Migration meetings


The ‘social justice’ strand of our work is an opportunity to focus on one topic across the year, and to draw together staff and students for a sustained period of time. In the 2016-17 academic year, we’ll be focusing on migration.

**The 2016/17 Migration Meetings have now concluded but we hope to return in September – so please do check back later in the year!

This might include:

  • Historical and contemporary migration
  • Local, national, transnational and global migration
  • Asylum, refuge and Newcastle as a City of Sanctuary
  • Belonging, displacement, movement and place-making
  • Borders, critical cartography, and mapping
  • Nationalism and citizenship
  • The language(s) of migration
  • The politics of protest
  • Housing and the home
  • Empathy
  • The representation of migration (i.e. in museums collections and displays, the media)
  • The temporalities and modes of migration
  • Memory and nostalgia
  • Resilience and vulnerability
  • ‘Crisis’ and the everyday
  • Key challenges in politics, policy and practice
  • Key challenges in research ethics and methods
  • Volunteering opportunities at Newcastle University (and beyond)

Migration Showcase

To mark the end of 2016/17 migration meetings – and to encourage further work – the Cultural Significance of Place (CSoP) research group held a Migration Showcase featuring over 20 ‘lightning’ presentations from members of staff, students and our colleagues in the field as well as opening/closing remarks from Professor Mark Shucksmith (Director, Newcastle University Institute for Social Renewal) and Sarah Smart (convenor of Newcastle City of Sanctuary) and Abraham Eiluorior. The showcase was an opportunity to demonstrate the range and urgency of migration research at Newcastle, as well as a variety of projects, teaching initiatives and creative responses.

This event was co-convened by Dr Emma Coffield and Dr Jonathan Hicks with the support of the Newcastle University Institute for Social Renewal (NISR)

For more information, including a full list of speakers, please see our ‘Past Events’ page.



There’s a great deal of work concerning migration happening in and around Newcastle University. We’re starting to collect together some key projects, past and present, but if we’ve missed you out please do send us an email and let us know!

N.E.S.T. (North East Solidarity and Teaching)

Student volunteers have been running a weekly Homework Club at the Springwell Community Centre in Gateshead helping Syrian refugee children to develop their written and spoken English. In addition Syrian refugee adults (often the parents of the children) attend the centre and have been getting help from students with studying for IELTS exams.

Currently we have a waiting list of 30 students who want to join the project and we are looking at expanding it due to this demand. If you know of any groups who might want to work with us let us know.

Contact Phil (volunteercoordinator.union@newcastle.ac.uk) for more information


English Conversation Group

People come from all over the world to live in our bonny city, and the aim of this project is to help non-native speakers improve their English. A lot of our current users are Syrian Refugees and asylum seekers, many of whom have undergone horrendous ordeals to arrive safely in the UK. These sessions are invaluable to those who need them, and serve as an amazing opportunity to meet and help refugees from around the world. The sessions run twice a week on a Thursday and a Friday.

Together volunteers have prepared people for their IELTS exams, enabled the sick to communicate with their doctors without the aid of a translator, and help parents discuss their children’s’ progress with teachers. There are dozens of personal success stories to come from this project, and we are so proud of each student involved.

We aren’t saying this is a great project to be involved in but it did win first prize in the Social Inclusion and Cultural Diversity category at the Pride of Newcastle University Awards 2016!

Contact Phil (volunteercoordinator.union@newcastle.ac.uk) for more information


Home and Belonging Project at the Hatton Gallery


The Hatton Gallery is delivering a project called ‘Home and Belonging’ working with refugees and asylum seekers who have come to settle in the North East of England. The project has been inspired by Kurt Schwitters, whose Merz Barn Wall is housed in the gallery. Schwitters fled from his home country of Germany during WW2 and eventually settled in Ambleside in Cumbria where in the face of great adversity he still continued to create art. The project is about the migration of refugees, the time it takes to achieve a sense of belonging in a new country and when does one go beyond the basics of food and shelter and begin to think about creativity and culture.

People taking part in the project are refugees from Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kurdistan ,Eritrea and Congo as well as other countries. They are being encouraged to respond to Schwitters’ work and create their own artwork whether it be a film, audio recording, collage or textile piece. Some of the participants have undertaken incredible journeys such as a group of young men from Eritrea who have travelled through Sudan then Libya , crossing the Mediterranean to Italy in small boats ,many of which sea voyages have ended in tragic results, then to Germany, France and finally England. Some have left families behind, some have seen their families killed in the terrible conflicts.


Home and Belonging on Campus

Part of the Hatton Gallery’s Home and Belonging project, Home and Belonging on Campus will run for three months and will explore what “home and belonging” means in the 21st century. Students will work with writers and artists to explore creative writing, calligraphy, printmaking, typography, poster-making and map-making, and sessions may also include making a ‘smellscape’, ‘soundscape’ or a psycho-geographical walk through Newcastle.

If you’re an International Student from Newcastle University, have an interest in creative writing, art, sensory exploration, culture and engaging with people from different backgrounds, and are happy to share your experience of a new and unfamiliar country – please contact Hannah Sas-Skowronski at Hannah.Sas-Skowrowski@twmuseums.org.uk by the 16th December 2016.

S.T.A.R (Student Action for Refugees)



The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to education. Yet the right to education is being denied to people seeking refugee protection in Britain. STAR (Student Action for Refugees) are working to change this and invite you to join us to sign this petition to ask Newcastle University to provide at least 2 fully funded scholarships for refugees and asylum seekers.

You can sign the petition at https://www.change.org/p/newcastle-university-newcastle-university-provide-scholarships-for-refugees-and-asylum-seekers