Ikhlas is a doctoral student at the School of Languages, Cultures, and Societies in the University of Leeds. Her PhD uses findings from evolutionary psychology and anthropology to analyse female characters found in Western Malayo-Polynesian oral traditions (collected from languages spoken in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, southern Vietnam, the island nations of western Micronesia and Madagascar). She hopes to show through her research that humans continuously tell each other the same stories as they confer evolutionary advantages to humans’ survival.
Her love of everything fairy tale, folktale, and fantasy-related became the catalyst to co-founding the research group ‘Reading the Fantastic’. Originally a graduate reading group, ‘Reading the Fantastic’ has blossomed into a bigger project that brings together scholars, artists, and fellow readers of the fantastic. Thus far, she has helped co-organise national and international events such as seminars, creative and academic workshops, as well as the ‘Tales Beyond Borders’ conference.
You can find more of her serious academic work here. She occasionally tweets at @IkhlasAbdulHadi though her past time is usually spent discovering delicious new things to eat or befriending cats on the street.