Aberystwyth hosts migration conference

Hate crimes, hostility and the response of civil society to migration will be the focus for a one day symposium held at Aberystwyth University on Tuesday 2 July 2019.

An Unsettled status? Migration in a turbulent age, is hosted by WISERD – the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods – and takes place at the Medrus Conference Centre on the University’s Penglais Campus.

The keynote address will be delivered by Dr Kathy Burrell from the University of Liverpool who will present her research on ‘Unsettling Freedom of Movement? Hostile Environments, Conditionality, and the Experiences of Polish migrants on the Eve of Brexit’.

Other speakers include Dr Taulant Guma from Edinburgh Napier University, Professor Stephen Drinkwater, University of Roehampton, London and organizer Dr Rhys Dafydd Jones from the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University.

According to Dr Rhys Dafydd Jones, the last decade can be characterised as representing a turbulent age, with thousands of migrants seeking to build new lives after fleeing war, persecution or from economic necessity.

“Austerity, populist politics, and an increasing climate of hostility and xenophobia have been observed across Europe, North America, and elsewhere”, he said.

“These politics have unsettled previously hegemonic norms and expectations in the political arena, as well as having implications for international migrants, whose lives may have become increasingly challenging and their futures more uncertain.  For example, hostile rhetoric and policies have targeted migrants, their families, international students, asylum seekers, and refugees, placing additional responsibilities and conditions on them, and limiting their rights.

“Furthermore, the repatriation of long-standing residents and the removal of citizenship demonstrates the extent that “taken-for-granted statuses” can be subject to change.  These practices question the extent to which ‘denizenship’ – the rights afforded to non-citizen residents – continues to be a meaningful concept, as well as highlighting the implications for promoting a cohesive, inclusive and diverse society.

“We are delighted to host this event at Aberystwyth University and look forward to meaningful and insightful discussions that will help us to better understand the challenges that are faced by so many.”

Amongst the many themes covered by the symposium will be austerity and precarity; negotiating uncertainty and hostility; belonging, anchoring, and identity; integration, cohesion and citizenship, hate crimes and violence; and sanctuary, refugees and asylum seekers.

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