Transformation & Resilience: Join The Annual Oxford Migration Conference on 14-15 May 2024

Published 26 April 2024 / By COMPAS Communications

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The Oxford Migration Studies Society (OMSS), supported by COMPAS, is a student-run university society that aims to connect students examining any facet of migration in Oxford. The society hosts several social and networking events each year, with the largest - the annual Oxford Migration Conference - recently announcing their jam-packed programme and keynote speaker.

Tickets for the conference are on sale here.

The annual Oxford Migration Studies Society (OMSS) conference will feature over 30 migration researchers from all over the world. With seven panels and a keynote speaker, the OMSS conference will explore the theme of "Transformation & Resilience" through climate change, colonialism, decolonisation, securitisation and other major transformations concerning migration. Migrant experiences, including personal stories and strategies of resilience and adaptation, will feature in several panel discussions. The conference welcomes international researchers, policymakers, NGO workers and grassroots campaigners to the OMSS platform, and tickets are open to the public.

Students of COMPAS' two postgraduate courses in Migration Studies are heavily involved in the running of OMSS. Society members also include students and researchers from the Refugee Studies Centre (RSC), and other research centres across various disciplines, including anthropology, politics, history, geography, and sociology.

Alongside the conference, OMSS are collaborating with Routed Magazine to produce a Special Issue. Previous annual conferences organised by OMSS have fostered this collaboration, with the 2022 Annual Migration Conference producing a Routed Magazine Special Issue featuring 23 papers on the conference theme "Contours of Power".

Keynote Speaker

Seán Binder (@sean_binder_) is an advocate for migrant rights who faces criminal charges connected to search and rescue work he carried out as a volunteer for a humanitarian NGO in Lesbos, Greece. Seán has spent 106 days in pre-trial detention in a Greek prison and was charged with a number of serious criminal offences including the facilitation of illegal entry (smuggling), money laundering, espionage and membership in a criminal organisation. In January, the defendants were cleared of all misdemeanour charges in an important win for humanitarian efforts in the Mediterranean. However, they still face felony charges which could result in 20 years in jail. Seán’s co-accused include the activist Sara Mardini, whose story featured in the Netflix film The Swimmers. Dominique De Villiers, the OMSS co-President, comments:

"Seán and Sara's case demonstrates a criminalisation of solidarity. The work of both activists are characterised by the principle that saving lives should never be a crime; with Europe's deterrence policies not only aiming to criminalise asylum seekers themselves, but also those who support them, their work aims to challenge this systemic injustice. OMSS are honoured to have Seán share his story at the conference."


See here for Tuesday's schedule and here for Wednesday's schedule.

Tuesday 14 May 2024

1) Colonialism and Decolonisation

2) Culture, Identity & Integration (I)

3) Gender & Sexuality

Wednesday 15 May 2024

4) Shelter, Placemaking & Integration

5) Culture, Identity & Integration (II)

6) Securitisation and Criminalisation

7) Labour, Livelihoods & Migrant Strategies for Resilience

8) Climate Change & Environmental Transformation

The two-day conference will take place at the Ship Street Conference Centre in Jesus College, Oxford. Attendees are welcome to join in person or online, with those joining in person to receive a complimentary lunch. The cost of in-person attendance is £5 per day for Oxford University affiliates (anyone with an Oxford University email) and £10 per day for others. Please see the Eventbrite webpage for further details. If you have any questions about accessibility requirements or booking your place, please contact

Announcements and further details are shared via OMSS' social media (@oxmigrationsociety on Instagram and @OxfordMSS on Twitter). OMSS are also active via LinkedIn and Facebook.