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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  Existing Content - 5 JULY 2016 15:18  /  Research  /  Transnational Spaces

Transnational Spaces


Transnational Spaces brings together researchers working on migration and diaspora, geopolitics, borders and citizenship, transnational spaces of memory and meaning. Our work is united by a shared critical focus on theorising the multiple geographies and histories of transnationalism through an interrogation of how states and borders are conceptualised, negotiated and performed, how mobilities are constructed, enabled and constrained; and the social, cultural, political and material dimensions of transnational lives and spaces.

The aims of the Transnational spaces research cluster are:

  • to advance critical thinking on spaces that transcend conceptual and spatial borders
  • to critically examine the popular and political narratives that sustain national and transnational imaginaries
  • to research the social, material and everyday experiences of transnational cultural identities
  • to develop innovative conceptual tools for researching and communicating geographies of transnational spaces
  • to inform policy on the impact and implications of migration

The Transnational Spaces Research Cluster direct two research centres the Migration Research Unit and the Equiano Centre.

For further information on the work of the Transnational Spaces Research Cluster contact Research Cluster leader, Jason Dittmer:


Research Themes

Our research falls under the following main themes:

Migration and Diaspora

Transnational Spaces of Meaning and Memory

Geopolitics, Borders and Citizenship


Recent Projects


In addition to scholarly outputs (highlighted under our research themes and on individual staff pages) the researchers in the Transnational Spaces have been actively involved in a range of activities to foster public engagement and influence public policy.

The curation of public exhibitions has been important element of the wider public engagement of members of the Transnational Spaces Cluster.

exhibition2.jpgClaire Dwyer collaborated with photographer Liz Hingley and senior citizens from faith communities to produce an exhibition Faith in Suburbia which was shown at UCL and at Gunnersbury Park Museum in 2013.

Alan Ingram curated Geographies of War: Iraq Revisited [link:] in March 2013, which explored how artists with diverse practices and perspectives experienced the invasion and occupation of Iraq and how they responded to it by engaging with questions of space, place, landscape and territory. The exhibition was accompanied by public engagement workshops considering further the themes raised in the research.

Bloomsbury walk cover.jpgBlack Bloomsbury, held at the UCL Art Museum in 2012, was based on from Drawing over the Colour Line: Geographies of art and cosmopolitan politics in London, 1919 – 1939. The exhibition explored and documented the black presence in Bloomsbury from 1918 to 1948 highlighting the geographies of the Black Bloomsbury presence, and interwar politics, including anti-colonial and anti-racist through paintings, drawings and archival documents from UCL, highlighting how this Black presence was represented in the artworks of Slade students, and also how it interacted with London's artworld, through records relating to art students from Africa and Asia based at the Slade. The exhibition at UCL was accompanied by a public programme including a walking tour and lunchtime talks. From October 2014 artworks and archival material from the project will form part of a Spotlight Display at Tate Britain until March 2015.

A Fusion of Worlds: Ancient Egypt, African Art and Identity in Modernist Britain was co-curated by Debbie Challis (Petrie Museum UCL) and Gemma Romain in conjunction with a team of community participants and displayed at the Petrie Museum from March – May 2014. The exhibition examined the ways in which modernist artists - Jacob Epstein, Edna Manley and Ronald Moody – were been inspired by Ancient Egypt. The exhibition placed these artists’ reworking of Egypt in context of their political, spiritual and gendered expressions of identity. Drawing on the influence of the Harlem Renaissance and ‘discovering’ African Art, this display repositions the work of artists, such as Jamaican born Ronald Moody, in the public memory.  Funded by UCL Grand Challenges: Intercultural Interaction as a joint initiative between The Equiano Centre, Geography, UCL and the Petrie Museum, UCL

Ben Page hosted the 1st African Diaspora New Year Lecture 'The Inspiring Power of Africa' in collaboration with the African Peoples Advocacy Group in January 2013.

In February 2013 Caroline Bressey and Gemma Romain organised Queer Black Spaces 1: An evening of visual art, poetry and research exploring Black British LGBT histories  drawing on work from the Drawing Over the Colour Line project

Ben Page hosted the first 'My Black Woman' conference on 24th August 2013 for African diaspora entrepreneurs from the media and arts sector. Co-organisers were Faustina Anyanwu and Ms Gayle Thompson Igwebike, actress, model and fashion editor at C.Hub magazine.

For Black History Month in October 2013, the Equiano Centre’s Caroline Bressey co-organised with Wikimedia UK an event exploring historical geographies of the black presence in London and worked on adding the information to Wikipedia including biographies on some of the figures of African and Asian heritage living, travelling or working in Britain at this time.

Ben Page organised a one-day workshop African Diaspora Action Against Malaria in collaboration with the NGO Africa Diaspora Action Against Malaria. The workshop brought together academic staff at UCL (from clinical medicine, economics, psychology and geography) with policy-makers (the All Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria, Comic Relief) and members of the African diaspora. Funded by a UCL Beacon Bursary. 80 members of the African diaspora attended (September 2012). A second event was held in October 2013.

PhD Students

Adefemi Adekunle: “You have got to represent your Ends” Youth Territoriality in London

Suriyah Bi: The Feminisation of Marriage: Ghar Dhamads, Generational Shifts, and Global vs. Local in Birmingham’s British-Pakistani Community

Khatereh Eghdamian: Rethinking Religion in Humanitarianism beyond Identity Politics: Discursive representations of Syrian refugees and their effects on religious minorities in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

Caroline Ford: Contested new religious spaces in Britain

Pooya Ghoddousi: Domesticating the self: Nomad citizenship in Transnational Iranian lives

Ruth Judge : From the council estate to the African Orphanage: the impact of low-income youth’s voluntary encounters overseas on class and race identity

Kate Kingsford: Womens’ history and Islamic cosmopolitanism in Zanzibar

Sarah Kunz: Migrations from the north: investigating expatriatism

Alex Ma: Understanding Movement: dissecting the gendered dynamics of international domestic worker migration

Gayle Munro: Transnational lives? The experiences of migrants for the former Yugoslavia in Britain

Caitlin O’Neil : Coming of age in the United States, Becoming Mexican(-American): A study of how young Mexican women engage with ideas of womanhood, family and ‘Mexicanness’ in San Diego, California

Nadia Robb : Romanian migrants and transnationalism

Tatianna Rodrigues: Migration and regional identity in CARICOM: a case study of Guyana and Barbados

Hussein Samatar: Politics of Participatory Development: The Somaliland Diaspora and the Private Sector in Development

Sainabou Taal: Development and International Migration: understanding the drive for political intervention in the Gambian diaspora

Sinthujan Varatharajah: Suspended in this disjunction: the German asylum complex.

Ophélie Véron: Deconstructing the divided city: identity, power and space in Skopje

Charlotte Whelan: Experimental art practices and alternative political spaces in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

MSc Courses

The research of the Transnational Spaces cluster links closely with the following Masters courses: