MMB Annual Report 2019-20

A message from the MMB team.

The past year has been a busy and productive time for MMB – though not in the way we imagined! Last week we published our Annual Report, which outlines our approach to migration and mobilities research as well as our activities over the past year, our ongoing objectives and a taste of the wide range of subjects in which MMB members are currently engaged. Do take a look at the report here.

The focus we set ourselves for 2019-20 was to build our international networks – and we developed some fantastic plans. We joined the IMISCOE network of European migration scholars. Our Trans-Oceanic Mobilities network was to be launched in May with a visit from US scholars on the theme of Mobility and the Biome. We successfully applied for a Benjamin Meaker Fellowship for Professor Nandita Sharma from University of Hawaii. We won funding for visits to Latin America to develop projects with institutions in the region. Then, of course, came COVID.

It took a month or so to adjust. We moved most of our events online and revised our objectives so we could not just bounce back but bounce forward. We developed a space on our website to host University publications, research and events on migration and COVID-related matters. We launched two new blog series: ‘Letter from Afar’, which collates research and experiences of colleagues responding to COVID-19 in very different contexts, and ‘MMB Latin America’, which is the first output from the MMB Latin America working group. The University of Bristol hosts a wide range of activity and research related to Latin America that spans multiple schools and faculties. Interests include political violence and post-conflict reconstruction, labour and mobility, and the circulation of ideas and transnational exchanges. We have started to showcase work with and from the region and to work to develop common research agendas. Keep an eye out for our Dialogue events next year and check out our Latin America website.

The Black Lives Matter protests also marked an important opportunity and challenge for MMB’s work. Pulling down Colston’s statue put Bristol on the map. Anti-racism is entangled with migrant rights and vice versa – until Black Lives Matter irrespective of immigration and citizenship status, Black Lives will continue to be disposable. We believe MMB has an important role to play in making these connections and will be highlighting research and analysis on this in the coming year.

Another key activity keeping us busy since the spring has been the development of online courses that draw on the wealth of research and expertise from across the University of Bristol. The first of these will be a free taster course introducing ‘Migration, Mobilities and Citizenship’, which will launch in December – so that will give you something to do over the Christmas period! At the same time, we will open registration for a longer online, interactive, synchronous course that will run for six weeks from May 2021.

We also recently started a quarterly MMB Newsletter for all our members, in Bristol and beyond, with information about our recent and upcoming events, our blogs, member publications and other announcements. Our first, from the summer, is available here and another will be sent out shortly. If you would like to receive this Newsletter do contact us or fill in the online subscription form.

Finally, we would like to thank our fantastic Research Challenge Co-ordinators and Management Group for all their ongoing hard work and support. A special thank you to our Strategic Leads from the past year: Ann Singleton (Policy), Diego Acosta (International), Katharine Charsley (Postgraduate) and Julia O’Connell Davidson (Anti-Racism). Thanks too to Josie Gill who is stepping down as Director of the Centre for Black Humanities and so from her position on the Management Group, and to Chris Bertram, an original co-director of Bristol Institute for Migration and Mobility Studies. We would also like to welcome our two new Alumni Ambassadors, Ella Barclay and Ignacio Odriozola, who will be spreading the word about MMB and the MSc in Migration and Mobility Studies as they forge new paths in their work and studies.

Bridget Anderson, Emma Newcombe and Emily Walmsley

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