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Amplifying Migratory Voices

Amplifying Migratory Voices

Holding policymakers to account and improving public understanding of Europe's migration crisis

Although the European migration crisis has consistently featured in political debate in recent years, the voices of migrants and their experiences are often excluded. Professor Vicki Squire’s research on the European migration crisis has played a pivotal role in amplifying migrant voices, foregrounding the testimonies of those migrating to the EU in precarious conditions to hold policymakers to account for the human costs of deterrent migration policies.

The challenge

Recent years have seen rising concerns about migration, alongside increasingly dangerous and perilous journeys facing those making the journey to EU countries. Once migrants reach the EU, often following traumatic and tragic journeys, they are faced with tense and hostile social environments and migration policies. Her research highlights the harmful effects of these policies, advancing alternative policy proposals and amplifying the voices of migrants to highlight the human experiences which are often left out of mainstream narratives.

Our approach

Professor Squires has carried out research on migration, border security, humanitarianism, asylum seeking and refugee protection in the UK, the Balkans, Mexico and the US, as well as in the Mediterranean. Professor Squires work is distinctive, emphasising:

  • The claims-making of people on the move

  • The political agency of migrants under precarious conditions

  • The struggles over notions of ‘the human’ that mobility entails.

In 2015, she led one of the largest projects on migration across the Mediterranean, Crossing the Mediterranean by Boat, interviewing 277 people who had made, or contemplated making, the dangerous journey. Her research foregrounds the human costs of deterrent measures, which deny safe passage to those escaping violence and exploitation.

Our impact

Professor Squire’s research has amplified the voices of migrants and used their testimony to speak back to and influence migration policy debates within governments and NGOs, as well as inform and challenge public perceptions and debates about migration. Her work has informed governmental debate and understanding through presentation and dissemination at policy events in the UK, Brussels, Athens and Malta and she has provided expert comment to members of the House of Lords, the Home Office and the European Commission. Professor Squire’s research has also contributed to the work of organisations lobbying for more humane migration policies. She has consulted with representatives from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles, and worked with regional NGOs in Italy and the UK helping people to reach the EU safely.

She drew on migratory testimonies to inform local, national and international audiences about the human costs of migration. She has published over 20 articles in international media outlets and has been interviewed for a range of TV and radio outlets.

In 2017, her team launched an openly accessible online interactive map of twenty migration journeys that was featured in an exhibition at the Tate Modern in London. The map featured embedded extracts of migrant testimonies and was accessed by over 4000 users. Three stories from the map have been adapted into an animation film for a major exhibition on refugees at the Imperial War Museum, London in September 2020. Through policy, public debate and art, Squire’s work foregrounds migratory experiences to challenge ideas about migration, highlighting the harmful effects of deterrent policies and intervening in the hostile social discourse surrounding migration within the EU.

Read the final report from Professor Squire's 'Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat' project

'Refugees: Forced to Flee' exhibition at London's Imperial War Museum

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