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A ‘Hostile Environment’ for Migration Research? Debates Past and Present

April 23 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Knowledge (co)production and exchange on the causes and consequences of migration and forced displacement is undergoing a renaissance across academic sectors and disciplines. Artists, thinkers and researchers have probed questions of migration and forced displacement, many of them while ‘on the move’ themselves. This kind of knowledge production and exchange has often been at the frontline of political responses to migration, while also shaping policy, public debate and the development of the arts, industry and the media.

However, the shifting and increasingly politicized response to migration across Europe in recent years has affected the work of scholars with researchers in universities at home and abroad, and across civil society organisations and think tanks, facing significant challenges in conducting and disseminating their research. These include on the one hand a lack of interest in certain geopolitical groups and issues and in a problematic funding framework that continues to divide subjects of study into ‘us vs. them’, and on the other hand in punitive state policies that run counter to democratic and intellectual freedom and stigmatise the communities being ‘researched’ and, increasingly once more, those that research them.

This interactive panel discussion will consider the implications for what has been referred to as the ‘hostile environment’ on migration in Europe and how it has shaped the landscape of research and evidence-based policy making. Panelists will explore the position of migrant and refugee researchers; issues of censorship and academic freedom; the politics of funding; the place for academic mobility in migration and refugee studies as a discipline; the state of play in Europe currently on knowledge production and dissemination on migration; and how to uphold the ethics, quality and independence of migration research in a rapidly shifting terrain.

Confirmed panellists are:

  • Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge, Interdisciplinary Chair and Professor of Humanities and Human Rights, Department of English Literature, University of Birmingham
  • Mr Stephen Wordsworth CMG LVO, Council for Assisting At-Risk Academics (CARA)
  • Professor Valsamis Mitsilegas, Professor of European Criminal Law and Global Security and Deputy Dean for Global Engagement (Europe), Queen Mary’s University of London and Ms Lina Vosyliūtė, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)
  • Simon Cox, Migration Lawyer, Open Society Justice Initiative
  • Dr Ima Jackson, Senior Lecturer School of Health and Life Science, Department of Nursing and Community Health, Glasgow Caledonian University and Co-convenor of Glasgow Refugee Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNet)

The event will be followed by a drinks reception and launch of the following new books in the company of the authors:

  • Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge (2019) Placeless People: Writings, Rights, and Refugees (Oxford: Oxford University Press)
  • Professor Sergio Carrera, Professor Valsamis Mitsilegas, Dr Jennifer Allsopp and Ms Lina Vosyliute(2010) Policing Humanitarianism: EU Policies Against Human Smuggling and their Impact on Civil Society (London: Hart)

Discounted copies will be available.


Rm 2.07, City Centre Seminar Room
Bancroft Building, Queen Mary University of London
Mile End,E1 4NS

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