COMPAS Round Up Summer 2017

Published 27 July 2017 / By COMPAS communications team

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It’s been an eventful couple of years, with lots of political and social changes affecting the migration field, the academic world and communities and societies at large. In recent times, COMPAS has also experienced some significant changes – bidding farewell to a number of colleagues, but also embarking on new initiatives and large scale research projects.


Our seminar series this year reflected these changes. We started the Michaelmas term with a series reflecting on ‘Migration Research – where next?’ The Urban Transformations team took charge during Hilary term, organising a series of presentations on ‘Migration and Urban Transformation: Boundaries in an age of resentment’. For our final series in Trinity term we took COMPAS out into the community with a series of participatory events in neighbourhoods around Oxford – ‘Talking Oxford

In January, COMPAS’ Global Exchange on Migration and Diversity and the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) Network launched a web tool to enable advisors in the voluntary sector and local authorities to assess destitute families’ eligibility for support.

The Migration Observatory contributed to public debates around the EU referendum and the recent general election, developing briefing materials and explainer videos. In recognition of the important contribution the Migration Observatory has made to informing debates on international migration and public policy since its launch in 2011, Madeleine Sumption and Carlos Vargas-Silva received an ESRC Impact Prize for Outstanding Impact in Society.

Additionally, our academic staff members have kept busy with lectures, presentations and keynote speeches - find out more on the highlights section of our website.


2016-17 MSc in Migration Studies cohort

The MSc in Migration Studies saw our largest cohort yet this year. We sent the group off with a farewell party in June, wishing them best of luck in their future endeavours. We hope our alumni will consider contributing in future to the MSc guest blog series.

In September, the Global Exchange on Migration and Diversity will be convening their second Autumn Academy on Strategic Approaches to Migrants with Irregular Status in Europe. This symposium for senior public officials, NGO leaders, academic experts and foundations from across Europe will provide a unique opportunity for those responsible for developing and implementing policies towards irregular (undocumented) migrants at the international, EU, national or city level to share their knowledge, expertise and ideas.

New projects

In January, COMPAS started a 3-year research Horizon 2020 project funded by the European Commission. The project, entitled the Role of European Mobility and its Impacts in Narratives, Debates and EU Reforms (REMINDER), brings a multidisciplinary approach to understanding free movement in Europe, with participation from a consortium of 13 organisations across eight European countries. Twelve research streams will focus on both the nature and impacts, and political and media narratives, of intra-EU mobility.

Carlos Vargas Silva is leading the Nuffield Foundation Economic Integration of Refugees in the UK (ECONREF) project, providing quantitative evidence on the labour market, wellbeing and education outcomes of refugees in the UK.

Sarah Spencer and the Global Exchange team are working on a two-year Inclusive Cities project funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. The project is supporting five UK cities and their local partners to achieve a step-change in their approach towards integration of newcomers in the city, by drawing on ideas and experience from within Europe and innovative approaches from cities in the United States.

The Global Exchange is also involved in the City Initiative on Irregular Migrants in Europe project, which is a working group of eight European cities that will share experience and develop guidance material for local municipalities on best practice in relation to mainstreaming irregular migrants within EU domestic policy agendas.

Staff changes

We’re saying goodbye to some highly valued staff, but fortunately we are also welcoming new colleagues working on new projects.

After some 17 years at the University, Bridget Anderson is leaving for a new role at the University of Bristol. As a founding member of COMPAS staff we thank her for all the hard work and amazing research she has conducted. We hope she will continue to be linked to COMPAS work as a Research Affiliate for years to come. Rob McNeil conducted an interview with Bridget before she left, looking back on her time at COMPAS.

Our tireless development manager, Vicky Kingsman, is leaving for an exciting programme of study in animal psychology at the University of Lincoln. Jess Williams, formerly administrator of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, will be joining us as Research Development Officer for the School of Anthropology.

Other new staff members who have joined us over the past year are Ravi Parekh, who is working with the Migration Observatory as a Researcher Coordinator. Zovanga Kone joined the Migration Observatory as a researcher, and is also working with Carlos Vargas Silva on the ECONREF programme. Yvonni Markaki and Scott Blinder returned to work on the REMINDER project, and Esther Arenas-Arroyo, Cinzia Rienzo and Osea Giuntella joined us as researchers on the project. Jacqui Broadhead joined the Global Exchange team as Senior Researcher and Project Manager on the Inclusive Cities programme, and Nico Delvino will be arriving in September to assist with other Global Exchange activities. And we are welcoming back Biao Xiang, who has been away for several years on sabbatical.

Visual Arts Competition

And finally, it’s the tenth year of our annual visual arts competition! This year’s theme is ‘Mobility in an Unstable World’, and we’re looking for photos and illustrations exploring migration in a world where societies and governments are facing dramatic shifts and challenges. Visit our website to find out more about the competition and to see previous years’ winners.