Migration, Displacement and Belonging

Research Group: Migration, Displacement and Belonging

About the Group

About the Group

The unprecedented movement of people seeking protection, opportunities to work and study, and the chance to connect with others poses significant challenges and opportunities. Migration can be understood as a strategy for countering human insecurities (both real and perceived) but is also associated with insecurities of its own: during the journey, in countries of settlement and for those left behind. The movement of people within and across boundaries also raises important questions of belonging, both formally in terms of access to rights and citizenship and informally in terms of whether individuals feel part of a broader collective identity, at the local, national and/or transnational levels.

Research in this group encompasses the social, political and economic dimensions of migration exploring both violence and poverty as drivers of migration, as well as relationships between people in the places to which migrants move (including actual and perceived conflicts over resources, identity, space) and the political and policy narratives with which migration is associated together with broader narratives of ‘displacement’ and ‘belonging’ which impact on the experiences of non-migrant groups who are positioned as ‘other’.

Drawing on the voices and perspectives of migrants themselves, our research explores the many and varied experiences of migration (within countries, between regions and across geographical boundaries) and the ways in which these experiences are conceptualised within - and shaped by – migration policies, laws and practices developed at local, regional, national and international levels. 
The research undertaken by group members aims to better understand the complex processes with which migration is associated and to support policy makers, politicians, community representatives and migrants to work together in ways that enhance human security, well-being and belonging in the context of migration.

How can we help you?

Our group brings together members with a broad range of experience in research, government, policy, advocacy and teaching in countries around the world. By better understanding the complex processes with which migration is associated, we are able to support policy makers, politicians, international organisations, NGOs, community representatives and migrants themselves to work together in ways that enhance wellbeing and belonging in the context of migration.

  • Reviewing: provide overviews critically assessing and clearly communicating the existing research and evidence base on migration issues, from literature reviews to data and evidence audits.
  • Evaluations: we can work with you at the beginning, during or at the end of your programme to evaluate its methods, implementation and effectiveness. We have particular expertise in undertaking formative evaluations.
  • Training: drawing on our rich conceptual and methodological expertise, we deliver bespoke training workshops to help you and your organisation better understand the key themes and contemporary issues in contexts of migration and displacement as well as thinking through ways of practically approaching them.
  • Advising: our members currently act as trustees and board members for migrant and refugee organisations across the UK, enabling them to transfer their rich expertise into the practical work of charities, NGOs and policy organisations.

Meet the Team

Heaven Crawley, Professor, Research Group Leader

Forced migration, asylum in Europe, migrant journeys, immigration policy, international refugee law, public attitudes, migrants and the media, gender, children and young people

Mateja Celestina, Research Associate

Conflict and forced migration, protracted refugee situations, displacement and emplacement, memory and belonging

Catherine Harris, Research Fellow

Labour migration, social diversity, integration, ethnic entrepreneurship

Katharine Jones, Senior Research Fellow

Migrant recruitment and employment practices, domestic workers, migrant social networks, human rights

Esra Kaytaz, Research Associate

Migration, displacement and belonging, migrant journeys

EJ Milne, Senior Research Fellow

Social justice, politics and ethics of research, processes of knowledge production, innovative research methodologies and methods, participatory and community based research.

Joanna Wheeler, Research Fellow


Thomas Yeboah, Research Associate

Migration, refugees and displaced people, development economics


Feature Project:

MEDMIG Unravelling the Mediterranean Migration Crisis

Funded by the ESRC, this project is the first large-scale comparative study of the backgrounds, experiences, aspirations and routes of migrants in four European countries – Italy, Greece, Malta and Turkey. More information

The Politics Of Migration, Displacement And Belonging Among Afghans Migrants And Refugees In Europe And North America

We aim to examine the situate of the complex migration histories of Afghans who have recently migrated from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan within debates around the categorisation, intersectionality and development in migration.

Refugee Resettlement: Politics, Practices, Rhetoric

Drawing evidence from a select group of case-studies, this project explores resettlement in countries of destination as well in those which host large numbers of forcibly displaced persons.

Struggling To Survive: Slavery And Exploitation Of Syrian Refugees In Lebanon

Conducted in the early part of 2016 this project documented the manifestations of slavery and human trafficking among the Syrian refugee population in Lebanon.

For A Fee: The Recruitment Of Migrant Domestic Workers

The current project explores how male and female migrant workers are able to most effectively challenge exploitative labour recruiters, with research conducted globally, but especially in Qatar and Nepal.

Migrants And The Media: Examining Migrant Voices In Britain’s Political Debate

This project explored the engagement and representation of these migrant voices within the 2015 pre-election debate, asking how the voices and experiences of migrants were represented in media reporting and whether migrants themselves were able to have a say.

Managing the migration crisis? Undocumented migrants and refugees at europe’s southern border

This project seeks to better understand what the impact of attempts by EU institutions and national governments to manage the crisis has been on migrants’ status and journeys, and to document the ongoing crisis through the experiences of newly arrived migrants and refugees..

(En)Gendering international protection? 'Refugee women', gender and the global politics of asylum

To increase both academic knowledge and policy impact, this project will undertake comparative research across nine case-study countries generating new insights into the framing of gender issues in claims for protection, in a broader understanding of the politics of asylum.

Beyond the Fear

Beyond Fear And Hate: Mobilising People Power To Create A New Narrative On Migration And Diversity

Across Europe political and media debates on migration and diversity have become increasingly negative. There is growing evidence that narratives of fear and hate have moved from fringe positions to occupy the mainstream, changing the terms of the debate in many countries...

News / Events

CTPSR at the Guardian University Awards 2017

Coventry University has been shortlisted for a prestigious award by the Guardian for the impact of its research shedding light on the dynamics of Europe’s migration crisis.

Katharine Jones Joins The One World Media Awards As A Judge

Katharine Jones has been invited to act as a judge for the One World Media Awards, Refugee Reporting category, 2017.

Professor Heaven Crawley Joins ODI

Professor Heaven Crawley has joined the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) as a Senior Research Associate to develop and strengthen links with the newly established migration research programmel.

Between Conflict And Survival: Unravelling The Drivers Of Migration Across The Mediterranean In 2015

The current project explores how male and female migrant workers are able to most effectively challenge exploitative labour recruiters, with research conducted globally, but especially in Qatar and Nepal.