About the Unit
The Migration Research Unit (MRU) is a critical nexus for research on migration across UCL and includes as members researchers from the department of geography and from across the social sciences and humanities at UCL. MRU members’ ongoing research contributes to key debates pertaining to diasporas and transnationalism, asylum and refugees, national and international migration policies, theorising movement and (im)mobilities, development and migration, and measuring and mapping migration.
The MRU was established by Professor John Salt in 1988, and currently brings together academics whose research also directly informs their teaching and supervision of research students, including students taking . The MRU hosts an annual student conference, and regularly organises seminars and conferences to engage with and advance understandings of experiences and processes of and responses to different forms of migration.
The MRU leads UCL's interdisciplinary research network on displacement and conflict, Refuge in a Moving World, which is an initiative of the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) in collaboration with the Institute of Global Prosperity (IGP). Refuge in a Moving World draws together experts on displacement, refugees and conflict from across UCL and coordinates conferences, seminars, and public events to promote a research-led conversation on these complex issues. The Refuge in a Moving World network is also coordinating a series of activities across UCL in support of refugees and forced migrants.
The Migration Research Unit is home to a number of research projects, the interdisciplinary research network Refuge in a Moving World and the MSc in Global Migration, all of which specialise in migration related issues. For more information follow the links below:
Refuge in a Moving World
See the RiMW Directory of Experts and Projects here.
MSc Global Migration
For information relating to this innovative and interdisciplinary Masters, follow this link.
Co-Directors of the MRU
Claire specialises in transnationalism and diaspora identities with a particular interest in faith and migration.
Elena specialises in forced migration and conflict-induced displacement, with a particular thematic interest in gender, generation and religion, and a regional focus on the Middle East and North Africa. She is currently the PI of two major projects: Local Experiences of Displacement from Syria (AHRC-ESRC, 2016-2020) and Analysing South-South Humanitarian Responses to Displacement from Syria: Views from Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey (European Research Council, 2017-2022). She is also the Director of UCL's Refuge in a Moving World network.
Tom Bailey, MRU Leverhulme Artist in Residence: Tom is a theatre maker and director. Creating work through his company, The Mechanical Animal Corporation, he has developed work across the UK, and internationally in Egypt and Finland. He read English at UCL (2007). In 2016 he was making theatre with refugees in the Good Chance theatre in the Calais 'Jungle'. During his residency with the Migration Research Unit Tom will be researching and developing work that explores migration through live performance. As part of his residency, Tom will be running a series of workshops around his research, and presenting a developmental performance of 'Zugunruhe' later in 2017.
Victoria Bauer, Research Officer: Victoria is responsible for producing the quantitative sections of the annual SOPEMI report. She also supports various statistical projects and publications as analyst - data manipulation and visualization.
Dr. Mette Louise Berg (Social Sciences, UCL): Mette is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Science, Thomas Coram Research Unit at UCL Institute of Education (IOE). She is an anthropologist whose research interests include migration, diasporas and transnationalism; urban diversity; questions of gender, belonging and generation; social memory; Cuba and its diaspora.
Dr. Elaine Chase (UCL-Institute of Education): Elaine is Senior Lecturer in Education, Health Promotion and International Development in the Department of Education, Practice and Society at UCL-IOE. Her research interests include the intersection between migration and wellbeing outcomes. Her current research investigates the outcomes for independent migrant and refugee children as they make the transition to ‘adulthood’.
Dr. Adam Dennett (CASA): Adam is a lecturer in Smart Cities and Urban Analytics in the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), at UCL. He was the lead research on the migration stream of the Explaining, Modelling & Forecasting Global Dynamics (ENFOLD-ing) project.
Dr. Delan Devakumar (UCL Institute for Global Health): Delan is a clinical lecturer in the UCL Institute for Global Health. He is a medical doctor with experience in clinical paediatrics and public health. His research is on maternal and child health and is part of the Lancet Commission on Migration and Health.
Dr. Janet Dobson (Department of Geography), Honorary Senior Research Associate: Janet specialises in child migration and its implications for the education system, as well as having a wider interest in contemporary international migration in the UK.
Dr. Adele Galipo (UCL-Institute of Education): Adele is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Institute of Education whose research interests include transnationalism, diasporas and migrants return; urban diversity; development and humanitarian interventions; and nation-building processes. Her regional focus is the Horn of Africa, particularly the Somali region.
Aydan Greatrick, Refugee Hosts Project Coordinator: Aydan is responsible for the coordination of the MRU based AHRC-ESRC funded Refugee Hosts project investigating Local Community Experiences of and Responses to Conflict-Induced Displacement from Syria: Views from Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. The project is led by Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh. Aydan's research interests focus on the intersections of gender, sexuality and religion in responses to and engagements with forced migrants. Email: email@example.com
Dr. Tariq Jazeel, Reader in Geography
Tariq’s research is situated at the intersections of cultural geography, postcolonial theory and South Asian Studies. He is interested in the politics of ethnicity and difference in Sri Lanka and the diasporic and transanational forms of South Asian Cultural production.
Dr. Alan Latham, Senior Lecturer in Geography: Alan is interested in the ways which certain internationally mobile individuals and groups use globalisation – and the transportation and communication networks that sustain it – to create life-projects that are strung across enormous distances.
Dr. Francesca Meloni (UCL-Institute of Education): Francesca is Research Officer at UCL Institute of Education. She is an anthropologist whose research focuses on migrant young people, precarious status, social belonging, and access to social services.
Richard's research examines the experiences of LGBTQ asylum-seekers/refugees from Russia and other post-Soviet states. It examines the politicisation of non-normative sexual and gender identities in the former USSR, the different forms of persecution by the state and society in the post-Soviet space as well as the narratives LGBTQ asylum-seekers need to produce to make their claims understandable in the West.
Dr. Helene Neveu Kringelbach is Lecturer in African Studies at UCL. She has research interests in transnational families, Francophone Africa and arts and migration particularly dance and music.
Dr Marta Niccolai is Teaching Fellow at the Department of Italian. Her research focuses on theatre events performed in war territories, primarily the Middle East, and in Europe, that explore human rights and refugees’ rights. She analyses the methodology applied and how the actor’s body and voice is used to encourage a deeper understanding between geographically and culturally different people who are brought closer by forced migration.
Dr. Ben Page, Reader in Geography: Ben working on the relationship between migration and international development, particularly in relation to African home associations both in Africa and in the international diaspora.
Dr. Rachel Rosen (UCL-Institute of Education): Rachel is Lecturer in Childhood in the Department of Social Science at UCL-IOE. Her research interests include global care chains and the political economy of migration; children’s experiences of and participation in migration and care labour; and the intersections of materialist feminist thought and the sociology of childhood.
Dr. Uta Staiger (European Institute/History): Uta is co-director of UCL’s European Institute and a teaching fellow in UCL History. She has research interests in German political thought and the role of culture for citizenship and democracy, both in political thought and in policy developments over the course of European integration.
Professor Anne White (SSEES) is Professor of Polish Studies. Anne has particular research interests in Polish migration and circuits of return migration.
Dr Ralph Wilde (UCL-Laws) is an expert in public international law, and also has an interest in the interface between international law and related academic disciplines, including international relations and legal and political theory. His research on migration has included work on UNHCR administration of camps housing refugees and IDPs, and the extraterritorial application of human rights and refugee law in the migration context, from sea-rescues to the extraterritorial posting of border officials.
UCL Members: Research Students
Alex Ma: The making of a new Asian tiger? Myanma labour migration to Singapore, and remittance-led development
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.
Suriyah Bi: The Feminisation of Marriage: Ghar Dhamads, Generational Shifts, and Global vs. Local in Birmingham’s British-Pakistani Community
Tom Brocket: Between West Bank and East Coast: Making Palestinian heritage in and from the United States
Laura Cuch: Food, faith and home: A visual exploration of religious and domestic material culture
Pooya Ghoddousi: Domesticating the self: Nomad citizenship in Transnational Iranian lives
Chia-Yuan Huang: Global Mobility of Talents: Taiwanese Highly Skilled Migrant Workers to Shanghai and Singapore
Sarah Kunz: Privileged migration: expatriate communities in Cairo and London
Shayan Moftizadeh: Exploring identities among the second generation Kurdish diaspora in the UK
Nadia Robb: Romanian migrants and transnationalism
Tatianna Rodrigues: Migration and regional identity in CARICOM: a case study of Guyana and Barbados
Diego Garcia Rodriguez: Queer Indonesian Muslims: Progressive Islam and the Negotiation of LGBT and Muslim Identities
Sainabou Taal: Development and International Migration: understanding the drive for political intervention in the Gambian diaspora
Katy Taylor-Helps: Motherland and Militancy, Giving and Taking Life: Female Perpetration of Proscribed Violence, and Gendered National Identity Construction in Lebanon and Palestine
Sinthujan Varatharajah: Suspended in this disjunction: the German asylum complex.
Recently Completed PhD Students
Dr Kate Kingsford 2016 'Learning to be a woman: gender and identity in Zanzibar'
Dr Ruth Judge 2016 ' From the council estate to the African Orphanage: the impact of low-income youth’s voluntary encounters overseas on class and race identity'
Dr Gayle Munro 2015 'Transnational lives? The experiences of migrants for the former Yugoslavia in Britain'
Dr Caitlin O’Neil 2014 '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'
Dr Cinzia Polese 2013 'Negotiating Power between Civil Society and the State: the Formulation of Asylum Policies in Italy and in the United Kingdom'
Dr Lauren Wagner 2011 ‘Transnational identities of second generation Moroccans in France and UK’
Dr Ben Lampert 2010 'Diaspora and Development? Nigerian organisations in London and the transnational politics of obligation and belonging'
Dr Lia Schimada 2010 'Transforming Earth and Fire: New narratives of identity and place in the Northern Ireland peace process'
Dr Violetta Parutis 2008 ‘Lithuanian and Polish migrants in London’
Dr Elaine Ho 2007 ‘Singaporean skilled migrants in London’
Magali Moreau '"Cutting the heart of Tanzania?" Refugees, livelihoods and resources: a political ecology of Mtabila camp, Tanzania.'
Professor Paul Compton, Honorary Research Fellow: Paul specialises in European demography and international migration in Hungary.
Professor John Eade: John Eade is Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Roehampton University and Executive Director of CRONEM (Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism) at Surrey and Roehampton universities. John was a visiting Professor in the MRU between 2010-2013.
Dr. Pablo Mateos, Formerly Lecturer in Geography, UCL now Reader in Social Anthropology Research Centre (CIESAS) in Guadalajara, Mexico: Pablo focuses on investigating new ontologies and geographic visualisations of ethnicity, migration and mobility. His recent work has focused on residential segregation, categorisations of ethnicity, the geography of names, and the spatial analysis of populations and neighbourhoods in the UK, Spain, US and Mexico.
Professor Peter Wood, Professor Emeritus in Geography: Peter specialises in the internationalisation of expert labour.
: P ter is Marie Curie Research Fellow at School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL (Politics & Sociology) and a senior researcher at the Institute for Ethnology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Budapest). He is an economic and social anthropologist concentrating on Central and Eastern Europe, especially Romania and Hungary.
News and Events
- 24 April 2017: IAS and MRU will be convening a 'Talking Points Seminar' drawing on Katherin McKrittick's 'A Black Sense of Place: on algorithms and curiosities’. For more information click here.
- 12 May 2017: MRU's Tariq Jazeel, the Centre for the Study of South Asia, and the IAS will host a conversation with 1999 Mercury Prize winner Talvin Singh. It is funded as part of the Indian Voices programme. Your can find more information on this exciting event here.
- 09 June 2017: 6th Annual MRU Conference to take place at UCL. For information on how to submit a paper please click here.
- 1 Jan 2017: Tom Bailey, director of the theatre company The Mechanical Animal Corporation has joined the MRU as a Leverhulme Artist in Residence
- 9 Nov 2016:
- 7 Nov 2016: UCL's Refugee-Related Research and Activities
- 31 Oct 2016: Staff-Student Open Meeting in Support of Refugees and Migrants
- Sep. 2016: Local community responses to mass displacement from Syria - Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh awarded major AHRC-ESRC Grant
- Sept 2016: Three new MRU Working Papers published
- Sep. 2016: Gender, Religion and Refugees: MRU PB launched at UN Refugee Summit
- Sep. 2016: New MRU Policy Brief: Gender, Religion and Humanitarian Responses to Forced Migration
25 Mar 2017: Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh presenting at the 'Language, Mobility and Belonging' Conference, Somerville College, Oxford.
14 Mar 2017: Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh contributing to a Special Panel Event on 'Development in Crisis: States, Conflicts, Refugees' at the School of Oriental and African Studies.
06 Feb 2017: Tom Bailey, UCL Geography Artist in Residence Refugee Theatre Workshop
June 2015 MRU Student Conference: Mobile Identities? Perspectives of Gender and Migration
June 2014 MRU Student Conference: Child & Youth Migrants: Global and Interdisciplinary Perspectives