Young Migration Researchers

Meet our migration PhD researchers, GTAs and MRes students, and our alumni migration researchers.

Migration PhD researchers, GTAs and MRes students

Din Havolli

Leave to Remain: The Short Story Cycle and Representing the Unrepresentable.

Din is a first year Creative Writing PhD student whose research investigates the juncture between the short story cycle form and migrant writing. It explores how the possibilities presented in the dichotomies of the form are effectively utilised by writers engaging with postcolonial trauma theory.

Din is a first year Creative Writing PhD student whose research has been made possible by a GTA studentship. His research investigates the juncture between the short story cycle form and migrant writing. It explores the possibilities presented in the dichotomies of the form and how these are effectively utilised by writers engaging with postcolonial trauma theory. This research will be utilised alongside a creative component, an original short story collection titled ‘Leave to Remain’.

Ellen Liptrot

The Educational Experiences of Asylum-Seeking and Refugee Children in the Northwest of England

Ellen Liptrot’s current research aims to further identify the barriers to learning for refugee children through a comparative study within educational settings. She is also aiming to consider how wider contexts and current trends call for social and racial equality and influence both policy and practice.

I am currently undertaking my MRes in affiliation with the Department of Social Sciences at Edge Hill University. Prior to this, I completed my BA (Hons) in Teaching, Learning and Child Development at Edge Hill, wherein my dissertation explored the post-migration barriers to learning for refugee children within a Primary School. My interest in this stems from the portrayal of migrants, particularly asylum-seekers and refugees, within the media and my involvement in voluntary work with refugee and asylum-seeking families.

My current research aims to further identify the barriers to learning for refugee children through a comparative study within educational settings. It also seeks to consider how wider contexts and current trends, such as the Black Lives Matter protests and calls for social and racial equality, in addition to the COVID-19 climate impact the integration and inclusion of refugee children within education and its influence on both policy and practice. With this, the research aims to extend practitioner knowledge around supporting refugee children within education.

Leona Forde

Exploring the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers once they have arrived in the United Kingdom

Leona previously studied for her undergraduate degree in Sociology at Edge Hill and decided to continue her studies as part of the MRes programme that is offered at the university. Leona’s current research interests focus on matters relating to immigration, ethnicity and identity. Her MRes research focuses on the experiences of refugees once they have been resettled in the UK. It seeks to provide further detail on the social and structural factors that influence the experience of resettlement.

My research is being carried out as part of the Department of Social Sciences at Edge Hill University. I had previously studied my undergraduate degree in Sociology at Edge Hill and decided to continue my studies as part of the MRes programme that is offered at the university. My current research interests focus on matters relating to immigration, ethnicity and identity. I have produced various types of work on these topics during my undergraduate degree, most notably my dissertation on media representations of race and immigration in the UK in relation to the European Union Referendum.

My MRes research focuses on the experiences of refugees once they have been resettled in the UK. It seeks to provide further detail on the social and structural factors that influence the experience of resettlement. My interest in this field stems from previous work and the growing presence of issues regarding immigration, refugees and asylum seekers in politics and the media. The growing representation of ethnic minority groups in the media can have numerous positive and negative impacts. Most significantly, it has made issues regarding immigration prominent in day-to-day social situations and also political discussions. Therefore my current research aims to address the impact this might have had on the experiences of those resettling in the UK.

Katia Adimora

Mexican immigration to the US in contemporary American politics

Katia’s research project explores Mexican immigration to the US during Donald Trump’s presidency. Corpus Linguistics methodology is employed to analyse big corpora of the US and Mexican press.

I came to Edge Hill University in 2017 where I taught Spanish Language before assuming the role of Graduate Teaching Assistant in 2021.

Beforehand, I had completed my master’s degree in Spanish Linguistics at the University of Ljubljana and National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), where I had conducted research with the grant awarded by the Mexican Government.

My research project explores Mexican immigration to the US during Donald Trump’s presidency. Corpus Linguistics methodology is employed to analyse big corpora of the US and Mexican press.

Email Graduate Teaching Assistant, Katia.


Alumni migration researchers

Samantha Carney

Everyday Multiculturalism and the experience of refugee settlement: A case study of Liverpool, UK

Samantha Carney is affiliated with the Department of Social Sciences. Her PhD has been funded by Edge Hill’s RITA GTA scheme (2017-2020); the scheme allows her the opportunity to undertake funded doctoral research whilst gaining experience with teaching within the University.

Samantha Carney is affiliated with the Department of Social Sciences. Her PhD has been funded by Edge Hill’s RITA GTA scheme (2017-2020); the scheme allows her the opportunity to undertake funded doctoral research whilst gaining experience with teaching within the University. She responded to a call on projects that explored the links between discourse, policy and practice in relation to the way that the UK responds to refugees. Having spent the previous year studying for a Master’s degree (Liverpool Hope University) that involved researching community faith-based initiatives supporting refugees in Liverpool, she was eager to continue to focus on both Liverpool and the community for her doctoral research.

Her PhD research explores experiences of, and reactions to, refugee settlement in Liverpool.  The research draws from the theoretical perspective of ‘Everyday Multiculturalism’ seeking to explore the extent to which, through the settlement of refugees, an urban ‘multiculture’ is emerging in the city. Everyday Multiculturalism is a useful framework for this study because it provides a way of understanding the lived experience of refugee settlement and how, through everyday practices, encounters and interactions at a local level, multiculturalism can potentially be built from the bottom-up.

When she decided to do a PhD Samantha was keen on research that would have an impact into local communities. Through this research she hopes to be able to engage with refugees, residents, community organisations, charities and local leaders allowing her to facilitate the sharing of knowledge across different groups whilst improving the capacity of refugees and residents to have a voice into local initiatives.

This research will make an important contribution to knowledge about the response to refugees in the UK, alongside an understanding of how the wider national and global context plays out in the day to day experiences of refugees and residents in 5 areas of Liverpool. Given the limited availability of data and the relative absence of Liverpool in the literature, it is hoped that this research can make an empirical contribution to the gaps in knowledge around the experience of refugee settlement in Liverpool. It also aims to make a theoretical contribution to our understanding of lived diversity through the application of ‘Everyday Multiculturalism’ in a city in the process of diversifying and opening up.

Niroshan Ramachandran

Asylum Seekers and Refugees’ Perceptions and Experiences of Social Protection Services in the UK: the case of Liverpool and Glasgow

Niroshan is a first year PhD student in the Department of Social Sciences. I am enthusiastic to be part of Edge Hill University RITA GTA scheme (2017-2020) because it provides an opportunity to improve both my research and academic career. Formerly, I worked for Catholic Relief Services (CRS), International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and ZOA International in Sri Lanka to support refugees, return migrants, irregular migrants and internally displaced people.

Niroshan is a first year PhD student in the Department of Social Sciences. I am enthusiastic to be part of Edge Hill University RITA GTA scheme (2017-2020) because it provides an opportunity to improve both my research and academic career. Formerly, I worked for Catholic Relief Services (CRS), International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and ZOA International in Sri Lanka to support refugees, return migrants, irregular migrants and internally displaced people. Having spent my professional career supporting migrants, I realised my passion goes towards working for vulnerable people. As a result, I carried out my Master’s degree research in the UK (University of Lincoln, Jan-Jun 2016) on the experiences of social workers working with asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. It was completed as a partial requirement of the Erasmus Mundus MA Advanced Development in Social Work degree (Sep 2014 – Jul 2016). Moreover, I personally believe in social change and shared responsibility to support vulnerable communities, therefore, my PhD research focuses on asylum seekers’ and refugees’ perceptions and experiences of the formal social protection in Glasgow and Liverpool.

Currently, harsh migration controls, anti-immigrant policies and restrictions on service provision are challenging asylum seekers’ and refugees’ access to formal social protection in the host countries. In the UK, several new policies have also been promoted to regulate the social protection services for asylum seekers and refugees. Hence, the extent to which the formal social protection for refugees and asylum seekers is achieved in the UK needs to be understood and examined. This research will examine two main questions: How does formal social protection function in a restricted environment to provide support for asylum seekers and refugees? How do asylum seekers and refugees perceive and experience formal social protection support provided by the service providers?

In this qualitative research, focus group discussions, semi-structured interview, participant observation and field note will be used as data collection methods. Asylum seekers, refugees and key informants from Glasgow and Liverpool will be identified as the participants of this research. This research adopted a predominant focus on the perceptions and experiences of asylum seekers and refugees, as it will be beneficial in exploring and examining the contemporary struggles within the restricted resource environment in the UK. However, it will also include key informants to explain their point of views that are attached to the experiences of asylum seekers and refugees. A triangulated approach in this research will help to understand the full picture and/or provide detailed insights into different dimensions in the formal social protection.

Loreen Chikwira

Gender, Culture and Belonging in a Contested Space: Zimbabwean Women in the UK

“I am a final year, part-time PhD student in the Department of Social Sciences. My research study is on gender, culture, and ethnicity intersections in how Zimbabwean women construct their identities and navigate personal and social spaces in the UK”.

Patrick Soulsby

The Legacies of Colonialism and the Final Solution: An Intellectual History of British and French anti-racist memory culture c. 1980-2000

“My thesis explores the various ways in which memory cultures (particularly of the Holocaust and British/French colonialism) manifest, develop and are expressed by anti-racist movements on both sides of the Channel. To what extent is memory used as part of anti-racist activism and how is it invoked?”

Patrick is a second-year History PhD candidate affiliated with the Department of English, History and Creative Writing.

“As a GTA, my research is funded by the University and has afforded me a valuable opportunity to develop my professional and academic skills.

“My thesis explores the various ways in which memory cultures (particularly of the Holocaust and British/French colonialism) manifest, develop and are expressed by anti-racist movements on both sides of the Channel. To what extent is memory used as part of anti-racist activism and how is it invoked? I am particularly interested in the way in which post-colonial communities in Britain and France draw upon the respective legacies of the colonial past as a means of holding society to account for contemporary racism. How do colonial memories migrate to a post-colonial context? How are such memories negotiated and contested by various anti-racist movements?

“My focus is largely on anti-racist literature published in the 1980s and 1990s. By reading anti-racist journals such as Le Droit de Vivre by the Ligue internationale contre le racisme et l’antisémitisme (LICRA) and Searchlight magazine (to name only a few) this thesis will explore the central tropes and points of reference of anti-racist memory. The thesis will also make use of interviews with veteran and contemporary anti-racist activists on both sides of the Channel.

“In addition to my research, I am also active in the Ethnicity, ‘Race’ and Racism Seminar (ERRS). I assist in the organisation of talks and presentations and co-ordinated the successful fifth annual symposium last year on the subject ‘The 1970s: The High Tide of British Anti-Racism?’”.

Isaac Pollard

An exploration of how young refugees and asylum seekers in Liverpool use community football to facilitate and negotiate integration, assimilation and belonging

Isaac Pollard is currently affiliated with the Department of Social Sciences at Edge Hill University. Having studied for his undergraduate degree at the institution, he immediately followed this up by joining the MRes programme, incorporating both sociological enquiry and a love of sport into his studies. His research focuses on the way in which young refugees and asylum seekers in inner city Liverpool use community football, organised by the Liverpool County Football Association.

Isaac Pollard is currently affiliated with the Department of Social Sciences at Edge Hill University. Having studied for his undergraduate degree at the institution, he immediately followed this up by joining the MRes programme, incorporating both sociological enquiry and a love of sport into his studies. His research focuses on the way in which young refugees and asylum seekers in inner city Liverpool use community football, organised by the Liverpool County Football Association. Much of his undergraduate work, where the student was allowed to focus on a particular issue, such as research methods work and dissertation thesis, focussed on issues relating to ethnic minorities in the UK, so when the opportunity to continue research with minorities presented itself, it was seized with both hands.

His MRes research focuses entirely on the way in which young refugees and asylum seekers (18-30) use community football to facilitate and negotiate a sense of belonging and integration in an otherwise alien community. Much of the research focuses on a reconceptualization of identity, seeing it not as a ‘social monolith’ anymore, but seeking to show how social activities such as sport have the potential to deconstruct and reformulate identity. There is also an examination of how although the ultimate marker of belonging in a country may be obtaining citizenship, is this actually the most important thing to consider when looking at notions of belonging? Or is comfort in a new country and building interpersonal relationships a more significant indicator of belonging?

As for why he decided to undertake the research, the reason is simple: to give those who generally aren’t listened to a voice. It also offered the opportunity to combine his academic interests with one of his great personal interests. A lot of people want to change the world, for him the opportunity to allow a marginalised group a voice was enough. However, in the long-term goal is to take this work, and any subsequent work, to the powers that be, the national FA, and allow for funding to be provided for projects devoted to the inclusion of refugees and asylum seekers in the modern game.

Finally, the research aims to provide a completely original contribution to knowledge, there is very little work on how football specifically facilitates a sense of belonging among refugees and asylum seekers, and none that has been conducted in Liverpool.