Category Archives: Talks and events

In Tbilisi

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[More pictures at the end of the post]

From the Georgian State Commission on Migration:

Academic Conference on Migrants Integration Held in Tbilisi

Conf 1

On 8-9 February 2018, an international conference “Dialogue on Migrants’ Integration – Challenges, Benefits and Good Practices” was held in Tbilisi, co-organised by SCMI Secretariat and ICMPD. The conference brought together local and international practitioners, policymakers and scholars to discuss best practices and lessons learned with regard to the integration of migrants within the EU Member States and in EaP area, substantiated by the global migration processes of the last decade and increasing need to agree upon and develop well-thought integration policy and practices in destination countries.

The conference was opened by the Deputy Minister of Justice of Georgia who focused on the existing framework of migration management and the planned steps of involved state ministries – members of the SCMI to develop the immigrant integration policy in Georgia. A keynote speech on migration and integration was given by Dr. Christian Joppke, University of Bern, while the next day started with the lecture on the general integration framework by Dr. Ben Gidley from the University of London, and continued with panel discussions involving Georgian policymakers, practitioners and international experts around certain aspects of integration such as structural integration (access to the labour market, education, and health care), social and cultural integration, and immigrant integration indicators. The presented topics were discussed in a comparative manner by analyzing and assessing practical samples by applying an academic viewpoint. Continue reading

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MONITOR Event Report: UK Houses of Parliament – Islamophobia & Antisemitism

From Monitor:

In 2017, antisemitism and Islamophobia were, along with other racisms, on the rise around the world. In Charlottesville in the United States, far-right militants marched chanting against the world Jewish conspiracy. In Myanmar, Muslims fled for their lives to Bangladesh. In the UK and Europe, these racisms also continue to flourish. But are they connected? In the aftermath of 9/11, controversy has raged about whether Islamophobia is the new antisemitism.

MONITOR chose this pressing issue for its first public event. The location: the UK’s Houses of Parliament, hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism.

The magazine aims to bring cutting-edge research into global public debate, and this collaboration was the ideal place to start. The Editor, Monica Gonzalez Correa, flew in especially from Florence.

[READ THE REST]

Podcast:


Video: On my Monitor parliamentary event report on Islamophobia and antisemitism

This is a trailer for my article in the new website Monitor:

Follow the Monitor YouTube channel.


Symposium: Bordering, everyday racism and the ‘hostile environment’ – 21 February: The Academy of Social Sciences Study Group on Refugees, Migration and Settlement

An Academy of Social Sciences event I am involved in organising:

February 21 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Birkbeck College, Malet St, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7HX, (Room TBA)

Les Back and Shamser Sinha, Goldsmiths University of London:  The politics of waiting: Migration, dead time and freer life

Ben Gidley, Birkbeck University of London: Everyday racism and migration: Researching the material and affective impacts of xeno-racism

Ann Phoenix, Thomas Coram Research Unit UCL: Children, epistemic violence and migration

Chair: Floya Anthias, University of East London

 

To book seats: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bordering-everyday-racism-and-the-hostile-environment-tickets-42528711521

Abstracts and biographical notes 

Les Back and Shamser Sinha: The politics of waiting: Migration, dead time and freer life
 This paper examines how understanding migration involves an appreciation of the experience of time in an unfolding life. The debate about belonging is so often coded around those who are seen to ‘really belong’ because they and their kin have put ‘time into’ society.  Migrants by contrast are viewed as itinerant and passing through.  Drawing on research conducted with thirty adult migrants in London over the past ten years we explore the politics of time in the context of the contemporary debate about migration.  We argue that hierarchies of belonging are also accompanied by an ordering of the migrants’ relationship to time. We focus in particular on the experience of waiting as an existential straightjacket that restrains and comes to define life in the migrant city. Through the experiences of our participants we develop an analysis of the temporal-straight jackets or time traps that are produced within the immigration system.  We show how participants in this study struggle to break free from these limitations through developing ‘vitalising strategies’ that help them move out of dead time and a future that is confined by a sense of their lives being ‘on hold’.
Les Back teaches sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. His work attempts to create a sensuous or live sociology committed to searching for new modes of sociological writing and representation. This approach is outlined in his book The Art of Listening (Berg 2007). He also writes journalism and has made documentary films. He has juts completed a book about the experience of young adult migrants in London with Shamser Sinha called Migrant City (published by Routledge later this year).  This book is attempts a sociable sociology that re-design social observation so that participants not only observe their own lives but also become credited authors too.

Ben Gidley: Everyday racism and migration: Researching the material and affective impacts of xeno-racism
This paper explores how social scientists can understand the relationship between public policies and discourses on migration, public attitudes towards migrants and minorities, and everyday experiences of exclusion and conviviality, using the concept of “xeno-racism”, as developed by the late Ambalavaner Sivanandan. The paper will draw on fieldwork in inner South London, and focus in particular on what we can learn from psychosocial and ethnographic approaches.
Ben Gidley is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck, University of London. Previously, he worked at the ESRC Centre for Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford. His most recent book is Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Europe: A Shared History? with James Renton. Continue reading


Florence event: Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Europe

NYU Florence:

Oct 26, 2017 / 18:00 – 19:00 / VILLA SASSETTI

Are today´s Muslims Europe’s “new Jews”? Is Islamophobia the same as, or an aspect of, Antisemitism? Controversy over this question has raged over the last decade or so. From a historical point of view, is there a dynamic relationship between Antisemitism and Islamophobia and, if so, how has it evolved over time and space? Religion, empire, nation-building and war, they have all played their part in the complex evolution of this relationship. What does Europe have to say about the fact that Jews and Arabs were once called Semites, but are now widely thought to be on two different sides of the “War on Terror”?

Historian James Renton and the EU Coordinator on Combatting Antisemitism, Katharina von Schnurbein, will debate the relationship btween the two racisms and Europe’s response to it.

Moderated by Marcella Simoni, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Moderator


Islamophobia and Antisemitism in Christian Europe: an Intertwined History

Pears Institute Lunchtime Seminar

Speaker: Ben Gidley, Birkbeck, University of London
Date: Tue, Oct. 10, 2017
Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Venue: Birkbeck, University of London
Free event for scholars: Email pearsinstitute@bbk.ac.uk for further information.
Details: This paper, drawing on a newly published book edited by James Renton and Ben Gidley, explores the changing ways the figures of the Jew and the Muslim have been used to mark the borders of European identity – an identity that remains normatively Christian despite a rhetorical drift to secularism, the “Judeo-Christian” or the multifaith. The paper argues that these two figures have been constitutive outsiders shaping what Europe is. Both forms of racialisation have mutated over time and in different parts of the continent, and understanding this, the paper argues, requires a rigorously comparative and rigorously diachronic perspective. Each form of racialisation has occurred independently of the other, but more often they have taken on meaning in relation to each other, and so analysing both anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim racism is enhanced through case studies which excavate their relationship

Migrant Cartographies

On May 12 at Goldsmiths:

Goldsmiths Sociology Department's photo.
MAY12

Migrant Cartographies: Cities, Circuits and Circulations

Public

Cities are in part constituted in myriad enactments of migrant presence which generate urban dialectics of self-and-city composition. Cities also condense many of the challenges we face in migration in the generation and navigation of local circuits composed through forms of social provision, distributions of opportunities and social goods, labour markets and so on, making cities a crucial scale for the research and analysis of transnational migrant mobility. Circulations of transnational migrants within and between cities articulate other circulations – of money, objects and various forms of property – providing a challenge in thinking about the ways in which these circuits might be connected.

This symposium intends an interrogation of cities through the transnational mobilities co-composing them. It aims to develop a conversation among scholars of migration, mobility and urbanism reflecting on, developing and refining some of the conceptual categories we use in our research. It invites interrogation of transnational urbanism’s underlying logics and theoretical frameworks in concepts like circuit, migrant, city, mobility, migrant journeys, trajectories and circulations.
Continue reading


Humanity at Sea

I recently spoke at this event at the Columbia Global Center in Paris:

Humanity at Sea Maritime Migration and the Foundations of International Law, 1945-2015

Below the fold, a video of the event. At some point I’ll post the text of what I said.

photo Roni Horn

Photo: Roni Horn

February 8, 2017

This lecture will attempt to connect the dots between the current “refugee crisis” and several of its relevant historical precedents: actions of Jewish migrants to Palestine after WWII, Vietnamese ‘boatpeople’, Haitian refugees seeking to reach Florida, and Middle Eastern migrants and refugees bound to Australia. Through its engagement with history, the talk will outline a novel theory of human rights modelled around an encounter between individuals in which one of the parties is at great risk.

Continue reading


ETHNOGRAPHIC ENCOUNTERS | 3 FEBRUARY | BISR

Ethnographic Encounters  – A One-Day Colloquium
Birkbeck Institute for Social Research

Starts 03 February 2017 – 10:00
Finishes 03 February 2017 – 16:00
Venue Birkbeck, University of London, London WC1B 5DQ
Payment and booking required
In this age of migration, social life – and especially urban social life – is increasingly shaped by patterns of globalisation and mobility that give rise to increasingly complex forms of diversity and inequality. Understanding encounters across proliferating lines of difference is therefore a vital challenge to social research. Such encounters occur in multiple domains, in particular in everyday life, and in specific spaces, especially in cities. In this context, urban space is linked or hyperlinked to several culturally and spatially non-proximate elsewheres, even for those whose everyday geography is intensely local, cramped. And small spaces contain multiple, incommensurable linguistic registers – as signs, messages and meanings travel – creating ever more complex configurations at the nano scale. People moving through this landscape need to learn to translate, much as ethnographers do – opening up ethical, political and also epistemological dilemmas.

Ethnography, with its granular attention to everyday lived experience, to the social meanings attached to the different elements of difference, and to the spaces which shape these – with its focus on what people do when they come together – offers the best vantage point for understanding encounters across lines of difference. But ethnography itself is also a form of encounter. This colloquium explores the ethical and epistemological issues arising in the ethnographic research encounter. It asks what are the limits to the forms of knowledge generated in the ethical encounter? What tools can be used to stretch these limits?

Confirmed Speakers:

Ben Rampton – Linguistic Ethnography and Intercultural Encounter
Ben has worked within applied and social linguistics to both ground linguistics in ethnographic observation and develop forms of ethnography that are able to attend to micro- or nano-level patterns of linguistic exchange, focusing on contexts (including the classroom and inner city streets) of intensified ethnic and linguistic diversity.

Sami Everett – Phenomenological ethnography, multi-lingual fieldsites and traffic in material cultureè
Sami is a researcher at the Woolf Institute in Cambridge, working ethnographically in Barbès, Paris, on the role of trust in religiously diverse urbanism. He previously worked on the multiple dimensions of Parisian Jewish identification to North Africa. His research practice has involved multi-lingual ethnography in complex settings, and tracking how intercultural and interreligious encounter is mediated through localised market relations.

Ruth Sheldon – Ethics and Neighbourly Encounters
Ruth is a sociologist and postdoctoral researcher in DPS working on the Dangoor Foundation “Ethical Monotheism” project. Her new book, Tragic Encounters, is an ethnographic exploration of Jewish-Muslim relations among students, while her current research explores the ethics of neighbourly encounters in Hackney.

Rachel Humphris – Ethnographies of Home Encounters
Rachel is an anthropologist. She completed her DPhil student at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Oxford and is now a researcher at the Institute for the Study of Superdiversity (IRiS) in Birmingham whose ethnographic work living with Romanian Roma families in Luton explored the concept of the “home level bureaucrat” and the “home encounter” between the local neoliberal state and migrant mothers.

Mette Louise Berg and Simon Rowe – Collaborative Visual Ethnography of Superdiversity
Mette is an anthropologist and a Senior Lecturer at in the Thomas Coram Research Unite at UCL IoE, who has worked on Cuban migrants in urban Europe and more recently on a collaborative ethnographic research project in Elephant and Castle, alongside ethnographic photographer Simon Rowe.

 

This event is open to all, but places are limited. Registration and payment are essential
£35 Standard | £25 Birkbeck Staff | £15 All Students & Unwaged

Book your place

If you cannot afford the fee, please get in touch with the BISR Manager, Madisson Brown, on bisr@bbk.ac.uk

Organiser: Dr Ben Gidley, Birkbeck, University of London

This Colloquium is supported by the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research, a hub for the dissemination and discussion of social research in London and beyond.

Contact name:

Redefining Integration

I spoke recently at a Runnymede Trust event “Redefining Integration“.

 

Here is a blogpost about it by Lester Holloway:

As Dame Louise Casey’s report throws the definition of integration into sharp relief, to a mixed chorus of unbridled gleeful and concerned criticism, Runnymede Communications Coordinator Lester Holloway looks back at our timely Redefining Integration conference last week.
With Donald Trump the president-elect of America, Brexit in Britain and the threat of the far right National Front winning the French presidency, what is the role of integration today? That was one of the questions debated by an experienced panel of academics and thought leaders at Redefining Integration.
The central focus for debate was how we define integration and its role in bringing communities together. You can watch a video (15 mins) here.

Photogallery on Facebook


Migrant Metropolis

When:  14 Sep 2016 – 18:3020:30

Where:

Autograph ABP – Rivington Place, London, EC2A 3BA

An evening of film, photography, radio, theatre and debate on how the movement of people is shaping our city. 

Organised by Migrants Right Network.

Stories of arrival, belonging, struggle and longing that prompt us to reflect on what it takes to be an open and inclusive city, told by some of our favourite artists, writers and activists.

With the participation of:

  • Alia Syed, experimental filmmaker and artist. Alia’s work proposes an ongoing investigation of the nature and role of language in intercultural communication, with a focus on borders and boundaries, translation and the trans-cultured self.
  • Kavita Puri, Editor, BBC Our World. Presenter of BBC Radio 4’s award-winning series Three Pounds in My Pocket, that tells the stories of the pioneering migrants who came to Britain from the Indian subcontinent in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Anthony Lam, a photographic artist whose work examines and explores notions and (un)realities of boundaries and borders.
  • Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi, reporter and writer that exposes the impact of government policy on ordinary lives. Writer in residence Lacuna Magazine, shortlisted for the George Orwell Prize for Politcal Writing 2012 & 2015.
  • Amina Gichinga, Music educator and community activist with Take Back the City, former City & East London Assembly Take Back our City candidate.
  • Ben Gidley, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychosocial Studies, University of Birbeck. Ben’s ethnographic research focuses on the question of how we live together with difference in urban settings.
  •  Inua Ellams,  award winning poet, playwright and performer. Identity, displacement and destiny are recurring themes in his work.

There will be a drinks reception after the event to continue the conversation.

FREE. Register here


Integration, Disadvantage and Extremism: parliamentary report launch

Yesterday, the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism hosted a parliamentary launch of our report on integration, disadvantage and extremism, edited by David Feldman and me. David and I presented the report to the integration minister, Stephen Williams MP, and a small audience of MPs,  lords and officials. The event was chaired by John Mann MP. The report was published in May by the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism and COMPAS.

Here is the text of what I said.

My job today is to say a few words about the recommendations made in this report. David finished on the importance of the role of central government in promoting and shaping integration in the UK. Running through our recommendations is a commitment to two related principles: the responsibility of leadership in combating extremism and the importance of evidence in making policy.

One of the central recommendations of the report, therefore, is listening to the grievances that drive intolerance in our society. The evidence collected in this report shows that grievances relating to disadvantage provide fertile ground for intolerance and division. To combat intolerance, therefore, we need to understand and address its social contexts.

For instance, Oxford sociologist Professor Anthony Heath shows that disengagement from the British mainstream is a function of what he calls the “integration paradox”: This paradox sees not Muslim migrants, but their objectively more “integrated” British-born children, becoming more sensitive to the inequalities of opportunity facing them in British society. Similarly, Vidhya Ramalingam, in collecting the evidence on far right extremism, shows that the appeal of the far right is not necessarily to the most disadvantaged among the white working class, but to those who are socially integrated in their communities but feel left behind by a rapidly changing Britain and distrustful of authority. We make a mistake, therefore, if we simply dismiss as ‘prejudiced’ those who are drawn to racist and extremist programmes – whether among the white or Muslim populations – as if they are fantasists. Rather we should see them, in general, as responding to real problems but with the wrong answers.

This points to a second key recommendation too: the importance of a whole community approach to integration, led by national government, to re-engage with those feeling left behind or disengaged. Not by targeting ‘problem’ minorities – an approach which reproduces the flaws of a divisive state multiculturalism: stigmatising groups, driving grievances and competition, promoting division over cohesion. But instead by calibrating mainstream policy levers towards ensuring that no group is left out of a concern for social mobility and social justice. For example, it is not integration policy but housing and schools policy that will stop a drift towards segregation where it occurs; it is not integration policy but employment policy that will reduce the growing gaps in employment outcomes across the population.

As MPs know from their constituencies, integration – or a lack of it – is experienced at a local level, on the streets of Britain’s towns and cities. But a national strategy is critical if we are to have any chance of overcoming the barriers to integration that create the conditions in which extremism festers. A national strategy isn’t necessarily about a new national funding programme. A national strategy is settingout detailed, concrete, substantive actions – for example, to narrow gaps in socio-economic and educational outcomes, or to eliminate segregation in schools and neighbourhoods, or to build a shared civic culture – but also a coherent methodology for measuring progress based on robust data: such a smart approach is the only cost-effective approach to doing social policy in a time of austerity. Again: the responsibility of leadership, grounded in evidence-based policy-making.

A third recommendation to put this responsibility into effect is around the way we communicate these issues. The kinds of grievances which give rise to softer forms of racism are often driven by inflamed discourse, by debates based on perceptions and assertions rather than facts. To this end, we all have a responsibility to promote evidence-based, balanced and open discussion and debate. This means finding a way to re-engage communities while using language that does not alienate, but rather speaks to their concerns about fairness, equality and justice: not lecturing about prejudice or common values, not dismissing grievances as “bigoted”, for example, but instead addressing their substance.

This approach builds on the record of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, which has worked to develop guidelines on electoral conduct and on hate speech in campuses.

In widening the focus from antisemitism to other forms of intolerance and extremism, this might mean, for instance, taking care in the use of numbers – inaccurate presentation of information leads to divisive debates and bad policy-making.

It might mean avoiding terms such as ‘native population’ – which can obscure the contribution and strong British identification of long-settled minority populations and conflate nationality with ethnicity.

And it might mean avoiding speaking of Britain’s diverse population as if it is composed of discrete and homogenous entities – ‘Muslim communities’ or ‘white working class communities’ – given that similarities across and differences within such communities are often at least as significant. Such terms, in failing to recognise the diversity and range of voices and positions within such populations, also fail to address the real structures of disadvantage that shape their experiences.

Addressing these structures of grievance is the best – the only – way to take forward the imperative to tackle all forms of intolerance in our society.


EU-MIA Seminar in Brussels 7 May

The EU-MIA project will be Presenting its Research Findings

EU-MIA
Following the Academy which took place in February 2014 in Turin, ITC-ILO, in partnership with COMPAS and FIERI, will be organizing an EU-MIA seminar on 7 May 2014 in Brussels.
 

The 7 May seminar will present the concrete results of the project as well as give the floor to stakeholders that the EU-MIA team met throughout the duration of the project. This event will also serve as a catalyst to diffuse and encourage innovative city-to-city cooperation at the European level.

Officials from local institutions dealing with social integration of migrant communities, as well as practitioners, researchers and representatives of associations and NGOs dealing with local integration are invited to join the seminar by registering on-line.

 The specific objectives of the seminar are:
  • To present EU-MIA’s outcomes and the conclusions of the field research that was conducted by the project experts and stakeholders (10 ‘functioning practices’)
  • To present and distribute the EU-MIA informative toolbox that has been developed in order to enhance the dissemination of innovative practices
  • To share experiences through the testimony of participants who attended the Academy and their presentation of innovative project proposal which were designed during EU-MIA
  • Exchanging views and reflecting within a panel of discussion about innovative city-to-city cooperation on migrant integration
To view the seminar agenda, please [click here].
Bâtiment Jacques Delors Thanks to the kind cooperation of the Committee of Regions, the seminar will take place at its offices, Bâtiment Jacques Delors, Rue Belliard 99-101, Brussels.
[Find the address on Google Maps]
To view the EU-MIA project flyer, please [click here].
To register on-line, please [click here].
COMPAS EU-MIA webpage [here].
EU-MIA on the COMPAS blog: [here]
Previous EU-MIA blogposts at 171bus: for the EU-MIA academy; Visby fieldnotes.
Twitter hashtag: #EUMIA

For more information, please contact: migration@itcilo.org


Turning the Tide? Deptford regeneration event 25 April

This event is being organised by the Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR) as part of its twentieth anniversary, inaugurating a series of events that range from crime in urban Brazil to the global travel of flip-flops to the future of urban art.

Programme:
3.30 – 5.30 Seminar: The changing face of “regeneration” in London
Short initial interventions by: Alison Rooke, Michael Keith, Heidi Seetzen, Rob Imrie, Luna Glucksberg
5.30 – 6.00 Screenings and sound intervention: Creative Responses to Urban Change in Deptford (food and drinks provided)
6.00 – 8.00 Workshop: 21 Years of Urban Regeneration in Deptford
Short provocations by: Ben Gidley, Jess Steele, Jessica Leech, Neil Transpontine, and Joe Montgomery
Followed by roundtable discussions:
– Creative Deptford: arts, culture and regeneration
– Housing and neighbourhood
– DIY Deptford: regeneration from below?
– Convoys Wharf: regeneration or land grab?
– The changing face of Deptford: migration, identity, diversity and generation

CUCR blog link | Hashtags: #ttt21 #cucr20 | Email to register: f.calafate AT gold.ac.uk

The following day, the Radical Housing Network’s Housing Weekender will be in Lewisham.


The Athens Workshop: Global Migration and the Right to the Cities of the Future

The athens workshopHere is the programme of the Athens Workshop: Global Migration and the Right to the Cities of the Future, 7th of December 2012 (10.00-13.00 Presentations, 14.00- 15.30 Open Discussion), Harokopio University, El. Venizelou 70, Kallithea, Athens

– Prof. Michael Keith (Director of COMPAS, University of Oxford) – Migration and the rights to the city: rethinking the urban basis of integration
– Dr. Ben Gidley (Senior Researcher, COMPAS) – The changing face of the European city: Global migration, economic crisis, neighbourhood change and spatial exclusion
– Prof. T. Maloutas (EKKE National Centre of Social Research & Harokopio University) – Immigration, segregation and gentrification in Athens since the early 1990s.
-Ass. Prof. Apostolos Papadopoulos (Harokopio University) – African Migrants at the centre of Athens
– Dr. Vassilis Arapoglou (Department of sociology, University of Crete) – Governing the in-cohesive city: From basic assumptions to democratic passions.

Thanks to George Mavrommatis for co-organising

 


Gefilte fish and syndicalism

From the website of Donnacha DeLong’s The Circled A show on Resonance FM:

Commemorating the strikes of 1912 meeting On 23 May, the Jewish Socialists’ Group held a meeting in the library of the Bishopsgate Institute to discuss the history and continuing relevance of the 1912 tailor’s strike, inspired by Rudolf Rocker. The meeting covered the history of unionism in the East End, including the Docks, the history of the rag trade and sweatshops, the strike in 1912 and what it can teach the contemporary trade union movement. The meeting was chaired by David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialists and included talks by Ben Gidley, senior researcher at Compas at Oxford University working on East End Jewish radical history, and Donnacha DeLong, President of the National Union of Journalists.

File 1: David Rosenberg opens the meeting

Part 01 rocker event intro

File 2: Ben Gidley talks about the history of the unions in East London and the history of the rag trade

Part 02 rocker event ben gidley

File 3: Donnacha DeLong talks about the broader context of the strike and its relevance for contemporary trade unionism

03 rocker event donnacha delong

File 4: Audience Q&A

Part 04 rocker event Q and A

UPDATE: Versions of mine and Donnacha’s talks have since been published in Jewish Socialist magazine.


Localism and Migration

I spoke at the annual conference of the Northern Ireland Strategic Migration last week, at Newtownabbey, Belfast. I can think of few events where I have felt more welcomed – thanks to the Northern Ireland Local Government Agency for organising this great event. This is from the Partnership’s website (with my bit at the bottom):

The first conference of the Northern Ireland Strategic Migration Partnership was held on the 19th of April, 2012 in Mossley Mill in Newtownabbey. Attendees came from the voluntary, community and statutory sectors to discuss the importance of immigration issues being explored at a local level. The beginning of the day explored the potential of the Northern Ireland Strategic Migration Partnership to help emphasise and address the specific regional needs of Northern Ireland in regards to immigration and integration, while the afternoon sessions featured specific actions on how the Partnership, the statutory and voluntary sectors can collaborate and cooperate to promote integration and support migrants. Continue reading


Secularism, Racism and the Politics of Belonging

My paper “Faith Communities and Racism: Some Reflections from the Anglo-Jewish Experience” has been included in the newly publication by the Runnymede Trust“Runnymede Perspectives: Secularism, Racism and the Politics of Belonging”.

This publication is a collection of papers that were presented at conferences in 2010 and 2011 co-organized by the Runnymede Trust and CMRB – the Centre for Research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging at the University of East London. The contributors address issues of migration, racism and religion. The publication is edited by Professor Nira Yuval-Davis and Professor Philip Marfleet, University of East London.

Read the Conference Report by Mary Sutton. Listen to an embarrassing mp3 of my oral presentation. And even more embarrassing  youtube of my paper, part 1 and 2.


Meeting a princess

So, I met HRH Princess Anne, the patron of NIACE. Here’s how the COMPAS website reported it.

Ben Gidley speaks to HRH Princess Anne on citizenship

12 December 2011

On 8 December Ben Gidley spoke at the NIACE event ‘Making a difference: Learning for citizenship in the 21st century’ in the presence of HRH Princess Anne.

The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) conference highlighted the role of learning – both formal and informal – in shaping how and why we can become active citizens in the 21st century.

Drawing on the perspectives of learners, practitioners, policy makers and researchers, the conference explored what it means to ‘participate’ as a citizen, examining the types of learning that foster civic activity, social networking, political processes and community life.

Ben Gidley, one of seven speakers, presented on “Who are the UK’s new citizens?”, presenting research conducted with Birkbeck, University of London on the Integration and Citizenship project. The research surveyed a large sample of people who applied for British citizenship last year, and conducted in-depth follow-up interviews with some of them.The research explored their journey from arrival to settlement to citizenship, their experiences of the naturalisation process (including the Life in the UK test), and their integration in terms of social interaction, local belonging and feelings of Britishness.

The event was attended by HRH Princess Anne, who is patron of NIACE.

Chris Taylor of NIACE was a particularly helpful member of our advisory board for the Integration and Citizenship project, which was funded by the European Union.


Report: Ethnography, diversity and urban space

My colleague Mette Berg’s COMPAS blog post on the conference we recently held. Extract:

The intensification of global flows in the current period has led scholars to describe cities like London as ‘super-diverse’: a ‘diversification of diversity’, with a population characterised by multiple ethnicities, countries of origin, immigration statuses, and age profiles (Vertovec 2007). Last week about 70 scholars, students and policy analysts from across Europe, North America, the UK, and Japan convened in Oxford to discuss the implications of super-diversity for ethnographic research, and for the ways in which we conceptualise urban space.

While multi-sited ethnography is now well established, enabling ethnographers to study mobile people across multiple locations, there have been relatively few attempts to research multiple migrant communities sharing specific locations. We – the conference organisers (Mette Louise BergBen GidleyVanessa HughesNando Sigona) – wondered how we can develop the methodological tools required to achieve this.

Ethnography, both in the anthropological and sociological traditions, has tended to prefer long-term immersion in discrete, bounded ethnic communities – a model that is increasingly problematic in the context of super-diversity. In terms of urban space, we wanted to understand how emerging forms of multiculture are structured in and by urban space, and how urban space is structured in and by the multiplication of diversity.[…]