IMISCOE Spring Conference: Transforming Mobility and Immobility: Brexit and Beyond

The ‘Transforming Mobility and Immobility: Brexit and Beyond’ IMISCOE Spring Conference took place on 28-29 March 2019 in Sheffield, UK.

This conference was organised by the Migration Research Group at the University of Sheffield in collaboration with the Centre of Migration Research (CMR) at the University of Warsaw and IMISCOE. It was supported by the Noble Foundation’s Programme on Modern Poland.

Read more about the conference here.

Speakers included:

  • Professor Feargal Cochrane, University of Kent
  • Professor Nira Yuval Davis, University of East London
  • Professor Pawel Kaczmarczyk, University of Warsaw
  • Dr Majella Kilkey, University of Sheffield
  • Professor Louise Ryan, University of Sheffield
  • Professor Peter Scholten, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Professor Anna Triandafyllidou, European University Institute
  • Catherine Woollard, European Council on Refugees and Exiles
  • Dr Aarti Iyer, University of Sheffield

At the very moment the UK plans to exit the EU, we invited migration scholars to come together to discuss how Brexit cannot be understood in isolation, but must be seen in relation to a geographic, temporal and conceptual ‘beyond’.

We collaborated to develop understanding of how on-going events in Europe and worldwide are transforming regimes, patterns and understandings of mobility and immobility.

In the 15 years since the 2004 Enlargement, at local and national scales, European countries have experienced seismic shifts associated with increasing intra-EU mobility, the economic crisis, austerity, the so-called ‘refugee crisis’, the rise of far-right and other populist sentiments.

Brexit is clearly a notable political landmark in the UK’s more generalised ‘hostile environment’, but globally it sits alongside other significant events such as Trump’s ‘raising the border’ rhetoric in the USA to the forced displacement of the Rohingya from Myanmar.

Following Castles (2010: 1576), we understand these shifts as bound up in broader processes of social transformation in which ‘existing social patterns are questioned and many are reconfigured’.

A social transformation lens on migration, invites us, therefore, to interrogate what is changing in the politics, policies and practices of mobility and immobility, and what this means for our existing theoretical and conceptual frameworks.

PhD Workshop & Full Conference Programmes

Please note that the programmes are correct at time of publishing but are subject to changes as necessary.

Download PhD Workshop Programme
Download PhD Workshop Abstracts
Download Full Conference Programme
Download Conference Abstracts

Professor Feargal Cochrane

Professor Feargal Cochrane is Director of the Conflict Analysis Research Centre, (CARC) and Deputy Head of the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent.

He is also Vice Chair of the Political Studies Association (PSA) the largest Professional Association in the Political Studies discipline in the UK and a Trustee of the Oxford Research Group. His book Brexit and Northern Ireland: Breaking Peace, will be published by Manchester University Press in June 2020.

Professor Nira Yuval Davis

Nira Yuval-Davis is Professor Emeritus, Honorary Director of the Research Centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging (CMRB) at the University of East London and a Professorial Associated Researcher at the Centre for Gender Studies at the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS), University of London. A diasporic Israeli socialist feminist, Nira has been active in different forums against racism and sexism in Israel and other settler colonial societies as well as in the UK and Europe. She has been the President of the Research Committee 05 (on Racism, Nationalism, Indigeneity and Ethnic Relations) of the International Sociological Association, founder member of Women Against Fundamentalism and the international research network on Women In Militarized Conflict Zones and has acted as a consultant for various UN and human rights organisations. Nira Yuval-Davis has won the 2018 International Sociological Association Distinguished Award for Excellence in Research and Practice. She has written widely on intersected gendered nationalisms, racisms, fundamentalisms, citizenships, identities, belonging/s and everyday bordering. Among her books Woman-Nation-State, 1989, Racialized Boundaries, 1992, Unsettling Settler Societies, 1995, Gender and Nation,1997, The Warning Signs of Fundamentalism, 2004, The Politics of Belonging: Intersectional Contestations, 2011, Women Against Fundamentalism, 2014 and Bordering (Forthcoming). Her works have been translated into more than ten languages.

Professor Pawel Kaczmarczyk

Professor Pawel Kaczmarczyk is the director of the Centre of Migration Research at the University of Warsaw and an associate professor at the Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw; member of IMISCOE; IZA fellow, and SOPEMI correspondent for Poland at OECD; in 2008-2011 a member of the Board of Strategic Advisers to the Prime Minister of Poland (responsible for demography, migration and labour market related issues). His main research areas include causes and consequences of labour migration (with special attention paid to analysis of migration processes in CEE countries), highly skilled mobility, methodology of migration research, migration policy, labour economics, population economics and demography, and international economics.

Dr Majella Kilkey

Dr Majella Kilkey is a Reader in Social Policy in the Departement of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield, where she directs the MSc International Social Change and Policy.

Majella studied at Queens University Belfast and the University of York; she gained her PhD from York in 2000. Majella is Co-Editor of Social Policy & Societyan Editorial Board Member of the Journal of Social Policy and an Executive Member of the UK Social Policy Association. She is a member of IMISCOE, ISA, ESA and the SPA.

Professor Louise Ryan

Louise Ryan joined the University of Sheffield in 2016, having previously been Professor of Sociology at Middlesex University, London, where she worked for 12 years. Originally from Ireland, Louise is a graduate of University College Cork. Her research expertise is in the area of migration, social networks, gender and religion. Louise was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2015. She is a trustee and currently vice-chair of the British Sociological Association. She has recently been a member of the ESRC Grant Assessment Panel and the equivalent Polish grant assessment panel of the Polish Social Sciences Research Centre, and is also a visiting Professor at the Social Sciences University (SWPS) Warsaw. Louise is a series editor of the book series – Sociological Futures published by Routledge in association with the BSA.

Professor Peter Scholten

Prof.dr. Peter Scholten is Professor of Migration and Diversity Policy at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Also he is coordinator of the IMISCOE Research Network, editor-in-chief of the journal Comparative Migration Studies and associate editor of the Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis.

His work focuses on migration and diversity governance, in particular the role of knowledge, multi-level governance and complexity governance.

Professor Anna Triandafyllidou

Professor Anna Triandafyllidou holds a Robert Schuman Chair in the Global Governance Programme of the European University Institute (Florence, Italy) where she directs the Research Area on Cultural Pluralism. She is the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies and has been a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium between 2002 and 2018. Her latest edited books are: Handbook of Migration and Globalisation (E. Elgar, 2018), Multicultural Governance in a Mobile World (Edinburgh University Press, 2017), The Problem of Religious Diversity (Edinburgh University Press, 2017, with T.Modood). Her latest authored book was What is Europe (Palgrave, 2015, with R. Gropas) and she is writing a volume on Nation, Migration and Globalization to appear in 2020 with Palgrave too. She is coordinating two new Horizon 2020 research projects on the governance of religious diversity (the GREASE project) and on preventing violent extremism and polarization (the BRaVE project, just started).

Catherine Woollard

Catherine Woollard took up the position of Secretary General of the ECRE (the European Council on Refugees and Exiles) in 2016. ECRE is a pan-European alliance of 103 NGOs in 41 countries working to protect and advance the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons. ECRE’s work covers litigation, research, advocacy and communication. Woollard has worked in the NGO sector since 2003, focusing on human rights, conflict prevention, security, and governance. From 2008 to 2015, she was the Executive Director of EPLO, the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office, a Brussels-based network that campaigns for the EU to be more effective at preventing conflict and building peace. Previously, she held the position of Director of Policy and Communications at Conciliation Resources and managed programmes in South East Europe, Central Asia and Turkey at Minority Rights Group International and Transparency International. She has also worked for the UK civil service; as a lecturer in political science, teaching at universities in Italy, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and the Netherlands; as a consultant advising governments, international organisations and NGOs; and as a translator. Recent geographic experience includes assignments in DRC, Myanmar, Côte d’Ivoire and the Philippines. She is currently a member of the Democratic Progress Institute’s Council of Experts and of the OSCE’s Roster of Experts on Mediation and Dialogue.

Dr Aarti Iyer

Dr. Aarti Iyer received her PhD in 2004 from the University of California, Santa Cruz (USA). She is a Reader in Social Psychology at the University of Sheffield (UK). Aarti’s research investigates individual and institutional responses to inequality and injustice across a range of intergroup contexts. This work has focused on three broad questions: (1) What factors predict individuals’ political attitudes and political behaviour? (2) How do social identity processes shape migrants’ acculturation strategies, self-views, and academic performance? (3) What programs can organisations develop to increase the representation of historically disadvantaged groups? Together with colleagues, Aarti has published more than 40 journal articles and book chapters on these topics, with funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, the Australian Research Council, and the National Science Foundation (USA). The contributions of Aarti’s work have been recognised with a number of awards and honours, including the 2008 Jos Jaspars Early Career Award from the European Association of Social Psychology (EASP), a feature in the 2011 Rising Star series by the Association of Psychological Science (APS), and elected Fellow status in the Society for Experimental Social Psychology (2013) and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (2018). Aarti has served as Associate Editor for the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (2017 – 2019) and the European Journal of Social Psychology (2012 – 2014). She is currently on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Social Issues, Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, and British Journal of Social Psychology.

Day 1: PhD Workshop – Thursday 28 March

The PhD workshop on will be held in the ICOSS building on the University of Sheffield campus which is accessible via tram from Sheffield Railway Station.

Day 2: Conference – Friday 29 March

The conference will be held at the Novotel Sheffield Centre which is a short walk from Sheffield Railway Station.


PhD Day:  £50
Full conference:  £100
Discounted registration fees may be available for paper givers from NGOs.

Please contact MRG Network Administrator for further information


The accommodation providers listed below are recommended based solely on proximity to the venues for this event.

Their inclusion is not an endorsement of the quality of service which they provide, we recommend all delegates consult reviews and/or speak to accommodation providers directly to ensure they meet your requirements prior to making a booking.

4* Accommodation

Leopold Hotel

2 Leopold Street
S1 2GZ

Tel: (+44) 114 252 4000

Mercure Sheffield St Paul’s

119 Norfolk Street
S1 2JE

Tel: (+44)114 278 2000

Novotel Sheffield Centre

50 Arundel Gate
S1 2PR

Tel (+44)113 396 9005

3* Accommodation

Best Western Sheffield City Centre

Cutlers Hotel
George Street
S1 2PF

Tel: (+44)114 273 9939

Hampton by Hilton

West Bar Green
S1 2DA

Tel: (+44)114 399 0999

Jurys Inn Sheffield

119 Eyre Street
S1 4QW

Tel: (+44) 114 291 2222

Budget Accommodation

Easy Hotel

71 High Street
S1 2GD

Tel: (+44)114 349 8450

Ibis Sheffield City Hotel

Shude Hill
S1 2AR

Tel: (+44)114 241 9600

Premier Inn Sheffield City Centre (Angel Street)

19 Angel Street
S3 8LN

Tel: (+44)871 527 8970

Travelodge Sheffield Central

1 Broad Street West
S1 2BQ

Tel (+44)871 984 6305

Conference organising team at the University of Sheffield:

  • Professor Louise Ryan (Co-Director MRG and Department of Sociological Studies)
  • Dr Majella Kilkey (Co-Director MRG and Department of Sociological Studies)
  • Dr Aneta Piekut (MRG and Sheffield Methods Institute)
  • Dr Clare Rishbeth (MRG and Department of Landscape)
  • Dr Zheng Wang (MRG and Urban Studies and Planning)
  • Edanur Yazici (PhD Student, Department of Sociological Studies)
  • Maev McDaid (PhD Student, Department of Sociological Studies)
  • Indra Mangule (MRG Administrator)