UCLan-MIDEX Seminar: Welcoming refugees: Introducing a new theoretical model, by Dr Zana Vathi (Edge Hill University)

Wednesday 22 November 16:00-17:00 (BST)

This presentation will discuss refugee welcome in the UK, whilst presenting and elaborating on a new theoretical model for this purpose. The presentation is intended for both academic and non-academic audiences. Research on which the seminar is based utilises Lefebvre’s conceptual triad of space to propose a model of migrants’ welcome. This model’s application in the context of migration in urban areas requires a simultaneous engagement with social practices, representation and representational aspects of space, countering this way an otherwise essentialised notion of welcome. Utilising this framework in our research with migrants and non-migrant residents in five boroughs in Liverpool, UK, showed that welcome rests on the plane of urban inequalities, which affect the ethics of sharing resources, accepting and enabling the other. A multi-scalar dialectical dynamic of welcome emerges between the discursive notions of welcome as deployed in the everyday encounters and the way welcome is experienced and rephrased in the public domain or lamented in the private one. Dispersal and urban planning policies should regard migrants as stakeholders of welcome at local level for the purpose of migrants’ inclusion and managing social change.

Dr Zana Vathi is Reader in Social Sciences at Edge Hill University. She is a migration scholar and has been doing research in this field since 2005. Her work focuses primarily on migrants’ multi-scalar inclusion and integration in Europe and beyond. She is author of Migrating and Settling in a Mobile World (Springer, 2015) and Return Migration and Psychosocial Wellbeing(Routledge 2017), and numerous articles, working papers and reports in the field of migration. In 2012, she was the recipient of the Maria Ioannis BaganhaPrize for the best doctoral dissertation in the field of migration studies in Europe. Since 2018, she has founded and directs the work of the Migration Working Group–North West. In the period of 2019– 2021, she acted as Research Coordinator of RET-MIG–Revisiting Return Migration in Shifting Geopolitics–an international research initiative and network funded by IMISCOE–Europe’s largest network of scholars in the area of migration and integration.

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