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RSC Public Seminar Series, Michaelmas Term 2017
Series convened by Dr Jeff Crisp

About the seminar

This seminar is based on research findings and observations from three main research and practice perspectives. The first is the reported experiences of refugees and forced migrants from the former Yugoslavia who have arrived in the UK at different times. Secondly, the discussion draws upon research projects and experiences as a First Responder carried out under the auspices of The Salvation Army, which holds a government contract to provide support services to adult victims of trafficking in England and Wales. And thirdly, observations are made based upon a number of different research projects exploring the experiences of those migrants with no recourse to public funds in the UK.

The discussion, focussing on a number of themes common across these different research and practice encounters and interactions with refugees and forced migrants, begins with some general reflections on the consequences of employing levels of categorisation in research, policy and practice in the field of forced migration. The seminar then moves on to a consideration of a number of themes common across different ‘types’ of forced migration: namely family, age and gender and how these demographic variables translate into the delivery of support services compared with how they may be treated in a more academic sphere. Building on these demographic distinctions, the discussion proceeds with an exploration of how certain emotional motifs are blueprinted across narratives of forced migration, particularly the emotions of guilt, anger and a feeling of injustice. These motifs are laced into the narratives of those engaged in the field of forced migration in a number of ways, be they of individual migrants, practitioners or researchers. And related to the practice of research in the field of (forced) migration, some reflections are finally offered on the methods of conducting research in this field, with a particular focus on the use of fiction, archives (including personal archives) and the need to include a historical lens.

About the speaker

Dr Gayle Munro works within the research team at The Salvation Army in London where she is engaged in research on social exclusion issues in the UK, including the support needs of refugees, trafficked people and other vulnerable migrants. Gayle sits on a number of statutory, academic and non-governmental advisory committees on support for migrants in the UK and is a First Responder for The Salvation Army’s ant-trafficking and modern slavery team. Gayle is the author of Transnationalism, Diaspora and Migrants from the former Yugoslavia in Britain (Routledge, 2017) based on her doctoral work in Geography at University College London.