On Wednesday 28 August 2019, Samantha Carney (Edge Hill University) participated in the Royal Geographical Society’s annual international conference. Held in London at RGS’ base and across several sites at Imperial College London, the 4-day event brought together academics, educators and practitioners around the theme of ‘Geographies of trouble/Geographies of hope’. With regards to the current immigration context, not only in the UK but further afield, there is a clear overlap between what is unfolding and the theme of Geographies of trouble/Geographies of hope. On a global scale, the anti-migrant rhetoric and actions of world leaders, set against acts of resistance, such as the rescue of migrant boats, give insight into the tension between spaces of trouble and hope. Within the UK, in light of an increasingly hostile immigration environment, there is the opportunity to think about geographies of trouble/hope, not only in terms of the nation state but also at a more local level, for example in the way in which UK cities respond to the dispersal of asylum seekers.

During the conference, responding to the applicability of this theme to migration, there were many insightful papers around such topics as forced migration and borders, exploring, for example, the concepts of discretion and (in)visibility. As well as engaging in interesting discussions around this theme, Samantha was able to present the findings of her PhD fieldwork carried out in Liverpool as part of a panel entitled Geographies of Welcome. Presenting her paper, “Living with difference in a ‘welcoming’ city”, Samantha contributed to an ongoing conversation between academics about the concept of welcome and its potential within the context of the hostile environment. In her paper, Samantha spoke about narratives of welcome in Liverpool and the way in which these narratives can be seen to inform the everyday practices of living with difference in the city.

For more information read Samantha’s PhD research.