The Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging (CMRB) grew out of the Refugee Research Centre, which was founded in 2004. It is located in the Department of Social Sciences at the University of East London.
Our mission is to build knowledge and understanding of the related issues of migration, refugees and belonging. We aim to foster interdisciplinary conversations and provide a space for debate and creative thinking amongst academic, practitioners, activists, migrants, and refugees in order to make positive changes to society at large.
About the Centre
The University of East London prides itself in being a diverse, innovative and globally aware group of scholars, students and local and international community partners.
CMRB research seeks to engage with political and policy debates as well as theoretical concerns that have local and global relevance.
The work of CMRB is closely integrated with that of the Refugee Council Archive at UEL.
CMRB provides interdisciplinary, innovative and critical scholarship on the relationship between migration, refugee and belonging, including on the intersectional relationship between race, gender, and citizenship.
The Centre supports scholarship and debates on contemporary issues of migration, refugees and belonging through the work of its members and by fostering partnerships between academics, policy makers, practitioners, activists and migrants from a wide range of backgrounds.
Dissemination and impact
- Sharon Hamilton - The Social Impacts of the Windrush Scandal on Families of the Windrush Generation (Doctoral Student)
- Roxanne Nanton - Unaccompanied Minors and Covid-19, MA in Refugee Studies alumni and Refugee Council (Research Associate)
- Jessica Oddy - Education across the Displacement Linear: Experiences of Displaced Adolescents (Doctoral Student)
- Hannah Flint - (Development Studies and Administration Intern)
Gujarati Voices is a collaborative community-based project bringing together the UEL Archives, CMRB staff and UEL students to work with external partners and the Gujarati Community in the UK. Funded by UEL Public and Community Engagement Funding, "Roots and Changes – Gujarati Influences" comprises an oral history project, exhibition and event series to be held at both Brent Museum and Archives and at UEL in 2020.
For more information on the Gujarati Archives, visit the Refugee Living Archive.
'Refugee University Education' is a collaborative, participatory and interdisciplinary project that aims to build capacity, promote interdisciplinary innovation and evaluate impact. Building on UEL’s existing ‘Life Stories’ higher education work and existing collaboration with the NGO Mosaik Education, and its educational work with refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, this research project funded through the Global Challenge Research Fund (2018-2019) has three main aims:
a) To support the innovative peer to peer “Guidance and Support’ programme implemented by Mosaik Education. The peer-to-peer mentoring programme uses student ambassadors to address information and psycho-social barriers to accessing higher education for refugees through a combination of academic guidance workshops, informative digital content and peer mentorship. Activities include online content of inspirational and informative advice for refugees interested in higher education; emblematic stories and story-questions to encourage exchange; guidance workshops on higher education options and how to evaluate them; and peer mentorship on programme and subject experiences.
b) To conduct evaluation research on the “Guidance and Support” programme, specifically about the impact of storytelling and co-construction of stories between students, but more generally about all the activities implemented, and the trajectories, barriers and access to higher education for refugee students participating in the “Guidance and Support” programme. Through participatory design methods that build sustainable research and education capacity among all stakeholders, UEL staff and students contribute by providing evidence-based research that addresses the challenges faced by refugees in DAC countries in the area of refugee education. Expanding on the existing UEL model that offers certified tailored trainings and courses to refugees, in collaboration with Mosaik Education, UEL staff and students facilitate the planning and implementing of dedicated workshops, and provide certified and/or credit-bearing training.
c) To strengthen national and international collaborations and exchange of innovative participatory best practices in the provision of support to overcome barriers to higher education for refugees through joint production of online materials, organisation of collaborative workshops and events and joint presentations and publications.
Learn more about the "Mosaik +UEL: University Partnerships Providing Tools for Student-Led Learning" that offers insights into the co-creation of digital e-learning platforms that apply Life Stories as a research and pedagogical tool for and with refugees.
Mapping the Rwandan Diaspora in Europe offers a comparative analysis of the diaspora engagement in the development of their country of origin. Sponsored by the International Organisation for Migration in 2019, the comparative analysis presents an overview of socio-demographic characteristics of the Rwandan diaspora in four European countries - Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The desk-review of individual countries mapping exercises examines convergences and divergences in current and planned engagements, knowledge and skills transfers, motivations, practices and barriers. It provides the evidence base for shaping diaspora engagement programme interventions in Rwanda, guiding the Government of Rwanda’s future strategies and policies enabling diaspora members to participate and contribute to the development of the country.
For more information contact CMRB co-director Giorgia Donà or visit the IOM site
EUBorderscapes, financed through the EU’s 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, is an international research project that tracks and interprets conceptual change in the study of borders. It is a large-scale project with a consortium that includes 22 partner institutions from 17 different states, including several non-EU countries. The EUBorderscapes project studies conceptual change in relation to fundamental social, economic, cultural and geopolitical transformations that have taken place in the past decades. In addition, major paradigmatic shifts in scientific debate, and in the social sciences in particular, will also be considered. State borders are the frame of reference, rather than ethnographic/anthropological boundaries. However, this approach emphasises the social significance and subjectivities of state borders while critically interrogating “objective” categories of state territoriality and international relations. The research is not only focused at the more general, at times highly abstract, level of conceptual change but also compares and contrasts how different and often contested conceptualisations of state borders (in terms of their political, social, cultural and symbolic significance) resonate in concrete contexts at the level of everyday life.
CMRB's Professor Nira Yuval-Davis is co-ordinating work package 9 of the project - Borders, Intersectionality and the Everyday. The central objective of the work package has been to promote hitherto neglected areas of border research agendas that address lived, experienced and intersectional (e.g. gender, age, ethnicity) aspects of state borders. Situated intersectional everyday bordering perspective has analysed discursive, practical and interpretational categories that reflect issues of citizenship, identity and transnational migration. This work package also explores how everyday bordering affect groups with regard to gender, race, citizenship, socio-economic status and sexuality. The comparative perspective encompasses in-depth case studies that involve internal Schengen borders (UK/France) and the external EU border (Finland/Russia). Another focus of the WP9 research has been everyday bordering in Metropolitan cities (London, Barcelona, St. Petersburg). In addition, the WP9 research has carried out a comparative research (UK, Hungary, Finland) of Roma and everyday bordering. As part of CMRB's involvement in the EUBORDERSCAPES project, they have also produced a film called 'Everyday Borders' (dir. Orson Nava). It examines the impact of the 2014 Immigration Act on British society, exploring the way the 'border' is increasingly entering into everyday life. It can be viewed here.
University of Eastern Finland • Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen Centre for Border Research • Middle East Technical University, Center for Black Sea and Central Asia • Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences • Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona • University of Tromsø • The Queen’s University of Belfast • Ben Gurion University of the Negev • Umeå University • University of Bergamo • University of Gdansk • V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University • Leibniz-Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning • Centre for Population, Poverty and Public Policy Studies, Luxembourg • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Pacte / Université Joseph Fourier • Research Centre for Economic and Regional Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences • Centre for Independent Social Research, St. Petersburg • University of Helsinki • Centre for Advanced Study Sofia
This is an ESRC funded series.
- Forkert, K., Oliveri F., Bhattacharyya G., and Graham J., 2020 How Media and Conflicts Make Migrants. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
- Social Scientists against the Hostile Environment., 2020. Migration, Racism and the Hostile Environment: Making the Case for the Social Sciences
- Doná, G., 2019. The Marginalised in Genocide Narratives. Abington-on-Thames: Routledge.
- Yuval-Davis, N. Wemyss, G. & Cassidy, K., 2019. Bordering, Cambridge: Polity Press.
- Bloch, A. and Doná, G. (eds), 2018. Forced Migration: Current Issues and Debates. Abington-on-Thames: Routledge.
- Yuval-Davis, N. Wemyss, G. & Cassidy, K.,2018. Racialized Bordering Discourses on European Roma . Routledge.
- Bhattacharyya, G., 2018. Rethinking Racial Capitalism, Questions of Reproduction and Survival. London: Rowman and Littlefield.
Winner of the 2019 Sage Sociology Prize for Innovation and Excellence:
Yuval-Davis, N. Wemyss, G. and Cassidy, K., 2018. ‘Everyday bordering, belonging and the re-orientation of British immigration legislation’. Sociology, 52(2): 228–244.
Other journal articles:
- Cassidy, K., Yuval-Davis, N. and Wemyss, G., 2018. ‘Intersectional Border(ing)s’. Political Geography, 66: 139-141.
- Cassidy, K., Yuval-Davis, N. and Wemyss, G., 2018. ‘Debordering and everyday (re) bordering in and of Dover: Post-borderland borderscapes’. Political Geography, 66: 171–9.
- Doná, G., 2018. 'Situated bystandership during and after the Rwandan genocide', Journal of Genocide Research, 20 (1):1-19
- Wemyss, G., Yuval-Davis, N., and Cassidy, K., 2018. ‘Beauty and the beast’: Everyday bordering and sham marriage discourse. Political Geography, 66: 171
- Wemyss, G. and Cassidy, K., 2017. ‘“People think that Romanians and Roma are the same”: Everyday bordering and the lifting of transitional controls’. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 40(7): 1132–50.
- Yuval-Davis, N., Varjú, V.,Tervonen, M., Hakim, J. & Fathi, M (2017) Press discourses on Roma in the UK, Finland and Hungary, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 40:7, 1151-1169.
- Yuval-Davis, N., Wemyss, G., and Cassidy, K., 2017. ‘Introduction to the special issue: Racialized bordering discourses on European Roma’. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 40(7): 1–11.
- Doná, G. and Bloch, A. (2018) Reflecting on the past, thinking about the future: forced migration in the 21st century. In A. Bloch and G. Doná (eds) Forced Migration: Current Issues and Debates. Abington-on-Thames: Routledge, pp. 163-173.
- Doná, G. and Godin, M. (2018) Mobile technologies and forced migration, in A. Bloch and G. Doná Forced Migration: Current Issues and Debates. Abington-on-Thames: Routledge, pp. 126-144
- Wemyss, G.,'The Compliant environment: turning ordinary people into border guards should concern everyone in the UK’. The Conversation November 20, 2018.
- Wemyss, G., Cassidy, K and Yuval-Davis, N. ‘Welcome to Britain in 2017, where everybody is expected to be a border guard’. The Conversation. April 7, 2017
- Yuval-Davis, N., ‘Those who belong and those who don't – Physical and mental borders in Europe’ forthcoming in Green Europe, Spring, 2016.
- Yuval-Davis, N. , Wemyss, G. ,Cassidy, K. ‘Changing the racialized ‘common sense’ of everyday bordering’ Open Democracy. February 2016.
- Yuval-Davis, N. ‘Want to know how to kill a multicultural Society? Turn its ordinary citizens into borderguards’. The Independent. Tuesday 15th December 2015.
- Wemyss, G. ‘The new Immigration Bill and the criminalization of work and everyday bordering’. Glasgow Refugee and Asylum network (GRAMnet).
Sponsored by CMRB, the Runnymede Trust and the Centre for Palestine Studies, London Middle East Institute, SOAS, this series has been constructed as an open-ended forum for dialogue between academics, activists and interested parties differently situated across the globe. The editors will consider all submissions that explore any aspect of how anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim racisms and the question of Palestine/Israel intersect, from within an anti-racist normative framework.
Published 14 September 2015
Nira Yuval-Davis and Jamie Hakim, Anti-Jewish and Anti-Muslim Racisms and the Question of Palestine/Israel Series Introduction
- Antony Lerman, ‘The “New Anti-Semitism'''
- Sami Zubaida, 'Varieties of "Islamophobia" and its targets'
- Hilary Aked, ‘The Undeniable Overlap: Right-wing Zionism and Islamophobia’
- Helga Embacher and Jan Ryback, ‘Anti-Semitism in Muslim Communities and Islamophobia in the Context of the Gaza War 2014: The Example of Austria and Germany’
- Annabelle Sreberny, ‘The Idea of Jewish Anti-Semitism and Recuperating the “Semites”’
- Keith Kahn-Harris, ‘The Interplay between Internal and External Factors in the Stimulation of Intra-Jewish conflict over Israel and Antisemitism’
- Stefano Bellin, ‘How Should We Speak About the Jews and the Palestinians? Constructing a Non-Racist Space for Criticism’
- Annual Report 2015/16
- Annual Report 2014/15
- Annual Report 2013/14
- Annual Report 2012/13
- Annual Report 2011/12
The following documents are referenced in the annual report and provide supporting information
- Rumana Hashem and Paul Vernon Dudman, (2016). “Paradoxical narratives of transcultural encounters of the “other”: Civic engagement with refugees and migrants in London.” Transnational Social Review. DOI: 10.1080/21931674.2016.1186376.
- Norbert MBU-MPUTU, Les grenouilles incirconcis, suivi de Les tortues circonspectes, Guerres et prospectives de paix en République Démocratique du Congo (Pamphlet), Newport, Paperback.
- In collaboration, Are you Happy with That? (Refugees Writings in Wales), Swansea, Hafan Books, 2014.
- Mbu-Mputu, N. & Katya Kasereka, D., Bamonimambo (the Witnesses). Rediscovering Congo and Wales Common History, Newport, South People’s Projects, 2014.
- Saey, Sarah & Skey, Michael (2015) The politics of trans/national belonging: A study of the experiences of second-generation Egyptians during a period of socio-political change in Egypt (Migration Studies)
- Skey, Michael (2015) ‘Mindless markers of the nation’: The routine flagging of nationhood across the visual environment (Sociology)
- Skey, Michael (2014) ‘How do you think I feel? It’s my country’: Belonging, entitlement and the politics of immigration, Political Quarterly, 85(3), 326-332.
- Skey, Michael (2014) ‘What nationality he is doesn’t matter a damn!’: Football, mediated identities and (conditional) cosmopolitanism, National Identities
- Skey, Michael (2014) Boundaries and belonging: Dominant ethnicity and the place of the nation in a changing world in Jackson, J & Molokotos-Liederman, L (eds), Nationalism & Boundaries, Routledge, London
- Skey, Michael (2014) Media, representation, imagination: Time to move beyond the ‘Holy Trinity’?, European Journal of Communication, 29(4): 495-515
- Skey, Michael (2014) The mediation of nationhood: Communicating the world as a world of nations, Communication Theory, 24(1): 1-20
Virtual launch of "Migration trajectories and transnational support within and beyond Europe", 3 December 2020, 19.00-20.30 (CET)
You are cordially invited to the launch of "Migration trajectories and transnational support within and beyond Europe", the new Special Issue of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, with contributions from CMRB members.
The event will take place online on 3 December 19.00-20.30 (please note CET).
Digital Education Storytelling Exhibition Launch @ Living Refugee Archive, Wednesday 15 July 2020, 5pm
The Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging (CMRB) is delighted to invite you to a talk where we will explore the Living Refugee Archive (LRA) digital archives and findings from our recent digital storytelling research project on the educational experiences of refugees in the Middle East. The event will feature talks from Paul Dudman, Prof. Giorgia Dona and Jessica Oddy.
Racism, policing and the politics of surveillance in times of pandemic, 6 July 2020 (online), 5pm - 6.30pm
The Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging, member of Social Scientists against the Hostile Environment (SSAHE) group, is delighted to announce that the next SSAHE webinar titled "Racism, policing and the politics of surveillance in times of pandemic", will take place online from 5pm to 6.30pm on 6 July 2020 (online). Please see the flyer for more information.
1st International Workshop on Research Methods and Approaches to Migration and Diaspora Studies from 30 June 2020 to 2 July 2020, online
Organised by the Centre for Diaspora Studies at the Central University of Gujarat, India, in collaboration with the Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging the 1st international workshop on Research Methods and Approaches to Migration and Diaspora Studies will take place online 30 June - 2 July 2020.
The program will be live streamed/recorded on the Facebook page of the Central University of Gujarat.
Refugee Week 2020: Asylum & Protection in the Wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Thursday 18 June 2020, 5pm - 7pm
To mark Refugee Week 2020, CMRB are co-hosting an online public event alongside United Against Inhumanity (UAI in the UK) and the International Centre for Eritrean Refugees and Asylum Seekers (ICERAS).
The talk will feature a keynote speech from prominent refugee campaigner Lord Alf Dubs. The event will also commemorate the legacy and commitment to refugees of Mona Mahmoud, student in the CMRB affiliated Master in Conflict, Displacement and Human Security programme.
A panel consisting of Don Flynn, Adam Hanieh, Heaven Crawley and Eleonore Kofman and co-chaired by Nira Yuval-Davis and Rachel Humphris will consider the following and other questions:
What lessons are to be learnt from the earlier failure to advance a rights-base for immigration policy?
How will the current economic crisis impact on the rights of migrants? What might emerge for the rights agenda from the confused haze of Brexit and the Covid virus?
Has public reaction to the hostile environment scandal opened up space for an intersectional mobilisation in support of the rights of migrants?
For more information and to register, please go to the Eventbrite page. The webinar will be hosted online and joining instructions will be sent to registered attendees.
See our past events.