William L. Allen Research Officer, The Migration Observatory

+44 (0)1865 284959

Will Allen is a Research Officer at COMPAS, working with the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford. His main research focuses on British media representations of migration, as well as how these interact with public perceptions of immigrants and migration policy change in the UK. Since 2011 he has helped the Observatory to understand how UK national newspapers have covered migration issues and specific migrant groups.

Working with COMPAS has also led him to examine how civil society stakeholders use and communicate social scientific data, including statistics about migration. He is involved in several projects addressing how people engage with data visualisations, how civil society organisations use research through ‘knowledge exchange’, and what ethical issues arise from open and ‘Big’ data.

Prior to joining COMPAS, he conducted ethnographic fieldwork at the Kenya-Uganda border to understand how border-crossers impacted local economic development and public health interventions. He also has experience investigating rural livelihoods and migration in northern Mexico, as well as consulting for human rights and education NGOs in the US-Mexico borderlands. He holds degrees in Social Policy and Economics from Alma College (USA) and Development Studies from Oxford.


BordersCivil SocietyPoliticsPublic Opinion

Journal Articles


Working Papers

Other Publications


Messaging Mobility: Exploring and Creating New Narratives About Migration and Human Movement in a Changing World

Bridget Anderson, Emma Newcombe, Scott Blinder and William Allen | May 2017 - May 2019

Migration in the Media and Public Opinion in Britain

Scott Blinder and William Allen | June 2012 – May 2013

Role of European Mobility and its Impacts in Narratives, Debates and EU Reforms (REMINDER)

Carlos Vargas-Silva, Esther Arenas-Arroyo, Madeleine Sumption, Martin Ruhs, Rob McNeil, Scott Blinder, William Allen, Yvonni Markaki, Cinzia Rienzo, Osea Giuntella and Chiara van Praag | January 2017 - December 2019

Seeing Data: Are Good Big Data Visualisations Possible?

William Allen | January 2014 – September 2015