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Public Seminar Series, Michaelmas term 2018

Series convenors: Professor Matthew Gibney, Professor Cathryn Costello, Professor Tom Scott-Smith

Seminar held on 14 November 2018

About the seminar

Considering responses to refugee mobility in the UK, a focus on the practice of care for refugees, has centred on the effects of displacement and the vulnerabilities this exposes, both for citizens and non-citizens. A wide range of organisations at both national and local levels, have sought to welcome and support refugees in various ways, with an ethic of care at the heart of many of these responses. Critically, however, care itself often falls short of an articulation of solidarity, read as a political interruption into (shared) vulnerability. In this sense, solidarity asks not simply how suffering may be alleviated but under what conditions suffering flourishes. With this tension in mind, this paper focuses on the work of the Northern Ireland Community of Refugees and Asylum Seekers (NICRAS), a refugee-led organisation that supports refugees across Northern Ireland. In examining the recent work of NICRAS to investigate the housing conditions of asylum seekers and refugees across Belfast and to hold accommodation providers to account, the paper illustrates the forms of labour, learning, and collaboration that produce acts of solidarity. By exploring the shared labour of NICRAS in producing collaborative reports, challenging local authorities, and articulating claims to political visibility to the devolved Northern Irish Assembly, the paper discusses how acts of solidarity are both produced by, and productive of, relationships of learning and vulnerability.

About the speaker

Jonathan Darling is Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, Durham University.  He is an urban and political geographer interested in the politics and ethics of migration and its relationship with the urban. He joined Durham University in 2018 following a Senior Lectureship at the University of Manchester. Prior to this, he worked at the University of St Andrews as a Teaching Fellow in Geography following a BA, MA and PhD in Geography from Durham University. 

He has a broad range of interests, primarily orientated around the politics of asylum and refuge, including; geographies of responsibility and ethics; mobilities and migration; geographies of encounter; post-politics and the political; urban ethnography; affect and emotion; and social and political theory.

Read his full biography here >>

Photo: Asylum-seekers leaving Lesvos after the Government authorised them to continue procedures on mainland Greece. Credit: UNHCR/Yorgos Kyvernitis