University Institute launches series of webinars about Forced Migration

Thu 17 December, 2020
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Researchers and academics at the University of Bedfordshire are hosting a series of collaborative webinars focusing on Forced Migration, with the first event taking place on Friday 18th December – International Migrants Day.

This first webinar takes place between 2-4pm and will be hosted by Dr Lauren Wroe, Research Fellow at the Institute of Applied Social Research (IASR). The webinar will also serve to relaunch Dr Wroe’s book, ‘Social Work with Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants: Theory and Skills for Practice’.

Organised by Making Research Count (MRC), the series of talks is a joint project with the University’s Forced Migration Research Cluster (FMRC). The webinars will contribute to the FMRC’s commitment to researching human displacement and forced migration, resulting in positive impacts on people’s lives.

UNThis first webinar, ‘Social Work with Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants, will feature speakers and experts from the field of migration and borders who will share their knowledge of social work with people impacted by the UK’s immigration regime. It is being hosted on International Migrants Day  – an annual awareness day from United Nations which aims to raise awareness about the challenges and difficulties of international migration.

Speakers will include activists, people who have previously – or are currently – navigating both the immigration and social care system, professionals of social care and law and social care academics.

Dr Wroe, who is also the co-founder of the charity Social Workers Without Borders, is looking forward to connecting with the book’s co-authors and the event’s audience. She said:

I’m really looking forward to Friday’s event – it will be an opportunity, just over one year on from the launch of our book ‘Social Work with Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants’, to meet again with all of the authors and to share the really impressive depth and breadth of expertise captured in its pages.

The Covid-19 pandemic combined with the visibility and scale of the world-wide Black Lives Matter protests this year, have shone a light on the deep inequalities built into British social and economic policy both inside and outside of our borders. Social workers and other professionals routinely come into contact with people seeking asylum, or with irregular immigration status yet there are very few resources available to support them to navigate this work.

Given that we do this work in a context of unlawful, hostile immigration policies it is of upmost importance that our work is informed, and steeped in social justice values. I hope that this webinar series can stimulate discussions about Forced Migration that counter this hostility and give practitioners confidence to network, resist and provide the care they came into their work to give.

The webinar series is set to run until March 2021, culminating in an event hosted by Dr Patricia Hynes, Reader in Forced Migration at the University, about research into human trafficking from Vietnam, Albania and Nigeria into the UK. Dr Hynes hopes this series of webinars is the first of many. She said:

This is the first series, but not the last!  We already have enquiries about our next series from within and beyond the University and more people are joining the Research Cluster all the time. 

Research into forced migration is important because narratives around populations who are forced to migrate are invariably negative, misrepresent people and rely on myths and stereotypes. We have the opportunity coming out of the pandemic to let go of negative ways of working and alter what the future might look like for people on the move.

For more information about events, research opportunities and projects from IASR, visit:


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