [Documentary Film Series]. United States: Global Citizen

Branham, L. (Producer). (2010, March 4). Retracing Steps to Freedom. [Television series episode] In R. Hartman (Producer), World News America. British Broadcasting Corporation.

Branham, L. (Assoc Producer). (2010, May 8). Rescued. [Television broadcast]. New York, NY: Cable News Network.

Branham, L. (Reporter). (2008, Nov 25). Crisis in Congo Update. [Television broadcast]. New York, NY: Cable News Network.

Branham, L. (Production Assoc). (2005, May). Death on the Tracks. [Television broadcast]. New York, NY: The New York Times and Discovery Times.


Selected Film Premieres

Venice International Film Festival 2018 for Even in the Rain

Tribeca Film Festival 2018 for The Hidden

Telluride Mountainfilm Festival 2018 for The Deep Place

SXSW Film Festival 2017 for Behind The Fence

Telluride Mountainfilm Festival 2017 for Zo Kwe Zo

Hot Docs International Documentary Festival 2016 for Nascent

Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2014 for They Came at Night

PhD Candidate
Person keywords: 
Sectarian and intergroup violence
Social norms
Prejudice Reduction
Perspective Taking
Virtual Reality
Conflict reduction interventions
Virtual Dialogue
Intergroup tolerance
Contact Theory
Construct of whiteness, white ignorance and white identity
Not available for consultancy