Migration meetings

Migration lunches 2017-18

Last year, we ran a series of meetings on the theme of migration. The extraordinary response to this series demonstrated the range and urgency of migration research at Newcastle, and a showcase in May confirmed the value of bringing together colleagues from across HaSS with participants from the local community. Building on last year’s success we will be holding a series of Migration Lunches throughout 2017-18. The lunches are free and open to everyone. Teas and coffees will be provided, and you are welcome to bring whatever you would like for lunch. There is no need to book a place.

Migration Lunches Timetable:

  • ‘Migration and Identity’ – Friday 1st December 2017, 1-2pm, Room 2.09 Armstrong Building (map ref: 22) with special guest Sarah Smart (Coordinator Newcastle City of Sanctuary) plus a panel discussion co-organised by Ekanem Ebinne (ICMuS) featuring Dr Michael Richardson (GPS), Dr Robin Finlay (GPS), and Sean Gill (GPS)
  • ‘Migration and Conflict’ Wednesday 7th February 2018, 1-2pm, Room 2.09 Armstrong Building (map ref: 22) with a panel discussion co-organised by Christel Querton (Law School) featuring Dr Craig Jones (GPS)
  • ‘Historical Approaches to Migration’ RESCHEDULED AFTER BAD WEATHER IN MARCH FOR Tuesday 24th April 2018, 1-2pm, Room 2.09 Armstrong Building (map ref: 22) with Scott Ashley (HCA) and Robert Shiel (Agriculture)
  • ‘Migration and Ethics’ Monday 30th April 2018, 1-2pm, Room 2.09 Armstrong Building (map ref: 22) with a panel discussion co-organised by Silvia Maritati (GPS) and special guest Prof Richard Davies (Pro-Vice-Chancellor Engagement and Internationalisation, Newcastle University)
  • Final event, times and location tbc

The aims of these lunches are threefold:

  • to provide a forum for colleagues with an established record of migration research to present and discuss ongoing work
  • to encourage colleagues whose work intersects with migration to consider the importance of this theme in shaping historical and contemporary realities
  • to offer support and networking opportunities to colleagues thinking about working on migration topics

Following suggestions from group members, each lunch now has a particular theme and we will explore this as a group through ‘lightning’ presentations and discussion for 30mins. The rest of the meeting will be open for discussions of all kinds, so do come along with news of your work, project or ideas for the future! Some meetings will also include a special guest with a unique take on migration issues, and we are supporting / co-hosting a number of afternoon events across the year – so please check back for more news soon!

We are also very pleased to be supporting the ‘Beyond Relief and Rehabilitation: UNRRA in Historical Perspective, 1943-1947’ workshop on 28th June 2018 with keynote speaker Dr Jessica Reinisch (Birkbeck, University of London). A call for papers for this event can be found here: https://csopnu.wordpress.com/2018/03/26/cfp-beyond-relief-and-rehabilitation-unrra-in-historical-perspective-1943-1947/

The following event(s) and awards have been recommended by our members:

  • Prof Linda McDowell (Geography, Oxford) will be speaking as part of the Geography seminar series on 25th April 2018 on issues surrounding migration. More details on this soon!
  • Teesside Sanctuary Awards – the Sanctuary Awards offers support for up to five students in the 2018-19 academic year (three undergraduate / two postgraduate courses). You may apply for a Teesside Sanctuary award if you meet the academic entry criteria for your chosen course along with the following criteria:
    You have firmly accepted a place on a course at Teesside University.
    You are unable to obtain funding from the Student Loan Company by virtue of immigration status.
    You are seeking asylum in the UK, or are a dependant or partner of someone seeking asylum in the UK, or hold limited leave to remain or are a dependant or partner of someone who holds limited leave to remain, or have been granted Humanitarian Protection in the UK and do not meet the three years’ residency requirement. (Please note that a spouse or civil partner must have been the spouse or civil partner on the date that the asylum application was made. Children or step-children must have been aged 18 or under on the date that the asylum application was made.)
    The deadline to apply for this award is Monday 30 April 2018, and more information can be found at https://www.tees.ac.uk/sections/fulltime/scholarships_sanctuary.cfm

We have previously supported:

  • Dr Ricard Morén-Alegret (Autonomous University of Barcelona) – ‘Immigration patterns and sustainability challenges in small Catalan villages’, Monday 13th November. Ricard Morén-Alegret has been Marie Curie Research Fellow and Ramón-y-Cajal Research Fellow. Currently, Dr Ricard Morén-Alegret is Tenured Assistant Professor at the UAB Geography Department and coordinator of the Migration Research Programme & Migration Research Gallery, GRM (see: http://geografia.uab.es/migracions). For more than 20 years, Ricard has been carrying out research on migration, organisations geography & integration processes at local, regional, national and international scale. He has coordinated fieldwork in a variety of metropolitan, urban, semi-rural, rural and natural areas in Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, France, Greece and Australia. Ricard is currently co-ordinating the HAMLETS project. This interdisciplinary project examines the sustainable development of small villages that are under threat due to a range of issues including depopulation. Here many migrants or unsettled people are also looking for a new place to live. Ageing and depopulation make these (often rural) places more vulnerable to natural hazards (e.g. wildfires) or uncontrolled speculation/abandonment. The project was selected in the open call for proposals RecerCaixa2016, promoted by Obra Social ‘la Caixa’ and Association of Catalan Public Universities, ACUP. More information is available at http://atlantis.uab.cat/hamlets/en/index.html. Organised by the Sociology Seminar Series with the centre for Rural Economy and the Cultural Significance of Place research group.
  • ‘Counterpoint Arts’ Learning Lab: The Art of Self-Organising, New Modes of Networking and Cross-Border Solidarities’ (Friday 27th October 2017) a parallel session on Day 1 of the Platforma Conference, supported by Counterpoints Arts, the University of York Migration Network and The Cultural Significance of Place research group. This conference is part of Platforma Festival, which runs from 19th-31st October. For more information about the conference and other festival events see http://www.platforma.org.uk/pf_events/4th-platforma-festival-newcastle-and-the-north-east/

As ever, CSoP puts particular emphasis on place-sensitive research and embraces a wide range of approaches: critical, creative, political, poetic, and much more besides. So please do feel free to join us!

If you have suggestions for events, invited speakers/presenters, or would simply like to find out more, don’t hesitate to get in touch with either of the CSoP Migration Lunches organisers: Emma Coffield (emma.coffield@newcastle.ac.uk) and Jo Hicks (jonathan.hicks@newcastle.ac.uk).


Thinking about joining us?

All of our migration lunch meetings are free and open to all. We hope to cover a wide range of disciplines and topics, including:

      • 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 2017

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