The article, entitled 'The Migration Explosion', puts Oxford's International Migration Institute (IMI), the Refugee Studies Centre (RSC) and the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) into the broader context of migration as a major issue and policy challenge in the 21st century. The article charts the expansion of migration studies at Oxford, which today has three migration centres, two major journals and two MSc courses.
Founded in 1982 by Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, the RSC (then known as the Refugee Studies Programme) was the world’s first institution dedicated to the study of refugees and forced migration. As RSC Director Dawn Chatty explains, the over-arching objective of the RSC is to produce research that informs policy: 'We have a mantra that good research means good practice, and we are always optimistic that our findings will be used systematically in order to promote the amelioration of conditions for forced migrants.'
Addressing the inevitable crossover between the three migration centres, Professor Chatty says, ‘The edges blur a little. Many people trying to improve their lives and livelihoods become irregular migrants; they slip under the radar, sometimes they claim asylum. So you get a grey area, where the IMI is focusing on work that COMPAS does, and that the RSC had carved out. But having the three together has meant that all kinds of movement are being studied here at Oxford.’