Sussex Centre for Migration Research

Home and Away


South Asian populations in the U.K are characterised by high numbers of children, but whilst there has been a growing body of work on 'South Asian youth' virtually no other research has been carried out on children. This research draws attention to South Asian children born in Britain, many of whom are taken on visits to the 'homeland', and have perspectives significantly different from those of adults on questions of belonging, cultural identity and place. They are in transition, yet beyond popular (and often misguided) assumptions of being 'between two cultures', we know little about their perspectives.

The relationship between migration and the life course is an area of growing interest in migration research. By understanding migration in terms of the life cycle of individuals and their families, we can better appreciate decisions which contribute to movement and settlement, as well as how identities change over time and space. By focusing on children, the project contributed towards theorising transnational migration and transnational social fields, showing the active role that children's imaginings, cultural practices and forms of representation play in these.

The project involved collaborations with artists and the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. The findings are of importance to scholars of migration, educationalists, policy makers and the general public. Publications and outputs are listed below.

One of the chief challenges of the project and one of the important contributions that the project made was to develop and analyse innovative participatory research methodologies. The research worked with schools to develop participatory arts-based methods. A central output of the project was an exhibition of art and photography by children and artists at the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green.


Art shows 'home where heart is'

In Pictures: Children’s Art Study


Bangla Stories Website


Gardner, Katy and Mand, Kanwal (2012) (eds.) Transnational Migration and the Study of Children, Special edition of The Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Volume 38, Issue 6.

Gardner, Katy (2012) ‘Transnational Migration and the Study of Children: An Introduction.’ In Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies ; Volume 38, Issue 6  pp 889-912.

Gardner, K and Mand K (2012) '"My Away is Here": Place, Emplacement and Mobility amongst British Bengali Children', in Gardner, K and Mand, K (eds.) 'Through Children's Eyes: Transnational Migration Reconsidered'. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38 (6): 969-986.

Murray, L and Mand K (forthcoming) 'Travelling near and far: researching children's mobile emotions', in Emotion, Space and Society.

Mand, K. (2011) 'Innovative methods and creative research with children in transnational families', in The International Journal of Social Research Methods 15(2): 149-160.

Mand, K. (2010) "I've got two houses, one in Bangladesh, one in London. Everybody has!" Home, locality and belonging(s) in the east End', in Childhood 17 (2) 273-287.

Zeitlyn, Benjamin (forthcoming) Londoni: Transnational Childhoods in a Global City, Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke.

Zeitlyn, Benjamin (2014) Making sense of the smell of Bangladesh. Childhood, 21 (2). pp. 175-189. ISSN 0907-5682

Zeitlyn, Benjamin (2014) The making of a moral British Bangladeshi. Journal of Moral Education. ISSN 0305-7240

Zeitlyn, Benjamin (2013) Desh bidesh revisited. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, 20 (3). pp. 253-269. ISSN 1070-289X

Zeitlyn, Benjamin (2012) The Sylheti bari and the Londoni flat. Space and Culture, 15 (4). pp. 317-329. ISSN 1552-8308

Zeitlyn, Benjamin and Mand, Kanwal (2012) Researching Transnational Childhoods. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38 (6). pp. 987-1007. ISSN 1369-183X

Zeitlyn, Benjamin (2012) Maintaining transnational social fields, the role of visits to Bangladesh for British Bangladeshi children. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38 (6). pp. 953-968. ISSN 1369-183X

Top image: Researchers are working in collaboration with the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green
Photo by VirtualTourist member [planxty]