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Research Seminar with Dr Cecilia Vergnano

13:00-14:00, 30 October 2019, Humanities Building, Room H0.03

Refugee crisis or EU crisis? Security and market forces at internal EU borders

Dr Cecilia Vergano, University of Amsterdam, Visiting Scholar PAIS Warwick

Critical scholars highlighted that the so-called European refugee crisis can be better defined as an internal European governance crisis. The ‘pushback-based’ governance of asylum seekers’ internal movements, strongly connected with increasing surveillance and militarization of Schengen internal border, makes the endogenous, rather than the exogenous, character of this crisis especially visible. However, borderization processes at the internal EU level take place in different ways according to several factors and local specificities. Is the "border spectacle" (De Genova 2013) always a necessary condition to justify the selective border closure and the exclusion of undocumented, racialized migrants from the free-mobility privilege? The comparative, ethnographic analysis of governance strategies and everyday border practices at the French/Italian and the Austrian/Italian borders clearly discloses the interplay between the two imperatives of security and free market needs. The comparison between the two cases, based on quantitative and qualitative data, suggests the hypothesis that market needs of borders’ openness and invisibility may influence the dynamics of border management, in terms of visibility of border controls (border spectacle). Where the interest in fast circulation of freight prevail, such as at the Austrian/Italian border of the Brenner Pass, the filtering of irregular migrants tends to be less visible (and more effective in securitarian terms) than border controls aimed at feeding an increasing border security industry, such as at the French/Italian border.

Cecilia Vergnano is a Social Anthropologist from the University of Barcelona, with a PhD dissertation on forced (im)mobilities of Roma migrants in Europe. She is currently a Marie Slodowska-Curie Research Fellow at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Sciences Research (AISSR) of the University of Amsterdam, with a research project about the social and political impacts of the reintroduction of border controls within the Schengen area and the policing of asylum seekers autonomous mobility through pushbacks at internal EU borders. Her research interests are borderization processes, forced (im)mobilities, racialization processes, border-crossing facilitation practices, territorial stigmatization, forced evictions.


BREM Network Business meeting

12:00-13:00, 30 October 2019, Humanities Building, Room H0.03

This will be an opportunity to meet colleagues working in related areas, share research interests and explore possible collaborations, and put forward ideas for BREM group activities over the coming year.

Routes to Peace? Artwork


Located in the atrium of the Social Sciences building and next to the Warwick Art Centre, “Routes to Peace?" is artwork inspired by research conducted at the University of Warwick.

The Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat project led by Professor Vicki Squire of the University of Warwick’s Department of Politics and International Studies has inspired a new artwork by international artist and activist Salma Zulfiqar.

Professor Squire and her team collected the stories of people from the Middle East and Africa making the dangerous journey to safety in Europe through in-depth interviews. The research team wanted to challenge the assumptions that are often made about people migrating, and give those arriving in Europe the opportunity to tell their own stories in order to highlight the effects of EU migration policies on the journeys, experiences, understandings, expectations, concerns and demands of people on the move.

Salma Zulfiqar has chosen ten of those stories to highlight in Routes to Peace? The artwork represents each woman as a “peace dove” carrying her story with her.


Faculty of Social Science

Archive of Previous Events

Migrating Dreams and Nightmares - BREM Exhibition

Located in the atrium of the Social Sciences building and next to the Warwick Art Centre, “Migrating Dreams and Nightmares” is an exhibition that raises questions about migration in Europe, transforming the atrium space into a dream/nightmare-scape of fluctuating migrant experiences, and asking us to consider resonances and dissonances between meanings of migration in Europe over time.

The exhibition is based on words and photographs from John Berger and Jean Mohr’s book "A Seventh Man" together with notes from current research on migration in the twenty-first century by the Warwick Borders, Race, Ethnicity and Migration Network, and the featuring artwork by Antoinette Brown."

Image Gallery

Faculty of Social Science

Warwick Borders, Race, Ethnicity and Migration Network Public Lecture 2017

Lemn Sissay
Tuesday 16th May 6.30pm-7.30pm
Room OC0.03, Oculus Building, University of Warwick

We are extremely pleased to announce that the 2017 BREM Annual Lecture will be given by poet, performer, thinker, campaigner and Chancellor of the University of Manchester, Lemn Sissay. Lemn’s writing engages with themes of borders, race, ethnicity and migration (among other things) and this will be a chance for researchers across all disciplines in the university to reflect on these themes in new ways, in the company of a public audience who are invited to this free event to enjoy Lemn’s talk and find out more about the research on these themes going on at the University of Warwick. Find out more about Lemn Sissay and book your place at the BREM Annual Lecture by going to


Precarious Trajectories: Voices from the Mediterranean Migration Crisis

Film by Dr Simon Parker (University of York), followed by Q&A discussion with Dr Simon Parker, Dr Myria Georgiou (LSE), and Dr Vicki Squire (University of Warwick)

Monday 30th January, 6-7:30pm

Chapter House, Coventry Cathedral, Coventry

Set on location in Libya, Italy and Greece during 2015-2016, at the height of the Mediterranean migration crisis, Precarious Trajectories focuses on the perilous sea crossings that hundreds of thousands of refugees have undertaken in recent years in order to arrive at what they hope will be the safer shores of Europe through the eyes of Ruha from Syria and Ahmed from Somalia.


Communication Architecture of the Border: A Humanitarianism/Securitization Nexus

Talk by Dr Myria Georgiou (LSE)
Monday 30th January, 3-4pm
Wolfson 1

This presentation examines the communication architecture of the border and the ways in which narratives and moralities of securitization and humanitarianism become intrinsically intertwined in the acts of reception of refugees and migrants in Europe's borderland. The communication architecture of the border involves all different actors of reception, who sometimes converge and sometimes compete with each other: border military forces and police; INGOs; networks of solidarity. What will be argued it that this architecture shapes a politics of the border, while at the same time playing a critical role in establishing the conditions of (im-)possibility for migrants and refugees to be accepted in Europe. The presentation draws from research conducted with L.Chouliaraki at the Greek island of Chios and at the peak of the so-called “migration crisis” of 2015-16.

Myria Georgiou is Associate Professor and Deputy Head of Department at the Department of Media and Communications, LSE. She has a PhD in Sociology (LSE), an MSc in Journalism (Boston University) and a BA in Sociology (Panteion University, Athens). Her research focuses on identity, migration and diaspora; media and the city; and the ways in which media contribute to constructions of identity across space. For more than 20 years she has been conducting and leading cross-national and transurban research across Europe and between British and American cities. Her latest book Media and the City was published in 2013 (Polity Press).


BREM Network Meeting: Warwick, a University of Sanctuary?

Discussion led by Dr Vicki Squire (PaIS) and Dr Lucy Mayblin (Sociology)
Monday 30th January, 2-2.45pm
Wolfson 1

This meeting will provide updates and provide opportunity for feedback and discussion on initiating a programme of events at Warwick toward becoming a University of Sanctuary.


BREM Network Public Lecture 2016

Post Racial Fantasies in an Age of Diversity and Migration

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Wednesday, 8th June 5pm-6.30pm
Room MS.05, Maths Building, University of Warwick

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown came to this country in 1972 from Uganda. She completed her M.Phil. in literature at Oxford in 1975. She is a journalist who has written for The Guardian, Observer, The New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, The Evening Standard, The Mail and other newspapers and is now a regular columnist on The Independent and London’s Evening Standard. She is also a radio and television broadcaster and author of several books. Her book, No Place Like Home, well received by critics, was an autobiographical account of a twice removed immigrant. From 1996 to 2001 she was a Research Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research which published True Colours on the role of government on racial attitudes. Tony Blair launched the book in March 1999. She is a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Centre. In 2000 she published, Who Do We Think We Are? which went on to be published in the US too, an acclaimed book on the state of the nation. Andrew Marr and Sir Bernard Crick among other reviewers found the book exceptionally wise and challenging. After Multiculturalism, a pamphlet re-assessing the multicultural ideology in Britain was the first critical examination by a social democrat of a settled and now damaging orthodoxy. She is also a regular international public speaker in Britain, other European countries, North America and Asian nations. In 2001 came the publication of Mixed Feelings, a book on mixed race Britons which has been praised by all those who have reviewed it to date. In June 1999, she received an honorary degree from the Open University for her contributions to social justice. She is a Vice President of the United Nations Association, UK and has also agreed to be a special ambassador for the Samaritans. She is the President of the Institute of Family Therapy. She is married with a twenty eight year old son and thirteen year old daughter.

In 2001 she was appointed an MBE for services to journalism in the new year’s honours list. In July 2003 Liverpool John Moore’s University made her an Honorary Fellow. In 2003 she returned her MBE as a protest against the new empire in Iraq and a growing republicanism. In September 2004, she was awarded an honorary degree by the Oxford Brookes University. In April 2004, her film on Islam for Channel 4 won an award and in May 2004, she received the EMMA award for best print journalist for her columns in the Independent. In September 2004, a collection of her journalistic writings, Some of My Best Friends Are… was published in 2005. Since that year, she has been seen on stage in her one woman show, commissioned and directed by the Royal Shakespeare Company as part of their new work festival. In 2005, she was voted the 10th most influential black/Asian woman in the country in a poll and in another she was among the most powerful Asian media professionals in the UK. In 2008 she was appointed Visiting Professor of Journalism at Cardiff University School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies and Visiting Professor of Journalism at the University of Lincoln.


BREM talk by Hannah-Sophie Wahle

The Refugee Rights Data Project

Wednesday, 22nd of June 2016, 1 to 2 pm
Social Sciences Building, Room S0.50.

Lunch will be served beforehand from 12.30 to 1 pm.

Hannah-Sophie Wahle is currently working with the Refugee Rights Data Project (RRDP) as a researcher and is completing her postgraduate studies in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Having participated in a training course on the refugee crisis response with RedR UK, she has subsequently been volunteering in the Calais camp frequently and in diverse capacities. Prior to this, she supported asylum-seekers and refugees in the asylum process in Germany.

The aim of the presentation is to provide a brief overview of the Refugee Rights Data Project (RRDP) and to present some of the key findings from the pilot study in Calais. This study was conducted in February 2016 and surveyed 870 respondents in the Calais camp, where thousands of refugees and displaced people are living in dire conditions. The findings were published in April 2016 in the report entitled “The Long wait: Filling the data gaps relating to refugees and displaced people in the Calais camp”. This report measures the fulfilment of different aspects of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and includes data relating to the camp’s demographic composition, living conditions, human rights violations and future aspirations. The report has been quoted by various media outlets, including the Guardian and the Independent, and has been used as evidence by the EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee for its inquiry on unaccompanied minors in the EU.

The talk will also be part of Refugee Week.

Also, it is part of the Positive Images Festival in Coventry.


BREM Methodology Workshop: Migration, Mobility and Transgenerational Identity

16th March 2016, 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Room: S2.73 (Social Sciences)

Margaret Hills de Zárate, Senior Lecturer at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, will lead this interdisciplinary workshop exploring participatory and ethnographic research methods in relation to migration, mobility and cultural identity. The workshop will introduce her own methodology, used in both current research on 'Transnationalizing Modern Languages' and previous psychosocial work undertaken with refugees and child ex-combatants. This will be followed by an experiential workshop, exploring the role of objects in the expression of transgenerational cultural identity.

The workshop is open to all researchers working across the University and will be of particular interest to Early Career Researchers interested in exploring new methodological approaches.


Methodology Workshop with Anna Lundberg (Malmö University)

Researching enactment of rights from below:
Ethical and political concerns, and human rights as a radical element in research

16/06/2015, 1pm-4pm - Wolfson 1&2
Warwick Borders, Race, Ethnicity and Migration Network

Anna Lundberg, Senior Lecturer at Malmö University, will be joining us for a workshop in June. Anna is currently working in a project on "Undocumented children’s rights claims", looking at "agency and contradictions between different levels of regulations and practice that reveals undocumented children‘s human rights".

In the research project on rights claiming among children in an undocumented situation in Malmö and Birmingham, the team aims to adopt a child-centred, participative research design. In revealing how children experience life being undocumented and negotiate agency in this position, i.e. an enactment of rights from below, they grapple with ethical as well as political concerns. Anna’s presentation will be about some of the more difficult considerations underlying their work. She will also give some reflections on human rights as a radical element in research about vulnerable migration and actions taken by undocumented refugees.

The workshop is intended to bring together different approaches to method, and establish a multidisciplinary debate. Anna’s hope is that our discussions will inspire new ways to reflect on the role of intellectuals, and serve as a basis for the identification of future research options and challenges.

After the presentation, we will be sharing experiences on methodological considerations the participants want to bring to the table. We will focus on a variety of themes such as ethics and politics - defining the issue and framing of projects; research conduct in the field - reciprocity and harm; ethics, representation and analysis; and dissemination of research findings – ethics and research reporting.


Migration, Post-Coloniality, and the Question of Europe

Warwick Symposium on the 9th of July 2015

The Institute of Advanced Study and The Department of Politics and
International Studies, University of Warwick

Key Note: Dr Nicholas De Genova
Organisation: Dr Maurice Stierl in cooperation with the ‘Borders, Race, Ethnicity and
Migration Network’, Warwick University


Warwick Borders, Race, Ethnicity and Migration Network Public Lecture 2015

Brick Walls: On Racism and Other Hard Histories
Professor Sara Ahmed, Goldsmiths, University of London
Wednesday 20th May 5pm-6.30pm
Room S0.11, Social Sciences Building, University of Warwick

In her book, On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life, Sara Ahmed considered how diversity work is often described as “a banging your head against a brick wall job.” In this lecture, she reflects further on brick walls as the hardening of histories, or as how histories becomes concrete. But walls that are hard for some (because of who they are, or what they do) do not appear for others. This lecture will invite reflection on how some borders that are tangible and material (that can stop or block bodies from entering) can be understood and lived by others as immaterial (as phantom walls). Thinking through and with walls, the material stuff of power, allows us to explore how diversity work (both the work we do when we try to transform an institution and the work we do when we do not quite inhabit the norms of an institution) can be an experience of shattering and of assembling worlds from being shattered.