Although migration between the countries of the Global South is increasingly significant in terms of its scale, complexity and consequences, migration research typically focuses on the movement of people to the countries of the Global North reflecting, in significant part, the empirical, political and policy interests of researchers and funding bodies. Drawing on her experiences as Director of the MIDEQ Hub, Professor Heaven Crawley explores the challenges of ‘walking the talk’ when it comes to decentering migration research. MIDEQ is the UK’s largest GCRF-funded project bringing together partners from 12 countries in the Global South to tell a new and very different story of migration and its relationship to inequality. But this process has been far from straightforward. From pulling together the funding proposal to designing the research, undertaking the data collection and dealing with the fallout from sudden and dramatic funding cuts, the project’s researchers have been in an almost constant tussle with dominant assumptions about what and whose knowledge ‘counts’, how to ensure ‘equitable partnerships’ in the context of deep and long-standing inequalities access to resources for the production of knowledge, and how to address the migration-related inequalities which often stretch beyond borders in contexts where the political focus is on national interests and priorities.
The Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre (IGDC), a major interdisciplinary centre for research, teaching and partnership for global development, is based at the University of York. Led by the Departments of Politics, Environment and Geography, and History, the IGDC works across and beyond the University to collaborate with partners worldwide to create new interdisciplinary and innovative approaches to tackle global challenges.
The University of York Migration Network operates as a research hub that brings together a cross-disciplinary group of researchers from across the University of York and beyond, who work on (forced) migration, human rights, social justice, culture and citizenship.
About the speaker
Professor Heaven Crawley, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, University of Coventry
Professor Heaven Crawley joined the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR) at Coventry University in September 2014 from where she leads the UKRI GCRF South-South Migration, Inequality and Development Hub (MIDEQ). Educated at the Universities of Sussex (1989-1994) and Oxford (1995-1999), Heaven has nearly 30 years’ experience of undertaking research on international migration in a wide range of institutional settings (government, voluntary sector, national and international organisations, academia). She was previously head of asylum and migration research at the UK Home Office (2000-2), Associate Director at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) (2002-4) and managed an international research consultancy (2004-6) before returning to academia to set up the Centre for Migration Policy Research at Swansea University (2006-14).
Heaven’s research is underpinned by concerns about the inequalities with which international migration is often (but not always) associated: global, local and social inequalities that limit human potential and shape decisions to migrate; inequalities in opportunities to move safely, often linked to gender, ethnicity or age; inequalities in the opportunities to secure access to protection, work and rights; inequalities in the representation of concerns and interests around migration which often decontextualise migration from broader processes of social, political and economic change; inequalities in the construction of knowledge around migration processes and outcomes, in particular the marginalisation of migrants and scholars in the Global South in migration debates and policy analysis. She is particularly interested in better understanding the relationships between migration and inequality in the context of the Global South.
Heaven has published extensively on a wide range of asylum and immigration issues including the drivers of migration and migrant decision-making, gender issues in forced migration, refugee and migrant rights, the experiences of children and young people on the move, attitudes towards migration and migrants and politics of migration policy-making. From 2015-18 her work focused primarily on the experiences of those crossing the Mediterranean during Europe's so-called 'migration crisis' and the failures of politicians, policy makers and the media to accurately reflect and respond to evidence on its causes and consequences. She has served as a specialist adviser to the UK's Home Affairs Committee and Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) on three separate occasions and as a patron/trustee to the Baobab Centre for Young Survivors in Exile, Asylum Justice and Migrant Voice.