The Forced Migration Research Cluster (FMRC)

Convenor: Dr Patricia Hynes

The Forced Migration Research Cluster (FMRC) is an emergent interdisciplinary grouping within the university and is being established to capture the work of those engaged in a programme of research into human displacement and forced migration in all its forms. This includes refugees, asylum seekers, people who have experienced human trafficking and unaccompanied minors as well as more conceptual work around sanctuary, refuge, hope, aspirations, memory and forgetting.

The Cluster is committed to excellence in research and the development and promotion of applied social research resulting in positive impacts for the lives of people. Our cross-faculty members maintain an international focus, working in partnership with universities, international organisations, policy-makers and government agencies such as UNICEF, IOM and UNHCR.

Our research focusses include the establishment of Independent Child Trafficking Guardians (ICTGs); the lives of young people who seek asylum; human trafficking from Albania, Viet Nam and Nigeria into the UK; and why young people go missing on arrival into the UK.

Forced Migration Social Work with Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants

Forced Migration Webinar Series

In our inaugural series of webinars on Forced Migration, experts in the field of migration and borders will share their knowledge and learning about social work with people impacted by the UK’s immigration regime.

All speakers have a commitment to social justice perspectives, and include:

  • activists;
  • people who have, or are currently, navigating both the immigration and social care system;
  • professionals working in social care and law;
  • social care academics.

The series is organised by Making Research Count in collaboration with the Forced Migration Research Cluster (FMRC) at the University of Bedfordshire, and will take place on the below dates. Places are limited, so remember to book in advance. For more information and booking details, see the flyers below:

The FMRC is committed to engaging in current research surrounding the issues of migration and human displacement across all areas of the University.

A selection of our recent activities

  • Hynes, P. (September 2020),Vulnerability to Human Trafficking and a Framework for Anti-Trafficking Action,Delta 8.7 Knowledge Platform, United Nations University Centre for Policy Research to Alliance 8.7, New York. View at:
  • Wroe, L (2020) Asylum for Sale: Profit and Protest in the Migration Industry
    A new book that explores how immigrants' pathways to refuge are increasingly shaped by neoliberal capitalism. The volume features activists, academics, artists, journalists and writers with firsthand experience of asylum processes and has been hailed by Naomi Klein as "an unparalleled resource". Accessible and engaging, Asylum for Sale is a must-read for anyone interested in current immigration issues. Available to pre-order now at - also available: discount codes [PDF]

  • Wroe, L., Larkin, R. & Maglajlic, R. A. (2019). Social Work with Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants: Theory and Skills for Practice. Jessica Kingsley. Available via:

  • Silverman, J. (2018) Mediating Identity: The West African Diaspora, Conflict and Communication, Journal of Migration & Culture, Vol.9, No.1, p.91-106 [pdf link]

From press releases to podcasts, the FMRC makes a proactive effort to raise awareness about human displacement and forced migration in the wider media.

Perfect Storm of Vulnerability Risks Leads People into Human Trafficking, New Study Finds

26 March, 2019

Vulnerability to human trafficking and modern slavery is influenced by overlapping and interconnected risk factors which cut across individual, household, family, community and structural dynamics, according to a new study. Read press article

Becoming a slave: who's vulnerable to being trafficked? (podcast)

19 February, 2019

Dr Patricia Hynes from the University of Bedfordshire and Patrick Burland, Senior Project Officer for Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery for the UN Migration Agency (IOM) discuss their research which looks to improve understanding of the causes, determinants and ‘vulnerabilities’ to human trafficking as well as the support needs of people from countries who have experienced trafficking into the UK. Read more and listen to podcast

Social Workers Without Borders wins Social Work of the Year Award for Championing Social Work Values

30 November, 2018

Dr Lauren Wroe from the University of Bedfordshire is a Steering Group member and Trustee of Social Workers without Borders, who were the 2018 winners of the Social Work of the Year Awards category, "Championing Social Work Values".Read about the 2018 awards here

Bedfordshire awarded funding to look into causes of human trafficking and how to support victims

29 September, 2017

The University of Bedfordshire has been awarded a grant to research why human trafficking occurs and how we can better support those who have been trafficked into the UK. Read press article

Social Sciences expert highlights plight of refugees at Glastonbury 2017

10 July, 2017

A lecturer in Applied Social Sciences from the University of Bedfordshire took to the fields of Glastonbury to highlight the plight of the world’s refugees. Read press article

Christina Schwabenland is currently researching social enterprises and income generating activities, primarily involving catering and food production established by women’s organisations in Palestinian refugee camps. She has carried out field work in Lebanon and Palestine. Her interests centre on the multiple ways in which these activities can be understood, as carriers of political, cultural and social meanings, and as acts of resistance and solidarity.

Conference papers

  • Schwabenland, C. and Hirst, A. (2019b) ‘Cooking with ghosts’ Standing Conference on Organisational Symbolism (SCOS) York
  • Schwabenland, C. and Hirst, A. (2019a) ‘Cookbooks with attitude: The entangling of food, aesthetics and activism’ International Critical Management Studies Conference Milton Keynes
  • Schwabenland, C. (2018b) ‘Food as art and organization’ Arts and Management in Organization Brighton
  • Schwabenland, C. and Hirst, A. (2018) ‘Soufra: A case study of a women’s social enterprise’ International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR) Amsterdam
  • Schwabenland, C. (2018) ‘Resilience, resistance and recipes’ Gender, Work and Organization Sydney
  • Schwabenland, C. (2017a) ‘Introductory attempts at analysing Palestinian women’s organisations through a hermeneutic lens’ Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism (SCOS) Rome


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