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

May 2017 - May 2019
Overview Partners
Back to Projects


Migration and human mobility confronts citizens and politicians with questions about the nature of contemporary states and societies in a globalised world. These issues are both urgent and profound. They demand more effective communication about mobility and its impacts. But, it's not clear what 'effective' messages look like. Furthermore, deeper reflection with members of the public is required on an overarching framework of values that can guide how we talk and think about migration. This project begins from the premise that good communication is about listening to others' ideas and values as well as talking. These ethical and participatory elements are critical for building more just, peaceful, and understanding relationships among all members of society. 'Messaging Mobility' addresses two questions: what would new, 'effective' narratives on migration look like; and what values, techniques, and approaches would they invoke? It uses three methods: textual analysis of media coverage to establish past ways of communicating about migration; survey experiments among the UK public that test potential communicative drivers of public perceptions about migration; and participatory methods including the use of dramatic arts to qualitatively understand how people make sense of the issue using their own words and local experiences.

Principal Investigator

Will Allen


Bridget Anderson


Expert Advisors:

Emma Newcombe (COMPAS)
Scott Blinder (University of Massachusetts-Amherst)


Toyota Foundation (Japan)