Exploring Migration: Research and Drama in Schools October 2014 – September 2015


This project aims to facilitate the dissemination of research findings beyond the academic environment; to engage school students in critical reflection on current migration issues in the UK through alternative means; to raise awareness of how contemporary migration issues affect young migrants in particular; to lay foundations for a long-term educational resource, and to influence policy-makers and practitioners through engaging them with the performances. It will do so by working in collaboration with schools in London, Birmingham and Thame, as well as local charities, to develop scripted monologues into an educational resource using theatre.

The recently completed COMPAS project, ‘Undocumented Migrant Children’, investigated the impact that lack of legal immigration status has on migrant children’s daily lives, their access to schools and healthcare. The research project also commissioned the theatre company ice & fire to script five scripted monologues based on interviews collected during the research with a view to a stage performance. These monologues are used in the project, adapted to fit each school group.

Principal Investigator

Bridget Anderson


Vanessa Hughes, Ida Persson


Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account (pilot)

Professionals' Advisory Group

Capital City Academy, London
Lord Williams’s School, Thame (Oxon)
Water Mill Primary School, Birmingham

News & Media

Education and perceptions: learning about migration through theatre
Blog | COMPAS Communications

Students from Willesden school stage play about undocumented migrants
Brent and Kilburn Times | 2 Apr 2015

Pupils stage performance based on undocumented migrants’ experiences
Oxford University News | 23 Mar 2015




Asylum and RefugeesCitizenshipEducationFamilyGeneration and Life courseIllegality




This project takes a much more practical approach than a theoretical one, focusing more on the application of research than on new research, allowing user groups to interact with it in a new way. However, the material used is based on theoretical evidence gathered in the COMPAS research project ‘Undocumented Migrant Children in the UK’, which looks at access to healthcare, education and housing for undocumented migrant children.


The monologues will be rehearsed and performed with students from three different schools, one per term. The rehearsal process will include discussions about the relevant issues. Bringing this particular research to schools will provide an opportunity to shed light on a social group (undocumented migrant children) whose issues are normally hidden in day-to-day workings of schools and other social environments and systems. Migration and asylum are extremely contentious issues and this will encourage young people to critically reflect on how government policies and institutional practices affect others that they can recognise and empathise with. The students will be in charge of the structure of the final performance as it should reflect their understanding and reaction to the material.


8 December 2015, Oxford: Public Performance by Lord Williams’s School students (video to follow)

19 March 2015, London: Public Performance by Capital City Academy School students (video to follow)