MMB Blog

Welcome to the MMB Blog. This series, usually publishing on a weekly basis during the academic term, provides a chance to hear from members of MMB and our close collaborators on research ideas, projects and publications.

From time to time we will also incorporate a special series. Currently this is: ‘Migration, Mobilities and the Environment’ run in collaboration with the Cabot Institute for the Environment exploring connections between movement and the environment from multi-disciplinary perspectives. Previously, ‘Letter from Afar’, ran from May to Sept 2020, in which fellow researchers from across the world told us about their experience of doing research in extraordinary times; and ‘Race, Nation and Migration’, which gave an opportunity to rethink the relationship between movement and racism. We also run a blog on the MMB Latin America, with contributions from scholars and activists across the region as well as from Bristol.

Published blogs:

  • Digital home working and its sustainability potential: human immobility and the mobilities of stuff
    Special series on Migration, Mobilities and the Environment, in association with the Cabot Institute for the Environment. By Chris Preist and Dale Southerton. Despite the huge human and economic costs of the COVID pandemic, many commentators have observed that this disruption – or shock – to our resource-intensive daily lives could offer a catalyst for […]
  • A tale of two worlds: national borders versus a common planet
    By Nandita Sharma. We live in a world whose political organisation in no way corresponds with the way we live our lives. This is true ecologically. It may be a cliché but it is plainly evident that the Earth’s atmosphere is not divided by national boundaries. Greenhouse gases cause the same degree of global warming […]
  • Migration, mobilities and the ecological context
    Special series on Migration, Mobilities and the Environment, in association with the Cabot Institute for the Environment. By Jane Memmott. Migration can make you happy. When I see the first swifts arrive in the spring, I stop in my tracks and smile broadly at all and everyone. I have to restrain myself from telling people […]
  • How water stress impacts on migration
    Special series on Migration, Mobilities and the Environment, in association with the Cabot Institute for the Environment. By Anita Etale. In 2015, Ioane Teitiota and his family were deported from New Zealand to the Pacific island nation of Kiribati. His asylum application had been based on the grounds that water, due to sea level rise, […]
  • The politics of climate justice, migration and mobility
    Special series on Migration, Mobilities and the Environment Migration Mobilities Bristol (MMB) and the Cabot Institute for the Environment bring together researchers from across the University of Bristol to explore connections between movement and the environment from a multi-disciplinary perspective. These diverse approaches highlight the importance of developing frames that incorporate both migration and environment, […]
  • UK-Rwanda refugee deal: first thoughts
    By Miranda Butler. The UK-Rwanda memorandum of understanding on asylum processing is now available. It sets out the terms of the agreement between the countries at a high level but provides some insight into how this scheme is supposed to work. Before removal Importantly, the UK has committed to undertaking an ‘initial screening’ of asylum seekers. […]
  • The cure or the cause? The impact of medical tourism on global health inequality
    By Ella Barclay. Migration motivated by the improvement of one’s health is not a new phenomenon. Nineteenth-century doctors around the world prescribed visits to foreign spas to improve wellbeing and London’s Harley Street was one of many internationally renowned centres for medical care. Despite this, there has been a recent boom in such movement, with […]
  • Vicarious strength: friends and befriending in UK immigration detention
    By Joel White. ‘We use the word friend here. Not client, or service user. Not asylum seeker, or refugee. We try to say friend.’ These were the words that stuck with me most after a volunteer training at the Unity Centre, a drop-in space for people going through the asylum and immigration system in Glasgow. […]
  • ‘Six new home carers near you!’ How digital platforms shape domestic services
    By Jing Hiah. Finding cleaning and child rearing services is easier than ever in many parts of the world. Install an app on your phone and start browsing through hundreds of (female) workers. If you decide not to directly hire their services – perhaps you feel too embarrassed (can’t we take care of ourselves?!) – […]
  • Brexit, COVID and stay/return narratives amongst Polish migrants in the UK
    By Magda Mogilnicka. Following EU enlargement in 2004, Polish migrants quickly became the largest migrant population in the UK. Since the Brexit referendum in 2016, however, the Office for National Statistics has documented a decline in the Polish population by around a quarter. A further drop in numbers was noticeable after the outbreak of the […]
  • The power of collaborative art in research for social change
    By Rebecca Yeo. On Human Rights Day, 10th December 2021, a mural on the wall of Easton Community Centre was officially opened. It brings together and promotes messages from Deaf, Disabled and asylum-seeking people living in the Bristol area. The collaborative process of creating the mural is the latest in a series of projects facilitated […]
  • Collateral damage: the implications of border restrictions on practitioners working with refugee populations
    By Vicky Canning. The acknowledgement that asylum systems across Europe are ‘hostile environments’ for migrant groups has increased in academic and practitioner consciousness, particularly in the aftermath of the 2015 refugee reception crisis. However, although the impacts of socio-political hostilities on migrants are well documented, little has been written about the implications of border restrictions […]
  • New report on ‘Organising a People’s Tribunal’
    By Don Flynn. A new study of the tactic of mounting a People’s Tribunal (PT) to indict a government for its breach of human rights standards has been published by a group of activists and academic researchers involved in organising the 2018 London Hearing of the Permanent People’s Tribunal on Violations with Impunity of the […]
  • Environmental racism in the borderland: the case of Calais
    By Travis Van Isacker. The hostile environment has been shorthand for the United Kingdom’s border regime since it was coined in 2012 by the then-Home Secretary, Theresa May. Originally describing a socio-political environment within the UK designed to make life impossible for people unable to prove their immigration status, it has since been extended to […]
  • What can we look forward to in 2022?
    By Bridget Anderson. January always feels like a slog. All the chores put off until ‘the New Year’ in expectation that 2022 would never come have mounted up. It’s dark and too cold/not cold enough. Summer feels it will never happen. And COVID, ugh COVID. So, instead, I’m thinking of things to look forward to […]
  • Chinese highly skilled migrants in Poland – carving out a third space
    By Lihua Qian. In the past two decades Poland has become a destination for thousands of highly skilled Chinese migrants. They work as managers, technicians, professionals and entrepreneurs, and their ages range from 25 to 55. Many stay long term, but most don’t intend to be naturalised. My research focuses on their practices of citizenship […]
  • The freedom to love: mixed-immigration status couples and the UK immigration system
    By Melanie Griffiths and Candice Morgan-Glendinning. ‘If you are a British citizen then falling in love with someone who is not British isn’t allowed to happen, basically.’ In the last decade, a series of changes to immigration policy have significantly affected the family lives of people living in and coming to the UK. These have […]
  • Mobility and mobilization – narrating injustices
    New writing on migration and mobilities – an MMB special series By Hager Ben Driss. Stephen Greenblatt defines ‘mobilizers’ as ‘agents, go-betweens, translators, or intermediaries’ (Cultural Mobility: A Manifesto p. 251) and contends that their function as contact facilitators should be included in mobility studies. This concept of mobilization serves as an ethical lever of […]
  • Myanmar’s discriminatory citizenship law: are Rohingyas the only victims?
    By Ali Johar.  There is a saying in Rohingya, ‘Duniyaye Burmarttun waro Roaingare beshi sine’, which means ‘Rohingyas are better known than Myanmar itself’. This is the result of the global coverage of mass atrocities committed against them. When people talk about the Rohingya, however, they mostly refer to the religious persecution, violence and, in recent years, ethnic cleansing or genocide. But all these issues are closely linked to how our community has been rendered stateless since 1982. Meanwhile, significant […]
  • MMB’s AGM discussions noted
    We were delighted to bring our MMB members together for an online AGM on 20th October 2021. It was a shame that we weren’t able to meet face to face again, but it was great to see such a lot of faces sharing an hour of their time! We started with a quick round up […]
  • Mobility and identity in the Patagonian Archipelago
    By Paul Merchant. Cast your eyes over a map of Chile, from top to bottom, and you’ll notice a strange development. South of Temuco, the lakes become more frequent and larger, and eventually, after Puerto Montt, the land fragments into hundreds of islands, some quite large, like Chiloé, and many that are very small. You […]
  • Hong Kongers at the borders of ‘Global Britain’
    By Michaela Benson. Since it opened on 31 January 2021, the designated route for Hong Kongers to settle in the UK—the Hong Kong BN(O) visa (HK BN(O))—has received 64,900 applications. The presentation of this route to settlement in the UK as ‘bespoke’ indicates that this is an exception to ordinary immigration controls. In what follows, […]
  • MMB looks back over 2020-21
    By Bridget Anderson, Emma Newcombe and Emily Walmsley It’s that time of year again… the MMB AGM! We will be meeting on 20th October and do hope that many of you can come along. We try and make it an engaging event with a chance to meet people even if, like last year, it’s going […]
  • Bilateral agreements as a tool to facilitate movement of people after Brexit
    By Diego Acosta. With the conclusion of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020, the free movement of people between the UK and the 27 member states of the EU and Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland came to an end. Some of the millions of EU nationals in the UK and British nationals in […]
  • Ordinary: a new approach to work in migration research
    New writing on migration and mobilities – an MMB special series By Dora-Olivia Vicol. In the world of mobility research, scholars have long cast a critical look at work. In most immigration regimes in the Global North, worker status is what is used to distinguish between those who are allowed to migrate and those who […]
  • Will Brexit and COVID-19 mean we see more local workers in UK fields?
    By Sam Scott and Karen O’Reilly. In the context of Brexit and COVID-19 the UK is experiencing severe low-wage labour shortages – in particular, in the horticultural sector. Our research looks at the potential for horticultural employers to deal with this situation by swapping migrants for local British-based workers. Horticultural employers have long argued for […]
  • Creating hospitable environments – growth on the (de)Bordering plots
    By Paul Hurley and Charli Clark. Over the past six months, we’ve been working on (de)Bordering, a project exploring the languages of environmentalism and migration. It is a project quite unlike any we’ve done before! As the artists in the project, we’ve been collaborating with academics and having conversations with students, gardeners and third sector […]
  • Forced labour in supply chains: missing links between industrial and sexual labour
    By Rutvica Andrijasevic. I was in the midst of fieldwork researching the working conditions of migrant workers in the electronics industry in Central and Eastern Europe when the press ran the story about Serbian workers working and living in slavery-like conditions in Slovakia. Various articles in Serbian press, culminating with the report of a journalist […]
  • Above the mud, the oystercatchers wheel with their sharp cries
    By Michael Malay. A few years ago, during a dry period of life, when I felt severed from the places I knew as home, I began going to a place called Severn Beach. It’s a village ten miles north of Bristol, at the end of the local train line. At first I went every few […]
  • Addressing discomfort: the politics and ethics of representation in qualitative research
    By the Critical Methodologies Collective. The Politics and Ethics of Representation in Qualitative Research (2021), published in July by Routledge, draws on experiences from nine different PhD projects. These have been brought together by our Critical Methodologies Collective to offer insights into the politics and ethics of representation for researchers working on justice struggles. Moments of […]
  • Why music matters for the study of human movement – with Florian Scheding
    In July 2020, when we realised that COVID-19 was going to be around for a while, we had a go at recording a podcast remotely. Dr Florian Scheding, Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Bristol and then-director of the MSc in Migration and Mobility Studies, was brave enough to accept our invitation for […]
  • The UK–Philippine trade in nurses: is it ever ethical?
    By Megan Anjeri Buxton. Funding for home-grown nurses has been steadily declining in the UK since the 1980s. The last nail in the coffin came in 2016 when the bursary for nursing students was entirely scrapped. As a result, we have a graduation rate of 27 nurses per 100,000 people. Hardly enough to meet the demands of a generally unhealthy and […]
  • Maritime mobility and literary culture: ‘Hamlet’ off the coast of Sierra Leone
    New writing on migration and mobilities – an MMB special series By Laurence Publicover. In 1607 three East India Company (EIC) ships set off on the company’s third voyage, aiming to break into the lucrative spice trade dominated by Portugal for the previous century. As the first to reach mainland India, this voyage has clear […]
  • Top tips on how to apply for a PhD – from an MMB Alumni Ambassador
    By Ella Barclay. Applying for a PhD in the UK can be an incredible opportunity to connect with scholars, focus your research ideas and challenge yourself along the way, regardless of the outcome. Having gone through the process in the past year I’ve learned that it’s an exciting experience but also a very steep learning […]
  • The ‘New Plan for Immigration’: a further curtailment of rights
    By Nadine Finch. Over the past three decades I have linked my practice as a human rights lawyer in the UK with research and policy development in the migration field and I will draw on this experience in my new role as an Honorary Senior Policy Fellow in the School for Policy Studies at Bristol. […]
  • Britain as the spoils of empire
    Race, nation and migration – the blog series reframing thinking on movement and racism. By Nadine El-Enany. My parents travelled from Egypt to Britain in 1977, moving from London to Exeter, a city in the South West of England, in 1978. For my parents, Exeter was a place they felt fortunate to have found, an idyll […]
  • (de)Bordering the human and non-human worlds
    By Bridget Anderson. In October 2016 the French authorities evicted more than a thousand people from their shelters in the Calais ‘Jungle’. This had become a hub for people seeking to cross the Channel to come to the UK, and a focus of solidarity and rights activism. It was to be replaced with a nature […]
  • Parenting through ‘modern technology’: learning from the pandemic
    By Candice Morgan-Glendinning and Melanie Griffiths. Research being launched on 8th June, which looks at the impact of immigration policies on UK families, found that Home Office decision makers routinely argue that family life can be adequately sustained by virtual means. The COVID-19 pandemic provides lived insight into the reality of such claims. For the […]
  • Race and the making of migration regimes
    Race, nation and migration – the blog series reframing thinking on movement and racism. By Radhika Mongia. Indian Migration and Empire: A Colonial Genealogy of the Modern State (2018) is an investigation into the history of state control over migration. At the heart of the book are two main questions: first, what histories can we chart […]
  • Intimate state encounters: Brexit, European Roma and contested home-lands
    Race, nation and migration – the blog series reframing thinking on movement and racism. By Rachel Humphris. Brexit and the UK’s relationship with the European Union foregrounds questions of identity, nationhood and who is included or excluded. For those identified as ‘Roma’ these are perennial questions as purported ‘European citizenship’ made little difference to their position […]
  • Racism and the UK’s immigration system
    Race, nation and migration – the blog series reframing thinking on movement and racism. By Maya Goodfellow. ‘Hard Brexit,’ Labour’s Andy Burnham warned a few months after the EU referendum result in 2016, would ‘turn Britain into a place it has never been: divided, hostile, narrow-minded.’ This is a theme that has persisted since the initial […]
  • The permanent ‘crisis’ of the borders of ‘Europe’
    Race, nation and migration – the blog series reframing thinking on movement and racism. By Nicholas De Genova The borders of Europe seem to be the site of a protracted crisis. The fires that devastated the scandalously overcrowded Moria detention camp on 9 September 2020 on the Greek island of Lesvos, which summarily displaced upwards of […]
  • Queer liberalisms and marginal mobility – special issue and interview series
    By Mengia Tschalaer. To live a life in fear of violence, incarceration, torture, excommunication and isolation is a reality for many lesbian, gay, trans*, bi, intersex and non-binary persons worldwide. Homosexuality is criminalized in 77 countries, out of which seven apply the death penalty. According to the UNHCR, the number of persons who flee their […]
  • Charting mobilities, intellectual histories and the Black Humanities
    By Madhu Krishnan. The October 2018 issue of the Chimurenga Chronic, originally a quarterly (and now occasional) broadsheet produced by the Cape Town based Chimurenga collective, opens with a two-page spread titled ‘The African Imagination of a Borderless World’ . This title piece is comprised of two texts placed in juxtaposition. The first, a map titled […]
  • Deporting Black Britons: mobility and race-making in the life stories of criminalised ‘deportees’
    Race, nation and migration – the blog series reframing thinking on movement and racism. By Luke de Noronha. My recently published book, Deporting Black Britons: Portraits of Deportation to Jamaica (2020, Manchester University Press), traces the life stories of people who have been exiled from their homes in Britain. The four men who feature most […]
  • Moving difference: Brazilians in London
    Race, nation and migration – the blog series reframing thinking on movement and racism. By Angelo Martins Junior. Portuguese version here. The freedom to move from place to place is a privilege in today’s world, and so ideas about human mobility and human difference are necessarily interwoven. When white people from the global north move […]
  • A paean to judicial (self) restraint: the UK Supreme Court Shamima Begum decision
    By Devyani Prabhat. The Supreme Court has refused permission for Shamima Begum, who left the UK as a 15-year-old British schoolgirl for Syria in 2015, to come back to the UK so that she can effectively challenge the removal of her citizenship (decision dated 26th February 2021; [2021] UKSC 7). Begum was found in a camp […]
  • National sovereignty and postcolonial racism
    Race, nation and migration – the blog series reframing thinking on movement and racism. By Nandita Sharma. A focus on migration, mobility and ideas of ‘race’ are crucial aspects of nationalist thought and practice. Indeed, today, racism operates through nationalism. Yet, while racism has been largely delegitimised, nationalism has not. The delegitimisation of racism does […]
  • MMB good reads on race, nation and migration
    A new blog series reframing thinking on movement and racism. Introduced by Julia O’Connell Davidson and Bridget Anderson. Not so long ago, many liberal thinkers in countries of the global north were comfortable narrating the story of liberal societies as a romance in which enlightened heroes gradually overcame the forces of barbarism. It was a […]
  • Migrant deaths and the impact on those left behind
    By Samuel Okyere. On 28 November 2020, the BBC, Guardian and other media outlets in the UK and elsewhere reported the tragic story of Rasul Nezhad, his wife, Shiva Mohammad Panahi, and their children, Anita and Armin. They were a Kurdish-Iranian family who drowned while attempting to cross the English Channel from France to the UK […]
  • Collective learning in the struggle for migrant justice
    A guest blog by Akram Salhab from Migrants Organise. Last week, the British media began a discussion that revealed the extent to which a hatred of migrants now dominates the national agenda. In the midst of a coronavirus pandemic with hundreds dying every day and Britain leading the world in mortality and infection rates, the […]
  • Hanna Ahmed: obituary
    By Natasha Carver. My friend Hanna Ahmed, who has died aged 34 of lymphoma, was a community volunteer, a campaigner against female genital mutilation (FGM), and a victim-support worker in Bristol. Hanna was born in Dubai to Somali parents, her father working in the oil industry. Like many Somalis her family had migrated to the Gulf […]
  • Home and sense of belonging among Iraqi Kurds in the UK
    By Ali Zalme. All too often we are forced into assumptions and caricatures of a particular group that fail to expose nuanced experiences of the members of that group. My new book, Home and Sense of Belonging among Iraqi Kurds in the UK (Lexington Books, 2020),is an effort to voice out lived experiences of an […]
  • Spaces of connection – MMB in 2021
    By Bridget Anderson As we cross a temporal border – seeing out the old year and welcoming in the new – we look back and forwards. This New Year we look back over COVID-19 and we look forwards over both Brexit, now (allegedly) done, and yet more COVID. 2020 saw huge changes for MMB and […]
  • COVID-19, gender and migration in Central Asia: reinforcing precarity
    By Jenna Holliday. As we pass the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence and International Migrants Day this blog post considers the intersection of gender-based violence and migration against the backdrop of COVID-19 in two of the world’s most remittance reliant countries – Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Amongst the COVID-related migration research that I have […]
  • Learning online with MMB
    By Bridget Anderson and Emma Newcombe. Everyone is talking about migration. You hear about it on the media, from news and documentaries to dramas and soaps. People talk about it in pubs and in taxis. There is no shortage of opinion, assertations and information about migration. And inevitably there are a lot of assumptions about […]
  • Visualising MMB’s AGM 2020
    We were delighted to bring our MMB members together for our online AGM on 3rd November. After such a long time without an informal group event it was a pleasure to see so many of you! We started with MMB Director Bridget Anderson presenting our Annual Report and then divided into break-out rooms to discuss […]
  • Does it matter that the UK relies on migrant workers to harvest food?
    By Lydia Medland. In the recent launch of the new migration research project MigResHub, agricultural labour economist Professor Philip Martin stated that he saw the future of farming in the USA as reliant on ‘machines and migrants, buffered by imports’. This is indeed the direction in which commercial agriculture is going. However, we don’t need […]
  • Tony Bunyan retires as Director of Statewatch after 30 years
    Statewatch is a unique resource for migration researchers across Europe. It has an unprecedented collection of official documents, analysis and reports by investigative journalists, which serves to monitor state and civil liberties. Over the past 30 years, many academics, students, government officials, journalists and civil liberties groups have come to rely on it. The organisation […]
  • 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 […]
  • Domestic workers and COVID-19: Brazil’s legacy of slavery lives on
    By Rachel Randall. On 19 March it was confirmed that Rio de Janeiro’s first coronavirus-related death was that of Cleonice Gonçalves, a 63-year-old domestic worker who suffered from co-morbidities. When Gonçalves fell ill on 16 March, she was working at her boss’ apartment in the affluent neighbourhood of Leblon, in the city of Rio. Her […]
  • Supporting LGBTQ+ asylum seekers through the UK asylum courts
    By Tannith Perry I am a volunteer with Pride Without Borders (PWB), a support group for LGBTQ+ refugees and people seeking asylum run by Bristol Refugee Rights (BRR). Part of my role is to attend asylum court with our members, both as a witness and to provide emotional support. The route to gaining asylum in […]
  • Somatic shifts: the politics of movement in the time of COVID
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Victoria Hattam. Dispatch from Brooklyn, NY.September 2020 COVID-19 has returned questions of migration and mobility to the centre of politics by upending the distribution of mobility privileges. Who is allowed – or required – to move is changing; […]
  • Kept apart – couples and families separated by the UK immigration system
    By Katharine Charsley In the wake of the report into the Windrush scandal, in which Commonwealth citizens legally resident in the UK for decades were wrongly treated as irregular migrants and denied basic rights, Secretary of State Priti Patel has announced her intention to work towards a ‘fair, humane, compassionate and outward-looking Home Office’, which […]
  • Disposable workers, essential work: migrant farmworkers during the COVID pandemic
    By Manoj Dias-Abey. In July I co-organised a webinar on the situation of migrant farmworkers with Tomaso Ferrando (University of Antwerp) and Brid Brennan (Transnational Institute). We wanted to explore how the working and living conditions of migrant farmworkers during the COVID-19 pandemic merely represented a more acute form of marginalisation experienced in so-called normal […]
  • Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Greece during COVID-19
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Theodoros Fouskas. Dear friends, I hope you are staying safe and keeping well. The first COVID-19 case was diagnosed in Greece on 26th February 2020 (National Public Health Organization, 2020a). As subsequent cases in late February and early […]
  • Legislative update for EU migration and asylum statistics – work in progress
    By Ann Singleton As the UK leaves the European Union, a legislative change will update the EU framework for the collection of migration and asylum statistics. This might receive little attention outside the specialist focus of academics or policy makers, but it is important for anyone with an interest in migration trends, analysis and policy […]
  • No longer welcome: migrants face growing racism in South Korea
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Minjae Shin. Dear friends I hope you all are staying safe and keeping well. It has been almost five months since I left Bristol. I am currently in South Korea, my country of origin. Many migrants, including international […]
  • From ‘social distancing’ to planetary solidarity
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Nandita Sharma. Greetings from Hawai’i! Reading Colin’s blog from the ‘afar’ of Bristol has made me think about distance, and the (dis)connections between physical and social distancing. We are physically far apart, but, I like to think, socially […]
  • Life in lockdown – an asylum seeker’s struggle to survive
    My name is Maria*. I am an asylum-seeker single-mother who escaped to the UK because I felt unsafe in my home country. I arrived in the UK two years ago. It was hard for me because I am a single mother of two kids. Initially, the accommodation and support I received as an asylum-seeker were horrible. I had to share a house with strangers who liked to drink alcohol […]
  • Black Lives Matter – whatever their nationality
    By Bridget Anderson. On 19th June 2020 the European Parliament voted to declare ‘Black Lives Matter’. The same European Parliament that last October voted AGAINST supporting more search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean; the same European Parliament that has voted through Economic Partnership Agreements that have ruined Black small-scale producers through exposing them to […]
  • Unemployment and xenophobia persist for migrant workers as China’s lockdown is lifted
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Xinrong Ma. Dear friends, I hope this letter finds you all very well. The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic first broke out in China at the end of last year, then rapidly spread around the globe. While people in many […]
  • On being a space invader: negotiating whiteness in education
    By Evelyn Miller. I am a first-year sociology student at the University of Bristol, and a mixed South Asian woman, my mum being of Malaysian and Mauritian descent and my dad being of English and Irish descent. This blog sketches out the troubles I have experienced in white-majority educational institutions to show why it’s important […]
  • Are transnational marriages bad for integration?
    By Sarah Spencer The belief that marriage partners from less developed countries are bad for ‘integration’ is firmly held by European policy makers. With pressure to curb immigration, that concern has conveniently justified raising the bar for spouses to enter. Marriage Migration and Integration (2020) interrogates that assumption with substantial evidence from an ESRC-funded study […]
  • Sweden faces COVID-19 with a neoliberal elderly care system and a racialised labour market
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Anders Neergaard. Dear friends, Reading newspapers every day and strolling around the streets and parks of Malmö (Sweden) I watch people trying to live with the pandemic. It’s scary as a human being but interesting as a sociologist. […]
  • The dismal UK Home Office response to coronavirus: the wider picture
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Colin Yeo. Dear Bridget, We’ve learned that closeness does not mean contact, so I hope that this can count as a ‘Letter from Afar’ even if ‘afar’ seems a strangely 19th-century way of talking about the distance between […]
  • Migrants abandoned – lockdown at the Mexican-Guatemalan border
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Ailsa Winton. Dear Bridget I hope you are keeping well and sane. Although working at home is quite normal for me, the anxiety is not. So it was great to read your letter and to be able to […]
  • A violent disregard for life: COVID-19 in Brazil
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Angelo Martins Junior. Dear friends Two months ago the governor of São Paulo decreed a state of emergency and social isolation measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, I was in São Paulo, conducting fieldwork for […]
  • Research in extraordinary times
    Bridget Anderson introduces our new blog series, Letter from Afar, in which we invite colleagues from across the world to tell us about their life and work in times of COVID-19. Answers welcome! Dear Friends, I hope you are well – COVID-19 has turned that platitude into a genuine wish – I truly hope you […]
  • The relevance of luxuries during a global pandemic
    By Tamar Hodos  In these extraordinary times, I have made a contribution to society by providing a timely news story that does not involve the current global pandemic. This is the results of a study that forms part of my ongoing research into the production, distribution and socio-cultural significance of luxuries in past globalising contexts. […]
  • Lessons we’ve learned from COVID so far
    By Bridget Anderson  Far from being ‘all in it together’ COVID-19 is exposing the mechanisms that promote and maintain inequality within as well as between states. In the UK, Sweden and the USA, among other countries, evidence is emerging that Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people are disproportionately likely to catch and die from coronavirus. […]
  • No more ‘back to normal’ – ‘normal’ was the problem. Thoughts on corona
    By Bridget Anderson  We are facing an unprecedented challenge and opportunity that we are not simply observing as social scientists but experiencing at personal, institutional and professional levels. We are living a natural experiment whose reagents include multiple types of mobilities, clashing across different scales. The COVID virus is a human infection of animal origin, […]
  • Filling the legal aid gap
    By Ella Barclay An asylum seeker’s future can rest upon the translation of a single word. One such case was a man whose refugee status was rejected in the UK because he told the Home Office he had travelled to the Turkish border in a “taxi” but later used the word “private car”. The asylum […]
  • A moment of opportunity? Britain and the maritime security challenge
    By Tim Edmunds and Scott Edwards On 28 February 2020, SafeSeas hosted an IdeasLab in Bristol on UK maritime security after Brexit, with the kind support of PolicyBristol, Migration Mobilities Bristol, and the Bristol Global Insecurities Centre. Titled ‘Securing Britain’s Seas’, the goal of the day was to ask how maritime insecurities and blue crimes […]
  • Climate-change displacement: a step closer to human rights protection
    By Ignacio Odriozola  On 20th January this year the United Nations Human Rights Committee (Committee) released a landmark decision on people seeking international protection due to the effects of climate change. The decision did not include specific guidance as to where the tipping point lies, but it nevertheless remains highly relevant to future similar potential […]
  • New writing on race, migration and forgetting
    By Bridget Anderson  As another shameful deportation charter flight has just left for Jamaica, I wanted to reflect on three books I’ve read recently that connect to this horror in different ways. The first is a short book by David Andress called Cultural Dementia (Apollo 2019). Andress is a historian and as he wrote the […]
  • Eritrea and Human Rights: Conflict and Mobility
    By Angelo Martins Junior In November we held a panel and photographic exhibition on ‘Eritrea and Human Rights: Conflict and Mobility’ at the University of Bristol. Through these talks and images we explored the grave human rights violations faced by Eritreans at home and on their journeys of escape, and the continuing rights violations they […]
  • MMB in 2020 – forging new partnerships
    Happy New Year from the MMB team! We have exciting plans for 2020 as MMB continues to develop its dynamic research remit and build an ever-stronger community of scholars. Our four research challenges are running a range of workshops, seminars and networking events in the coming months, which will showcase the breadth of approaches to […]
  • Bristol Colombia Week 2019: Truth-seeking and the Colombian Diaspora
    By Mary Ryder Three years on from the negotiated peace agreement between the FARC-EP and the Colombian state, MMB co-hosted members of the Colombian Truth Commission (CTC) to participate in ‘Truth, Memory and Diaspora: The Seeds of Peace in Colombia’, a week of transnational dialogue and collaboration between UK and Colombian institutions.  The University of […]
  • ‘So far from justice’: On the frontline of the Hostile Environment
    By Natasha Carver ‘Esther, can you see Amir. He’s been refused Section 95 support …’ ‘Samira, I need you to do an urgent HC1 for this chap with kidney failure …’ ‘Mariana, we’ve got a young boy off a lorry just turned up. He has nothing. He’s with Muna in the main hall just now […]
  • The hostile environment confuses unlawful with undocumented, with disastrous consequences
    By Colin Yeo If a policy that deprives residents of jobs, homes and money is going to be introduced, one would hope it would be targeted using the best available data with strong failsafe mechanisms in place to reverse any errors. It would, you would have thought, be a disaster if innocent individuals ended up […]
  • Cross-border marriage in South Korea
    By Minjae Shin ‘Getting married to Vietnamese/China/Philippines/Uzbekistan woman – If for any reason you’re not satisfied with our service, a 100% satisfaction guarantee.’ This eye-catching phrase is from the website of international marriage brokers in South Korea. My research journey started with this advertisement. Until a few decades ago, the segment of marriage migration that […]
  • Better Legal and Social Support Needed for LGBTQI+ People Seeking Asylum in Germany
    By Mengia Tschalaer and Nina Held  LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum in Germany often remain invisible and unrecognized within Germany’s asylum system unless they specifically come forward and out themselves. Our new report shows that better visibility and access to legal and social support is needed for this group of asylum seekers. The German Lesbian and […]
  • Being at sea: a FUTURES event at the SS Great Britain
    By Laurence Publicover At FUTURES, an evening held recently at the SS Great Britain in Bristol as part of a Europe-wide series of events celebrating academic research, I spoke to families about the experience of being at sea. What is it like, we pondered, to spend days – or even weeks – without sight of […]
  • MMB reflects on the past year
    By Bridget Anderson, Emma Newcombe and Emily Walmsley In the run up to our second MMB AGM we thought we’d take the chance to showcase migration related research in Bristol, reflect on our past year’s work as a Specialist Research Institute and discuss plans for future development by writing an annual report.  At this stage […]
  • ‘Stop talking; listen to me first!’ Fieldwork in India
    By Pankhuri Agarwal Fieldwork research has a significant effect on one’s mental, emotional and physical well-being. However, it is astonishing that not much time, space and attention is devoted to exploring, learning and deliberating upon the variety of fieldwork experience that goes undocumented in academic work including on topics such as gender bias and mansplaining; […]
  • Workshop on image-making in migration research and campaigns
    By Nariman Massoumi The first event of MMB’s Imagination, Belonging, Futures Research Challenge took place on Tuesday 2 July at the Department of Film and Television, University of Bristol. Focusing on the topic of ‘image-making in migration research and campaigns’, the aim of the workshop was to consider the uses of photographic images of refugees […]
  • MMB hosts the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
    By Diego Acosta, Bridget Anderson and Lindsey Pike On 3 July 2019, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, Professor Felipe González, visited the University of Bristol. The event was organized by Migration Mobilities Bristol (MMB) with funding from PolicyBristol. Here we outline the scope of his work and focus of his […]
  • Conforming to stereotypes to gain asylum in Germany
    By Mengia Tschalaer LGBTQI+ Muslims seeking asylum are more successful if they speak, dress and act in accordance with Western notions of homosexuality. My work recently published in the Journal Ethnic and Racial Studies, has found that LGBTQI+ asylum applicants reported they were often expected to be “flamboyant” and “outspoken” in their asylum interview, and […]
  • Memorials to people who have died and to those missing during migration
    Reflections on the first WUN-funded workshop By Martin Preston, University of Bristol Since 2014, the deaths of more than 32,000 migrants have been recorded globally (IOM, 2019). The true number is certainly far higher. A lack of documentation, other means of identification or the willingness or ability to do so means that many of those […]