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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  People  /  Academic Staff  /  Claire Dwyer

Dr. Claire Dwyer

cdwyer.jpgDepartment of Geography,
University College London,
26 Bedford Way,

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7679 5526
Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 7565
Twitter: @cldwyer

    I am Co-Director of the Migration Research Unit.

    Claire Dwyer grew up in Letchworth Garden City in Herfordshire. She graduated in geography from the University of Oxford in 1987. Having gained a PGCE from Nottingham University in 1988 she worked as a secondary school geography teacher for several years.

    In 1991 she returned to academic study and gained a Masters Degree in Geography from the University of Syracuse (USA) and then moved to the department of Geography at University College London where she completed her PhD in 1997.  Claire has been on the teaching staff in the department of geography at UCL since 1995.

    Claire has served on the editorial boards of South Asian Diaspora (2009-), Gender, Place and Culture (2001-12), Social and Cultural Geography (2002-8) and the Journal of Geography in Higher Education (2001-2006). She was a committee member of the Gender and Feminist Geography Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG) 1997-2011. In 2009 she was appointed to the International Geographical Union  (IGU) Commission on Gender and Geography Steering Committee.

    She has been the Co-Director of the Migration Research Unit, Department of Geography, UCL since 2010.

    Click here for Publications.

    Migration, Transnationalism and Religion

    Central to my research is the theoretical framework of transnationalism and diaspora. I have explored the question of transnationality through the medium of commodity cultures focusing on the arena of food and fashion in Britain and South Asian through ESRC funded research with colleagues Peter Jackson (Sheffield) and Phil Crang (RHUL).

    My current work explores the transnational geographies of new suburban faith spaces in the UK and Canada. Research funded by Metropolis British Columbia in collaboration with David Ley (UBC ) and Justin Tse (UBC) explores the evolution of a suburban religious landscape in the suburb of Richmond, Vancouver. Work in London, some undertaken in collaboration with David Gilbert (RHUL) and Bindi Shah (Southampton), explores ‘faith in suburbia’ though a comparative historical and inter-faith perspective. This work has also involved collaboration with photographer Liz Hingley and local faith communities on a photography project and exhibition ‘Faith in Suburbia’.

    Geographies of race, racism and ethnicity

    My research in this area has been concentrated on Muslim identities in Britain and the challenges for debates about multiculturalism posed by the presence of Islamic minorities within Europe.  I have published on the debates surrounding the building of Muslim schools;  the identities of young Muslim men and women; representations of Islam in the public sphere. Work in this area was funded under the Leverhulme funded project on Migration and Citzenship, a joint initiative between the Migration Research Unit and the Centre for Ethnicity and Citizenship at Bristol University.

    Further work on religion and multiculturalism is now being undertaken in collaboration with UCL colleagues through the Negotiating Religion Series funded by UCL’s Grand Challenge of Intercultural Interaction

    Geographies of gender and feminist geography. My main research interests are in the intersection of gender, ethnicity and religion, particularly in relation to Islam and the ways in which migration processes are gendered. I am also interested in the development of feminist methodologies. I am currently on the International Geographical Union  (IGU) Commission on Gender and Geography Steering Committee.

    I am a member of the department's Transnational Spaces Research Group and Co-Director of  the Migration Research Unit.

    Collecting: Knowledge in Movement, Octagon Gallery, UCL I am a member of the joint curating team (with colleagues Margot Finn, Kate Smith (UCL History) and Ulrich Tiedau, Stefanie van Gemert (UCL Dutch) for this public exhibition which opens in the Octagon Gallery January – June 2014.

    Faith in Suburbia: a shared photographic journey. Funding from by a Beacon Bursary from UCL (2012-3) has enabled the realization of a collaborative photography project with photographer Liz Hingley (funded by a Leverhulme Artist in Residence Grant) and senior citizens from six different faith communities in West London. The resulting exhibition was shown in the South Cloisters at UCL (December 2012-February 2013) and then at the Gunnersbury Park Museum in Ealing (February 2013-June 2013) and is on tour to participating places of worship in West Ealing from September 2013. Public talks were given at the exhibition at Gunnersbury Park Museum in February 2013 as well as a UCL Lunch time lecture (February 2014). The exhibition was covered in the press (Church Times, Ealing Gazette, Ealing Today, Third Way) and online ( ; and visited by a wide range of local community groups and school groups, for whom I wrote a special worksheet suitable for KS2.

    My award from the Leverhulme Trust for an Artist in Residence in the Migration Research Unit at UCL has enabled me to collaborate in a range of additional public engagement activities with the photographer Liz Hingley. I worked with Liz on her photography project ‘Spiritual Objects Studio’ which was shown in Paris (Febuary 2012), Austin, Texas (June 2012) and UCL (February 2013). I also spoke at a seminar at the Host Gallery in London on ‘Photographing Faith’ (16th March 2011) which accompanied Liz’s exhibition ‘Under gods’ and at a public seminar, University of Sussex (March 2013) ‘Collaborations between artists and academics’.

    Anchor and Magnet is a collaborative project with three artists funded by the Arts Council, including UCL architecture doctoral student, Katie Beinart, which explores the migration histories of Brixton ( I am an academic advisor for this project and have participated at community events and given a talk at their flagship public event Brixton Exchange (1st February 2013).

    For my ongoing research project, Faith in Suburbia I have been collaborating with architect Ali Mangera ( particularly with regard to the Salaam Centre currently under construction in Harrow. In addition to co-presenting a paper at the One Day in City Event (UCL, June 2012), I spoke at a seminar ‘Integration and the City’ organized by Mangera for Architecture Foundation in London and the Danish Architecture Centre.

    As Co-Director of the Migration Research Unit at UCL I have organized a number of events to engage wider publics with migration research at UCL. These have included the staging of On a Clear Day you can see Dover and Asylum Monologues by theatre company Ice&Fire followed by a panel discussion with Ice and Fire director and migration policy groups, a key event in UCL’s inaugural Migration Week (March 2011),  the premiere of the film The Golden Temple followed by a discussion with the director and cultural critics (February 2013) and keynote lectures by Professor Heaven Crawley (March 2013) and Professor Peggy Levitt (March 2010). In addition I inaugurated the first UCL Migration Photography Competition (in association with the UCL Environment Institute in my role as Co-Director, Migration at the UCL EI) in April 2013.

    My work on transnational fashion has also been presented at a range of external venues including at the Victoria and Albert Museum (2009, 2011) and at the Royal College of Art (2010) to diverse audiences from both academia and the fashion industries. Some of these talks have been done in collaboration with fashion designer, Liaqat Rasul. I also contributed a chapter for the book British Asian Style (2010, Victoria and Albert Museum) in collaboration with the museum photographer, John Chase.

    My work on multiculturalism and migration has been published as policy documents for the Boll Foundation and for Metropolis Canada

    MSc Global Migration: Course Convenor


    • GEOG 1006: Ideas in Geography (Course Contributor)
    • GEOG 2024: Cultural and Historical Geographies (Course Contributor)
    • GEOG3048: Migration and Transnationalism (Co-Convenor)


    • GEOGG202: Issues in Global Migration (Convenor and Contributor)
    • GEOGG201: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Global Migration (Convenor and Contributor)
    • GEOGG036: Postcolonial Theory and the Multicultural City (Course Convenor)
    • GeogG014/GeogG040: Human Geography Methods (Course Contributor)

    Current PhD Students

    • Caroline Ford (2013) ‘Contested new religious spaces in Britain’
    • Kristin Hartmann (2013, SEES funded) ‘New Islamic architecture in Kosovo’
    • Ruth Judge (2011 entry, full-time, ESRC funded, ‘From the council estate to the African Orphanage: the impact of low-income youth’s voluntary encounters overseas on class and race identity’)
    • Adefemi Adekunle (2009-  full time ESRC-CASE funded with the Runnymede Trust) ‘Territorial identities, conflict and futures: Charting the dynamics in youth culture in inner-city London’
    • Caitlin O’Neil (2008-, full time, ESRC funded) ‘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 (2007 entry, part-time, self-funded) 'Romanian migrants and transnationalism'
    • Ana Bleahu (MPhil, 2007 entry) Romanian Pentecostal gypsies and new media
    • Gayle Munroe (2005 entry, part-time, self-funded) ‘Transnational activities of Bosnians and Kosovars in Britain’


    Previous Research Students

    • Dr Samina Mohee (Awarded, 2012, Commonwealth Scholarship, Gender Studies) ‘Marriage, identity and young British South Asian Muslim Women’
    • Dr Lauren Wagner (Awarded 2011, Departmental Teaching Assistant) ‘Negotiating diasporic mobilities and becomings: interactions and practices of Europeans of Moroccan descent on holiday in Morocco’
    • Dr Lia Shimada (Awarded 2010, ORS and NSF funded) 'Transforming Earth and Fire: New narratives of identity and place in the Northern Ireland Peace Process'.
    • Dr Violetta Parutis (awarded 2008, jointly supervised with Professor George Kolankiewicz, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL, part-time, self-funded) ‘Lithuanian and Polish migrants in London’
    • Dr Elaine Ho (awarded January 2007) 'Debating Migration and Citizenship in a Transnational world: highly skilled Singaporeans in London'
    • Dr Yvonne Robinson (awarded March 2004, ESRC funded) ‘The Cultural politics of Community Theatre.’
    • Dr Jason Lim (awarded 2003, ESRC funded) ‘Ethics and embodiment in racialised, ethnicised and sexualised practice’.
    • Dr Sarah Glynn (co-supervised with Richard Dennis, awarded 2003, ESRC funded) ‘The Home and the World: Bengali political mobilisation in London’s East End and a comparison with the Jewish past.’
    • Dr Caroline Bressey (co-supervised with Richard Dennis, awarded 2003, ESRC funded) ‘Forgotten Geographies: Historical geographies of Black women in Victorian and Edwardian London.’
    • Dr Divya Tolia-Kelly (awarded 2002, ESRC funded) ‘Iconographies of Diaspora: Refracted landscapes and textures of memory of South Asian women in London.’