MMB Blog

Welcome to the MMB Blog. This series provides a chance to hear from members of MMB and our close collaborators on research ideas, projects and publications.

Since the onset of the pandemic and the absence of face-to-face events we’ve been publishing our blog weekly. It’s become a key forum for us to connect with members and document the impact of COVID-19 on the study of migration and mobilities. In early April, Bridget reflected on the questions raised and injustices highlighted by the coronavirus regarding global immigration systems. These posts, ‘No more “back to normal”- “normal” was the problem’ and ‘Lessons we’ve learned from COVID so far’, led to our new blog series ‘Letter from Afar’. For this we have invited fellow researchers of migration and mobilities from across the world to tell us about their experience of doing research in these extraordinary times.

Published blogs:

  • From ‘social distancing’ to planetary solidarity
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Nandita Sharma. Greetings from Hawai’i! Reading Colin’s blog from the ‘afar’ of Bristol has made me think about distance, and the (dis)connections between physical and social distancing. We are physically far apart, but, I like to think, socially … Read more
  • Life in lockdown – an asylum seeker’s struggle to survive
    My name is Maria*. I am an asylum-seeker single-mother who escaped to the UK because I felt unsafe in my home country. I arrived in the UK two years ago. It was hard for me because I am a single mother of two kids. Initially, the accommodation and support I received as an asylum-seeker were horrible. I had to share a house with strangers who liked to drink alcohol … Read more
  • Black Lives Matter – whatever their nationality
    By Bridget Anderson. On 19th June 2020 the European Parliament voted to declare ‘Black Lives Matter’. The same European Parliament that last October voted AGAINST supporting more search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean; the same European Parliament that has voted through Economic Partnership Agreements that have ruined Black small-scale producers through exposing them to … Read more
  • Unemployment and xenophobia persist for migrant workers as China’s lockdown is lifted
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Xinrong Ma. Dear friends, I hope this letter finds you all very well. The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic first broke out in China at the end of last year, then rapidly spread around the globe. While people in many … Read more
  • On being a space invader: negotiating whiteness in education
    By Evelyn Miller. Poster for Juice, the online South Asian collective and magazine (2020) I am a first-year sociology student at the University of Bristol, and a mixed South Asian woman, my mum being of Malaysian and Mauritian descent and my dad being of English and Irish descent. This blog sketches … Read more
  • Are transnational marriages bad for integration?
    By Sarah Spencer The belief that marriage partners from less developed countries are bad for ‘integration’ is firmly held by European policy makers. With pressure to curb immigration, that concern has conveniently justified raising the bar for spouses to enter. Marriage Migration and Integration (2020) interrogates that assumption with substantial evidence from an ESRC-funded study … Read more
  • Sweden faces COVID-19 with a neoliberal elderly care system and a racialised labour market
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Anders Neergaard. Dear friends, Reading newspapers every day and strolling around the streets and parks of Malmö (Sweden) I watch people trying to live with the pandemic. It’s scary as a human being but interesting as a sociologist. … Read more
  • The dismal UK Home Office response to coronavirus: the wider picture
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Colin Yeo. Dear Bridget, We’ve learned that closeness does not mean contact, so I hope that this can count as a ‘Letter from Afar’ even if ‘afar’ seems a strangely 19th-century way of talking about the distance between … Read more
  • Migrants abandoned – lockdown at the Mexican-Guatemalan border
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Ailsa Winton. Dear Bridget I hope you are keeping well and sane. Although working at home is quite normal for me, the anxiety is not. So it was great to read your letter and to be able to … Read more
  • A violent disregard for life: COVID-19 in Brazil
    Letter from Afar – the blog series about life and research in the time of COVID-19. By Angelo Martins Junior. Dear friends Two months ago the governor of São Paulo decreed a state of emergency and social isolation measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, I was in São Paulo, conducting fieldwork for … Read more
  • Research in extraordinary times
    Bridget Anderson introduces our new blog series, Letter from Afar, in which we invite colleagues from across the world to tell us about their life and work in times of COVID-19. Answers welcome!   Dear Friends, I hope you are well – COVID-19 has turned that platitude into a genuine wish – I truly hope … Read more
  • The relevance of luxuries during a global pandemic
    By Tamar Hodos  In these extraordinary times, I have made a contribution to society by providing a timely news story that does not involve the current global pandemic. This is the results of a study that forms part of my ongoing research into the production, distribution and socio-cultural significance of luxuries in past globalising contexts. … Read more
  • Lessons we’ve learned from COVID so far
    By Bridget Anderson  Far from being ‘all in it together’ COVID-19 is exposing the mechanisms that promote and maintain inequality within as well as between states. In the UK, Sweden and the USA, among other countries, evidence is emerging that Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people are disproportionately likely to catch and die from coronavirus. … Read more
  • No more ‘back to normal’ – ‘normal’ was the problem. Thoughts on corona
    By Bridget Anderson  (Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash) We are facing an unprecedented challenge and opportunity that we are not simply observing as social scientists but experiencing at personal, institutional and professional levels. We are living a natural experiment whose reagents include multiple types of mobilities, clashing across different scales. … Read more
  • Filling the legal aid gap
    By Ella Barclay An asylum seeker’s future can rest upon the translation of a single word. One such case was a man whose refugee status was rejected in the UK because he told the Home Office he had travelled to the Turkish border in a “taxi” but later used the word “private car”. The asylum … Read more
  • A moment of opportunity? Britain and the maritime security challenge
    By Tim Edmunds and Scott Edwards On 28 February 2020, SafeSeas hosted an IdeasLab in Bristol on UK maritime security after Brexit, with the kind support of PolicyBristol, Migration Mobilities Bristol, and the Bristol Global Insecurities Centre. Titled ‘Securing Britain’s Seas’, the goal of the day was to ask how maritime insecurities and blue crimes … Read more
  • Climate-change displacement: a step closer to human rights protection
    By Ignacio Odriozola  On 20th January this year the United Nations Human Rights Committee (Committee) released a landmark decision on people seeking international protection due to the effects of climate change. The decision did not include specific guidance as to where the tipping point lies, but it nevertheless remains highly relevant to future similar potential … Read more
  • New writing on race, migration and forgetting
    By Bridget Anderson  As another shameful deportation charter flight has just left for Jamaica, I wanted to reflect on three books I’ve read recently that connect to this horror in different ways. The first is a short book by David Andress called Cultural Dementia (Apollo 2019). Andress is a historian and as he wrote the … Read more
  • Eritrea and Human Rights: Conflict and Mobility
    By Angelo Martins Junior In November we held a panel and photographic exhibition on ‘Eritrea and Human Rights: Conflict and Mobility’ at the University of Bristol. Through these talks and images we explored the grave human rights violations faced by Eritreans at home and on their journeys of escape, and the continuing rights violations they … Read more
  • MMB in 2020 – forging new partnerships
    Happy New Year from the MMB team! We have exciting plans for 2020 as MMB continues to develop its dynamic research remit and build an ever-stronger community of scholars. Our four research challenges are running a range of workshops, seminars and networking events in the coming months, which will showcase the breadth of approaches to … Read more
  • Bristol Colombia Week 2019: Truth-seeking and the Colombian Diaspora
    By Mary Ryder Three years on from the negotiated peace agreement between the FARC-EP and the Colombian state, MMB co-hosted members of the Colombian Truth Commission (CTC) to participate in ‘Truth, Memory and Diaspora: The Seeds of Peace in Colombia’, a week of transnational dialogue and collaboration between UK and Colombian institutions.  The University of … Read more
  • ‘So far from justice’: On the frontline of the Hostile Environment
    By Natasha Carver ‘Esther, can you see Amir. He’s been refused Section 95 support …’ ‘Samira, I need you to do an urgent HC1 for this chap with kidney failure …’ ‘Mariana, we’ve got a young boy off a lorry just turned up. He has nothing. He’s with Muna in the main hall just now … Read more
  • The hostile environment confuses unlawful with undocumented, with disastrous consequences
    By Colin Yeo If a policy that deprives residents of jobs, homes and money is going to be introduced, one would hope it would be targeted using the best available data with strong failsafe mechanisms in place to reverse any errors. It would, you would have thought, be a disaster if innocent individuals ended up … Read more
  • Cross-border marriage in South Korea
    By Minjae Shin ‘Getting married to Vietnamese/China/Philippines/Uzbekistan woman – If for any reason you’re not satisfied with our service, a 100% satisfaction guarantee.’ This eye-catching phrase is from the website of international marriage brokers in South Korea. My research journey started with this advertisement. Until a few decades ago, the segment of marriage migration that … Read more
  • Better Legal and Social Support Needed for LGBTQI+ People Seeking Asylum in Germany
    By Mengia Tschalaer and Nina Held  LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum in Germany often remain invisible and unrecognized within Germany’s asylum system unless they specifically come forward and out themselves. Our new report shows that better visibility and access to legal and social support is needed for this group of asylum seekers. The German Lesbian and … Read more
  • Being at sea: a FUTURES event at the SS Great Britain
    By Laurence Publicover At FUTURES, an evening held recently at the SS Great Britain in Bristol as part of a Europe-wide series of events celebrating academic research, I spoke to families about the experience of being at sea. What is it like, we pondered, to spend days – or even weeks – without sight of … Read more
  • MMB reflects on the past year
    By Bridget Anderson, Emma Newcombe and Emily Walmsley In the run up to our second MMB AGM we thought we'd take the chance to showcase migration related research in Bristol, reflect on our past year’s work as a Specialist Research Institute and discuss plans for future development by writing an annual report.  At this stage … Read more
  • ‘Stop talking; listen to me first!’ Fieldwork in India
    By Pankhuri Agarwal Fieldwork research has a significant effect on one’s mental, emotional and physical well-being. However, it is astonishing that not much time, space and attention is devoted to exploring, learning and deliberating upon the variety of fieldwork experience that goes undocumented in academic work including on topics such as gender bias and mansplaining; … Read more
  • Workshop on image-making in migration research and campaigns
    By Nariman Massoumi The first event of MMB’s Imagination, Belonging, Futures Research Challenge took place on Tuesday 2 July at the Department of Film and Television, University of Bristol. Focusing on the topic of ‘image-making in migration research and campaigns’, the aim of the workshop was to consider the uses of photographic images of refugees … Read more
  • MMB hosts the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
    By Diego Acosta, Bridget Anderson and Lindsey Pike On 3 July 2019, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, Professor Felipe González, visited the University of Bristol. The event was organized by Migration Mobilities Bristol (MMB) with funding from PolicyBristol. Here we outline the scope of his work and focus of his … Read more
  • Conforming to stereotypes to gain asylum in Germany
    By Mengia Tschalaer Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash LGBTQI+ Muslims seeking asylum are more successful if they speak, dress and act in accordance with Western notions of homosexuality. My work recently published in the Journal Ethnic and Racial Studies, has found that LGBTQI+ asylum applicants reported they were often expected to be … Read more
  • Memorials to people who have died and to those missing during migration
    Reflections on the first WUN-funded workshop By Martin Preston, University of Bristol Site of the destroyed memorial at Thermi, looking towards Turkey Photo: Martin Preston Since 2014, the deaths of more than 32,000 migrants have been recorded globally (IOM, 2019). The true number is certainly far higher. A lack of documentation, … Read more
  • Everyday Integration
    By Bridget Anderson The new Conservative leader, Boris Johnson, during the July hustings in Darlington complained that, ‘There are too many too often there are parts of our country and parts of London still and other cities as well where English is not spoken by some people as their first language, and that needs to … Read more
  • Arts against racism and borders
    By Pier Luc Dupont The first workshop of the MMB research challenge Bodies, Borders, Justice, entitled Arts against racism and borders, was held in the evening of the past 13 May. A dozen academics from arts and humanities, policy studies, sociology and law gathered in the welcoming Verdon Smith Room overlooking the Royal Fort Gardens … Read more
  • Language as a component of integration
    By Tom Dixon (ACH Senior Project Officer) and Pier-Luc Dupont from MMB On 16th April, ACH and Migration Mobilities Bristol (MMB, University of Bristol) hosted the third in the series of joint workshops, this time on the topic of Language. Tom Dixon, Senior Project Officer and Rachel Sharp, Support and Integration Team Leader presented from … Read more
  • SMart solutions for the self-employed beyond the ‘British Way’
    By Harry Pitts At first glance the UK’s current record of job creation seems impressive. But the numbers conceal more than they reveal. Self-employment represents an increasing amount of new jobs. Among these number those who have sought out self-employment to enjoy more freedom in where, how and when they work. But alongside them co-exist … Read more