An Introduction to the Oxford Migration Studies Society Members
Ella is completing her MSc in Forced Migration and Refugee Studies, with a focus on Refugee and Human Rights Law. Previously, she worked for two years as a Case Coordinator and Advocacy Officer in Athens, Greece providing legal support to asylum seekers and refugees while campaigning for vital change in the law. With a law degree from the University of Durham, she is particularly interested in state border practices, with her currently writing her dissertation on pushback practices on the Greek-Turkish border.
It has been a joy to be a part of this year’s OMSS Conference. Our special edition with Routed is full of vibrant and fascinating presentations, videos and articles. I am delighted that we have been able to adapt our conference to an online setting. I hope that we can provide a forum between academics and practitioners alike, where our different perspectives can inform one another and feed into each other’s practice on this vital topic.
Lawrence earned his Bachelors in Government at Georgetown University, where his research on Hannah Arendt received the Political Theory Award. He works on issues of ethics, borders, and citizenship, and his current research focuses on the politics of race in EU migration and development policies towards Africa.
I'm thrilled that we're able to continue with this conference online, as critical and self-reflexive discussion on our role in producing and complicating migration narratives too often gets undervalued in the rush to produce policy-relevant research. From traditional questions about methodology to new questions about the role of artists and writers, this looks to be an exciting conversation.
Katja is one of the (many) MSc Migration Studies students shepherding this conference into the digital age. She is currently completing a dissertation on O/oceanic mobility in the context of climate breakdown. In particular, her work foregrounds indigenous forms of knowledge production and dissemination including oral histories, poetry and performance. Last year, Katja graduated from University College London with a BSc in Anthropology, where she was heavily involved in various de- and anti-colonial projects, radical reading groups, and student organisations.
It has been a joy and a privilege to work on this conference over the last seven months, bringing creatives, academics, and practitioners together despite the various ups and downs. There is perhaps no time more pressing than the present to rethink and reimagine the world around us, to be brave, and hopeful about the future. I hope the essays, videos, and other creative submissions we have gathered offer some glimmer of what we might build for ourselves now and in the future.
Domiziana is a DPhil Candidate in Migration Studies and Clarendon Scholar at the University of Oxford, researching the experiences of the families of onward Colombian migrants who moved from Spain to London in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis. Domiziana completed her MPhil in Sociology at the University of Cambridge in July 2019 with a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. During her MPhil, she investigated the experiences of Latin American parents in London. Prior to moving to the UK, Domiziana completed her BA in Liberal Arts and Science at Amsterdam University College, where for three years she ventured to understand the educational experiences and the peer culture of Moroccan-Dutch youth in Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
Organising this conference has been a learning process. I have learnt that there is a strong desire among students and future scholars to revisit the established categories used to make sense of migration and migrants, to rethink who has the right to represent whom, and to reimagine new ways to tell migration stories. This is reflected in the theme of the conference, in our effort to reach out to a variety of voices within and outside academia, and in the resilience of the OMSS team to not allow the pandemic to prevent us from having this kind of conversations. I am looking forward to finding out how presenters made sense of the conference theme and I would like to thank the OMSS team and Routed Magazine for making this possible.
Having earned a BA in Sociology and Quantitative Methods from the University of Warwick, Akvile is currently completing the MSc in Migration Studies. She is particularly interested in immigration to Central and Eastern Europe and temporal dynamics of its many nationalisms. In her dissertation Akvile explores how the recent policy initiatives to attract highly skilled migrants and nation-branding campaigns are reconciled with ethnocentric notions of belonging in Lithuania.
It was a pleasure to be a part of a team that made this conference happen. What I find striking is that the themes explored in the submissions seem to be no less, if not more, relevant today than they were a few months ago. I am looking forward to the online conversations with the hope that, albeit in a different format than planned initially, such discussions will foster new connections between and beyond academic disciplines.
Mariana Sato Gastélum
Mariana graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Monterrey and is now completing an MSc in Migration Studies. Her main topics of interest are border issues, theory versus practice of international human rights law, and comparative studies in Latin America and Europe. She is currently writing her dissertation on the implications of deterrence strategies for the experiences of migrants in “transit,” in the Central American and East Mediterranean corridors.
I am very excited to take part in the OMSS Conference 2020 where we will have the opportunity to hear and reflect on different ways of unpacking stories of migration across multiple disciplines. I hope the panels will spark great discussions of the narratives surrounding migration in different regions of the world.
Julia is currently completing a 1-year MSc in Migration Studies. Previously, she worked as a Case Manager and Lead Case Manager for the Lutheran Social Services of New York Unaccompanied Minors Program, where she assisted in the care and reunification of migrant minors and their families. With a Political Science and Latin American Studies degree from New York University, Julia is interested in how current migration and detention policies influence the best interest of the child and the right to family unity.
I am very pleased to be participating in this year's OMSS Conference. I am particularly interested in hearing from practitioners and non-academics about their experiences reimagining conventional migration narratives.