Travelling Towards Home

11 06 2011

Travelling Towards Home: mobilities and home making

Date: 23 & 24 June 2011, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Room: Khalili Lecture Theatre

For more information & to Register

This conference aims to stimulate the use of notions of home and home making as ethnographic and theoretical lenses through which to view aspects of the relation between global migrations (of all kinds, including tourism) and trans-national identities.

Rapport and Overing (2007) identify home as a ‘key concept’ in social anthropology central to questions of identity. They further argue that, given a world shaped by migration, both concepts need defining in a way “that transcends traditional definitions of identity in terms of locality, ethnicity, religiosity, and/or nationality and is sensitive to allocations of identity which may be multiple, situational, individual, and paradoxical” (176).

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s there has been a consistent stream of writings on the theme of the relation between mobility and the idea of home which have moved beyond traditional anthropological boundaries: Mack (1991) and Bammer (1992) on the theoretical possibilities of the term home in a globally mobile world, Robertson’s (1994) collection of travellers’ tales about displacement and loss of home, Kain (1997) and Kheter (2001) on leaving home in South Asia and Lebanon respectively, Levitt and Waters (2002) on how migration has challenged traditional meanings of home, Long and Oxfield (2004) on refugees and ideas of home, Walters (2005) on home and diasporas in black writing, and others. However, Aguilar’s (2002:24) contention that “ubiquitous in the migration literature, ‘home’ and ‘family’ are words that appear self-evident but, on reflection, signal a domain of problematic assumptions, methodological complexities, and hegemonic discourses and ideologies .. magnified by processes of movement and displacement” still has considerable traction today.

This conference thus sets out to respond both to the considerable and growing general interest in the relation between mobilities and ideas of home but also to the uneven and arguably thin engagement with the field within the social sciences. We hope to generate a research framework capable of grasping the theoretical and analytical possibilities that the relation between home and mobility promises.

Conference organisers

Tom Selwyn, and Parvathi Raman,

Organiser: Jane & Rahima at the Centres & Programmes Office, SOAS



Yet Another Conference of Interest

20 05 2011

CfP: Ethnography, Diversity and Urban Space. 2011. September 22-23

COMPAS, University of Oxford, Oxford

Call for Papers:  Deadline 6 June 2011

The intensification of global flows in the current period has led scholars to describe cities like London as ‘super-diverse’: a ‘diversification of diversity’, with a population characterized by multiple ethnicities, countries of origin, immigration statuses, and age profiles (Vertovec 2007).

The aims of this conference to be held at COMPAS <>  (University of Oxford) on 22-23 September 2011 are: to address the missing dimension of migration and mobility in the literature on urban space, and the missing dimension of spatiality in the literature on diversity; and to develop new modes of inquiry appropriate to the contemporary challenge of super-diversity.

We invite proposals for papers which investigate aspects related to the conference themes and we welcome in particular proposals that focus on the following areas:

  • Understanding belonging and diversity in complex urban spaces
  • Changing practices of fieldwork and new and old modes of ethnographic investigation

Abstracts from early career researchers are especially welcome.  For full details, see:

Conferences Conferences

11 03 2011

‘Framing the City’ CRESC Annual Conference. 2011. September 6th- 9th

Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester

The CRESC annual conference 2011 takes the rubric of ‘framing’ to scrutinise the processes by which cities are conceptualised, realised, lived, ordered and depicted, disrupted, changed and contested. More than half of humanity now lives in urban areas and city processes affect the whole globe. The rates of growth, decay and transformation; the diversity, complexity and flows of population and activities, as well as the scale of problems and possibilities posed by city life are breathtaking. This conference seeks to bring together contemporary approaches to the descriptive and analytical challenges of thinking through processes of change in urban and city contexts. The conference takes the following themes as inspiration for a call for papers with confirmed plenary speakers as shown:

• CITY MATERIALITIES : (city objects, plans, designs, discourse, built environments, assemblages, archaeology, urban morphology, infrastructure, post-industrial regeneration, economies, mega events, spatiality …)

Plenary speakers: Professor Nikos Salingaros (University of Texas at San Antonio) and Dr Albena Yaneva (University of Manchester)

• CITY AFFECT:(the experiential, the senses, the auditory, passions, hopes, fears, violence, the imaginary, creative writing and literature …)

Plenary speakers: Iain Sinclair and Professor Alistair Bonnett (University of Newcastle)

• CITY ENVIRONMENTS : (sustainability, living and working environments, ecologies, city geographies, nature/culture, eco-cities …)

Plenary speakers: Professor Maria Kaika (University of Manchester) and Professor Alan Simpson (Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow)

• SOCIAL AND CULTURAL INEQUALITIES IN THE CITY : (social and cultural capital, governance, territorial dimensions of participation, contested spaces of belonging, social movements, underground resistance, critical urbanism)

Plenary speakers: Professor Rosenlund Lennart (University of Stavanger, Norway) and Professor Talja Blokland (Humboldt University, Berlin)

• MEDIATING THE CITY:(creative practices, cultural industries, urban identity, art, street art, broadcasting, music, advertising, dance, film, print and visual representation …)

Plenary Speaker: Nick Couldry (Goldsmiths College, University of London)

• CITY MIGRATION, TRANS-NATIONALITY AND BORDERS: (mobility, flows, boundaries, identities, difference and belonging, states, nations, settlements and borders)

Plenary Speakers: Dr Sabine Hess (Institute for European Ethnology) and Dr. Jan Rath (University of Amsterdam)

Please submit either a) proposal for individual papers, or (b) panel proposal including 3 papers by the end of April 2011 using the proposal forms online. Abstracts should not be more than 250 words.

The proposal forms should be sent to CRESC Conference Administration, at the following address: 178 Waterloo Place, Oxford Road, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 161 275 8985 / or via Fax: +44 (0) 161 275 8985 or submit to:

Proposals for performances, exhibitions and displays are welcome, but must be self-funded.





June 30th — July 1st 2011

Few will dispute that the study of migration crosses disciplinary borders. The Centre for the Study of Migration opens a space for contact for migration scholars based across disciplines in the Social Sciences, Humanities, Economics, Business, Medicine and Law. This conference seeks to gather together multi-disciplinary approaches to the study of migration. The broad areas covered will be: historical approaches to migration, the economics of migration, migration and the law, migration and linguistic change, migration and culture, migration, asylum and exile, migration and health, migration and state policies. Papers or panels on concepts and topics such as religion, spatiality, transnationalism, ethics and the question of alterity and hybridity will be encouraged. The aim will be to explore the extent to which the study of migration is by nature interdisciplinary and to foment dialogue across disciplines and boundaries amongst colleagues at Queen Mary.

Offers of papers and panels are invited from those engaged in research at postdoctoral as well as postgraduate levels. Please send a title, together with a brief biography and an abstract of approximately 250 words to Professor April 15th 2011.


ESRC LSBU Seminar Series on DIASPORIC AND TRANSNATIONAL YOUTH IDENTITIES: Exploring Conceptual Themes and Future Research Agendas

Seminar 3: New technologies and Participatory Research Methods in Trans-National Youth Research

Friday 8 April 2011 – London South Bank University

Seminar focusing on critical and methodological analyses of the use of new technologies, performance and creative arts and participatory research methods in youth research within and across geographical locations.

Latin Americans in London

19 11 2010

Latin Americans in London, 22 November – 10 December, 2010

City Hall hosts this special exhibition of photos by Latin-American, London-based photographers Julio Etchart and Alejandro Gortazar, as part of this year’s Latin American Bicentenary celebrations.

Two centuries ago, the area of the world now known as Latin America experienced the first concerted attempts to shed centuries of Spanish and Portuguese rule. The year 1810 marked the beginning of a process that would witness the creation of over a dozen new nations.

This year a number of cultural institutions, pan London organisations and community groups have organised activities to mark this historic anniversary. The Greater London Authority has joined with the Latin American Bicentenary Group to host a series of events to celebrate the bicentenary, and showcase the long and enduring historical and cultural links that exist between Latin America and London.

More information here


Museum of London collection on Latin Americans in London

Living Latin in London: How latin American Migrants Survive in the City, working paper by Dr. Cathy McIlwaine QMUL

Photo of the Latin American festival in London – described on this site.

London and the ConDem Government

12 11 2010

Now that the ConDem (Conservative and Liberal Democrats) coalition government has settled into the government green leather benches of the house of commons, Britain and London are feeling the effects of their policies … (interesting that in the house of commons the entire front bench of the government are millionaires and the prime minister is a relative of the queen!)

The Conservatives promised a cap on the number of migrants entering the UK, something that will damage the City of London’s competetiveness, deprive the NHS of crucial specialists, damage small businesses, upset Boris Johnson, lead to teacher shortages in London, damage UK science, and damage the hospitality sector, all in all this brainwave, will be disastrous for the British economy and London during this recession. Well done to the economic genius who thought up that policy.

Universities are also going to feel the effects of the migrant cap and cuts, and will become a new generation of top public (which means private fee paying in England) schools. Eton (Oxford) University wants unlimited student fees to swell its assets, which stood at a meagre £3 billion way ahead of third placed Edinburgh with £165 million in assets. If the Browne report recommendations are implemented the nature of universities in Britain will change radically – becoming private customer demand driven services competing with each other for the best paying clients rather than a national system of education.

Students or staff from universities, of course, haven’t been consulted about these plans, and staged a massive protest in London on the 11th. The media was universally shocked and appalled by some broken windows and a bit of a mess and Conservative party headquarters. Baronness Warsi of homophobia was stuck inside, she bravely locked the doors and continued asset stripping the nation while condemning those protesting against the privatisation of education.

Angry anarchists stormed Milbank tower hell-bent on causing mayhem

Students broke some windows after drinking too much cider - Daily Mail shocked

Those last pictures look a bit like the 1980s only slightly more fluorescent  – some are speculating that with the Nasty Party in power economic meltdown, and mass unemployment we will see a return to the 1980s – certainly this slightly over excited commentary on a massive rave in central London last week seemed to think so.

See for more conservative party fun. After converting universities into public schools, the government plans a ‘Kosovo style’ cleansing of the poor from London, with a new housing policy. The social cleansing of London will be implemented by a cap on housing benefits – applying equally to high rent areas (where there are jobs) and low rent areas (where no one wants to live). London risks becoming more like Paris, with a pricy genteel centre segregated by design from the urban jungle of deprivation in the outskirts. This will destroy the unique and joyful mixture of London, where rich and poor, people from different walks of life, class and ethnic origins live side by side… another costly own goal.


1 04 2010

FiLo member Zana Vathi has had a paper published on-line as a Sussex centre for Migration Research working paper.

The paper is entitled: New Brits? Migration and Settlement of Albanian-Origin Immigrants in London

Studies on migration and the integration of ethnic minorities have noted the lack of research on ‘new’ immigrants to Britain. The ‘pragmatism’ in UK immigration politics and the inadequate response to the presence of these new migration waves have also been documented, although there is only limited evidence to date. This paper focuses on one particularly ignored immigrant group – Albanian migrants and their children – and provides evidence regarding their migration and process of settlement in Britain. Findings show that the lack of legal migration routes to Britain has deeply affected migration trajectories of this group into the country. By this I mean not only the geographical routes and means of entry, but, much more, the personal trajectories of the migrants. Furthermore, an unsettled British asylum policy and deficiencies in its implementation have had an impact on migrants’ health and their strategies of integration. In their search for a social and ethnic positionality in a multi-ethnic and socially stratified host society, the realisation of the migration project of Albanian migrants takes place alongside culture shock, a widened intergenerational ‘gap’, ambivalence towards citizenship and belongingness, and links to Albania.

I have put a link to the paper in the FiLo members’ publications section of the London literature page. The section is looking a little bit bare, I can’t believe that there are not more FiLo member’s London based publications, please send me the references and links if they are available on-line and I will put them up.

London Profiler, Photographing the East End and Migration shorts

17 02 2010

London Profiler is a fascinating interactive map website allowing the use of a range of data plotted onto maps or satelite photos of London. You can visualise your neighbourhood’s profile using different area classifications through the Google Map interface. All the themes have been created with GMap Creator. If you have any trouble in viewing and using the website as well as comments contact Maurizio:

My East End is a new photography initiative taking place in 2010. The project gives people the opportunity to document and celebrate the rich heritage of London’s East End: its people, cultures, domestic and built environments, and open spaces. It aims to create a collective vision of life in the East End in 2010.

Photographs entered into the competition will be added to the important archive collections about the East End already held by Bishopsgate Institute. You can see examples of the kinds of archive photographs Bishopsgate Institute has here. You can take part in two main ways: enter the photography competition, or attend an event or exhibition.

Migration Information Source has a country profile of the UK with a lot of good data on migration and multiculturalism.

The Leibniz Universitat Hamburg Summer Academy’s theme this year is “Metropolitan Minorities in Europe, Urban Marginal Groups in Eastern and Western Europe in Comparison”. There’s a full call for papers here (You have to be bilingual English/German for that one I think)