Sussex-led international study looks at the life chances of migrants
A Sussex geographer is leading a major project that will focus on the vulnerability of migrants who have moved to some of the world’s most pressured cities.
Dr Michael Collyer is working with researchers from UK universities and international partners, as well as Sussex colleagues Professor JoAnn McGregor, Professor Clionadh Raleigh and Professor Dominic Kniveton for The Royal Geographical Society’s new Field Research Programme.
Migrants on the margins is a three-year project focusing on migration in some of the world’s most populated cities, including Colombo (Sri Lanka), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Harare (Zimbabwe) and Hargeisa (Somaliland).
Recent research has shown that most people moving away from humanitarian crises only move short distances and often into marginal urban areas that are just as fragile as those they are trying to escape. It is then all too easy for the migrants to become trapped.
“These movements are some of the most important and least studied migration patterns worldwide,” says Dr Collyer. “Little is understood about the life chances of the migrants themselves and the issue will only worsen as populations grow and the impact of climate change is increasingly felt.”
This project was selected after the Royal Geographical Society’s 16,500 members and Fellows were asked which geographical issues were most in need of field-based research. Three topics were identified and an open call for proposals was made. Migrants on the margins was unanimously recommended by a steering group and approved by the society's council.
As well as seeking to improve lives in the areas of study, the project also aims to build regional research capacity and networks of expertise on this topic in Asia and Africa. Research findings will be published in leading academic journals and shared with wider audiences through a documentary film, an exhibition, lectures and educational resources for schools.
“Sharing new geographical knowledge with a range of audiences – from the public to school children and policymakers – lies at the heart of the Society’s work,” says Dr Rita Gardner, the Royal Geographical Society’s director. “This project is not only cutting edge research, it also offers great opportunities to engage people with the relevance of geography and to demonstrate its importance in the world today. This study has never been more needed.”