Check out the programme of the 2024 PhD School

The PhD school, organised by the Centre for Migration, Diaspora and Exile (MIDEX) and  the Global Race Centre for Equality (GRACE) at the University of Lancashire (UCLan) and will bring together scholars and young reserachers exploring the concepts of migration, intersectionality and inclusivity in relation to race.

This PhD school also aims to facilitate discussions around community wealth building, solidarity and inclusive citizenship programmes and their economic, social, political, or cultural impact on marginalised migrant/displaced groups and the broader societies they are part of. 

Download the full programme here

Keynote and other sessions

Prof Dr Natasha A. Kelly has a PhD in Communication Studies and Sociology from the University of Münster, Germany. A bestselling author and editor of ten books, she has held visiting professorships at numerous universities in Germany, Austria and the USA. In Fall 2023, she will take-up a three-year position as Professor for Cultural Studies at the Berlin University of Arts. She is the co-director of the Black European Academic Network (BEAN), a network that addresses systemic racism and discrimination in Europe and advocates for greater equity and inclusion within the European academic community. Kelly also acts as curator, artist, filmmaker, and theater director. Her artistic works have been shown at museums and on stages worldwide. As a member of the Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAM), her academic and artistic works advance to the digital space to include visions of Black futures. Kelly presently heads Germany’s first Institute for Black German Arts and Culture, opening in Fall 2023. Her latest publication “Schwarz. Deutsch. Weiblich. Warum Feminismus mehr als Geschlechtergerechtigkeit fordern muss“ was published at Piper Publishing House in August 2023.

Session: The Racial Turn. A Paradigm Shift in German Migration Politics

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter Movement in summer 2020, Germany’s Green Party resurfaced a 15-year-old debate, calling for the term ‘Rasse’ (race) in the German constitution to be replaced. Similarly, a group of scientists argued in the Jena Declaration (2019) that biological races do not exist and, therefore, the term ‘Rasse’ in itself is racist. Given Germany’s national-socialist past, questions of race undoubtedly cause discomfort. But how can a state whose national identity still relies on biological race categorizations move forward and learn that race is both a social construct and an analytical tool to dismantle racism? What historical factors can contribute to the emergence of the "racial turn" in German migration politics? In my keynote I will highlight some key events and policies that signify the shift towards a new understanding of migration in Germany and the role that socio-cultural factors play in shaping immigration discourses and policies.

Dr Bavaragh Dagalomai Jolan Hsieh (Ph.D. in Justice Studies, 2002, Arizona State University - Tempe) is Professor of Ethnic Relations and Cultures, at the College of Indigenous Studies of National Dong Hwa University, Taiwan. Her research expertise covers Human Rights, Law and Society, Gender / Ethnic / Class Studies, Critical Legal Studies and Transitional Justice, Global Indigenous Movement and Politics, Decolonization Indigenous Epistemology, Education, and Mainstreaming Policy. She has co-edited and authored: "Indigenous Reconciliation in Contemporary Taiwan  - From Stigma to Hope" (Routledge, 2023) , "Collective Rights of Indigenous Peoples - Identity-Based Movement of Plain Indigenous in Taiwan" (Routledge, 2006) , "Siraya Peoples: A Historical Studies of Kang-a-na Tribal Village" ( The Taiwan Historica, 2022), " Indigenous Knowledge and Transdisciplinary Research" (NDHU, 2021),  "Identity In Between, Research Practice and Methods as Indigenous Ceremony." (DawHsing, 20017), and many other multi-language book chapters and journal articles.

Session: Intersecting Narratives: Taiwanese Indigenous Peoples and Migrant Workers' Issues

This presentation explores the complex and intersecting challenges faced by Taiwanese Indigenous Peoples and migrant workers within Taiwan's socio-political landscape. Drawing on interdisciplinary perspectives, it delves into the historical, cultural, and structural factors that shape the experiences of these marginalised groups. By examining the impacts of globalisation, neoliberal policies, and cultural hegemony, it elucidates how Indigenous Peoples and migrant workers navigate issues of identity, land rights, labor exploitation, and social exclusion. Through a critical lens, this presentation aims to foster a deeper understanding of the intersecting struggles and resilience of these communities, highlighting the urgent need for inclusive and equitable policies that address their intersecting concerns.

Zaffar Kunial lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, and was born in Birmingham. His debut collection, Us, was shortlisted for a number of prizes, including the T. S. Eliot Prize. England’s Green, his latest collection, has been shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize, the Rathbones Folio Prize and the Ondaatje Prize.

Naush Sabah is a writer, editor, critic, and educator. She is the co-founded Editor and Publishing Director of Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal. She is also the co-founded and Editor-at-Large of Pallina Press, and trustee at Poetry London. Her writing has appeared in The Poetry Review, the TLS, PN Review, The Dark Horse, Modern Poetry in Translation, and elsewhere. A limited-edition double micro-pamphlet box set Heredity/ASTYNOME was published by Broken Sleep Books imprint Legitimate Snack in June 2020. She was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature’s 2021 Sky Arts Writers Award. Her debut pamphlet Litanies was published by Guillemot Press in November 2021 and shortlisted for the Michael Marks Poetry Award in 2022. She is also a visiting lecturer in creative writing at Birmingham City University. (Adapted from

Session: Poetry Reading and Writing about Migration, Identity and Language

Zaffar and Naush will each give a reading from their poetry. This will be followed by a conversation on writing about migration, identity, and language, with a particular focus on their connections with Kashmir, Birmingham and the Midlands, and the Azad Kashmiri language of Pahari. The session will open up to questions from the attendees.

Dr Antri Kanikli is an Assistant Professor in Linguistics at UCLan Cyprus university. Her research interests focus on generative grammar, language disorders and multilingual acquisition. Antri is an experienced researcher. Her work has been published in top international linguistic journals, and she has led several externally funded research projects, including the award-winning Erasmus+ project "Planting Languages" for which she was the UCLan Cyprus Partner Leader.

Session: The Award-Winning Erasmus+ Project Planting Languages: Family Language Planning Tools for Multilingual Parents

Planting Languages-Seeds of Success" is an award-winning Erasmus+ project that designed Family Language Policy (FLP) tools for multilingual immigrant and refugee parents, so that they may support their children's multilingual acquisition. In this talk, I will present those tools and demonstrate how they may be used by scholars in order to study FLP in multilingual families and gain an insight into the factors affecting language planning and language management in those families. I will also show how the knowledge acquired via the implementation of the project may inform policy making, so that families from minority social groups may effectively address the challenge of raising their children multilingually.

Dr Mingtso (Daniel) Chien, is an Academic Manager affiliated with the Taipei Study Center of Council of International Education Exchange (CIEE). Mingtso earned his PhD in Education from the University of Maine in 2023 and has performed different roles within the education sector, including but not limited to a teacher, instructor, facilitator, experience designer, and education researcher. Academically, his core area of interests lies at the intersection of language, education, and migration. In his doctoral research, he explored the self-/positionings of a group of raciolinguistically minoritized transnational adolescent students in Maine through a multimodal method of inquiry in order to create space for alternative (ways of representing) narratives of transnational lived experiences within that particular educational context.

Session: Positioning Analysis of Multimodal Transnational Narratives

Positioning analysis offers a possibility of studying identity and how identity is constructed through the stories told about oneselves and ones' lived experiences. This workshop will provide a brief overview of a few approaches to positioning analysis, including a visual method called language (identity) portraiture. The participants will have an opportunity to create and analyze a set of verbal and visual narrative data for this session.

Dr Saulo Cwerner (Refugee and Asylum Lead at St Helen Council, UK) has 11 years of experience in Local Government, in the fields of equality and community cohesion, 6 years of experience as lead on refugee and asylum seeker issues, including the coordination of a refugee resettlement programme. He holds a PhD in Sociology, with over 5 years’ experience in academic research, with articles published in the fields of asylum, migration, mobility and cultural studies.

Session: Between Thinking and Managing Migration: a View from Local Government

In this session, I will look at the key concepts of race, inclusivity, and solidarity as dimensions of the interplay between thinking and managing migration in a local council in North-West England. By considering the processes that underpin the role of local government in managing migration flows and their local impacts, with a focus on refugee and asylum schemes, I will discuss how researchers can develop and influence migration policies and practices at the local level.

Dr José M. Naharro (Ph.D. 1985, University of Pennsylvania) is Professor of Spanish Literature, Iberian Cultures and Exile Studies, at the University of Maryland, College Park. His research covers both contemporary Spain and Latin America, specially exile literature and film, areas where he is recognized for his seminal work. He has authored: Entre el exilio y el interior. El "entresiglo" y Juan Ramón Jiménez (1994), and Entre alambradas y exilios. Sangrías de 'las Españas'  y terapias de Vichy (2017).

Session: Can we Learn from Displacements, Migrations and Exiles out of Multicultural Iberia?

In this session I will refer to key examples of displacements, exiles and migrations  from diverse cultural areas in the Iberian Peninsula   and attempt to delineate areas of contact and differences, particularly in terms of how historical developments have shaped  plurinational perspectives, boundaries,  and imaginaries, cultural  representations have problematized key deterritorializations, and memory policies have addressed but blurred possible issues that shape the debate over  mixed migration flows.

Prof Champika Lasanthi Liyanage (UCLan) is the Co-director of UCLan’s Centre for Sustainable Transitions, and she is actively involved in a wide array of research relating to sustainability, facilities and infrastructure management, and capacity building in disaster resilience. She also is a member of the University’s Charter Marks group which provides a public opportunity to focus on equality strands.

Session: Research funding vs. Race and equality

There can be systemic inequalities and biases within funding structures and decision-making processes. Researchers/Academics from marginalised racial and ethnic groups could face greater challenges in securing funding. This disparity could be attributed to factors such as limited access to networks and resources, and institutional barriers that can hinder advancement of researchers/academics from underrepresented groups. The talk will focus on some of these factors and how we can mitigate some of these barriers.

Voices from the community: In this roundtable the representatives of three local organisations will discuss their activities, aims and the challenges they face in pursuing these.

  • Inclusive North, represented by Naz Zaman
  • East Meets West, represented by Lana Abu Hijeh: East Meets West is an international women's community group based in Lancaster which started up in 2006 and has been in continuous existence ever since. The group aims to provide a safe meeting space for women from multiple countries, and their children, who have different faiths and cultural backgrounds, to build confidence and promote integration. Activities include a weekly lunch, outreach projects, outings, picnics, parties and arts and crafts. Our ethos is egalitarian and cooperative with a committee reflecting the diversity of the group.
  • Preston Black History Group, represented by Clinton Smith: Preston Black History Group has many individual members from the African and Caribbean communities in Preston and the North West as well as many partners with interests in Black History. Refer to this link for further information: THE GROUP – Preston Black History Group

Lancaster Slave Trade, Abolition and Fair Trade Trail: Professor Alan Rice has been leading the Lancaster Slave Trade, Abolition and Fair Trade Trail in various iterations for over 20 years. It currently consists of 22 stopping points where participants learn about Lancaster’s involvement as the 4th largest slave port in Britain. At places of worship, a customs houses, museums, a town halls, a car park, a castle, a theatre, a cotton mill, private houses and many other venues, Rice relates narratives of slave traders, enslaved and free Africans, furniture makers, shipbuilders, clergymen, Quakers and their involvement as participants or victims of/fighters against the business of slavery. This bespoke tour for the conference will visit around half of the venues of the main tour and then proceed to the Judges’ Lodgings Museum where local black artist Lela Harris will talk about her wonderful portraits of Black Lancastrians she created specially for the venue to set against the historical portraits of slave traders. In the afternoon a special trip to the grave of a Black African from 1736 in a remote location will complete a unique day.

Photographic Exhibition: Materiality, Memory, Motherhood and Migration (curated by Dr Carole Hunt and Marie-Clare Balaam) is an interdisciplinary project drawing on perspectives from across the arts, humanities, health, and social sciences. The project explores using material culture associated with motherhood to address consistently highlighted health inequities and negative outcomes for asylum seeking and refugee women and their babies.  Using interactive participatory methods which place the women at the centre, we explore how objects, as carriers of embodied memories, could allow women to reflect upon and share their lived experiences of becoming a mother in a new (maternity) culture, giving insight into the construction and experiences of maternity and motherhood for women displaced from their home.  The project aims to visualise the women’s stories, reflect the inclusion of women’s perspectives and the amplification of voices which are seldom heard, in exploring new ways of knowledge making and sharing.

  • Dr Carole Hunt (UCLan) has a background in Fashion and Textile Design, Art History and Visual Culture. Several of her projects link multiple perspectives from clothing and textiles, material culture, arts, health, and medicine where emphasis is placed on exploring the historical, social, and cultural dimensions of women’s health and well being through alternative ‘material’ methodologies. These investigations are interdisciplinary and collaborative, including academics, artists, archivists, health professionals and members of the public.  Carole is a member of The Social History Society, The Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research (NNMHR), The Centre for Migration, Diaspora and Exile (MIDEX) and Futures of Madness Research Network (FoMN). She is also on the steering group of UCLan’s Institute for Creativity, Communities and Culture (ICCC).
  • Marie-Clare Balaam (UCLan) is a research associate in the Research in Childbirth and Health Unit (REACH) at UCLan. She has worked as a lecturer and researcher in History, Women’s Studies and Midwifery. Her current research focuses on maternity care and social support for marginalised women with a particular focus on migrant women’s experiences of maternity care and childbirth in the UK and Europe. She is currently undertaking research on social support for asylum seeking and refugee women in the perinatal period using a range of different methodological approaches and has recently completed work on continuity of carer in maternity care, the efficacy of health advocacy for asylum seekers and refugees, obstetric violence, and maternity care during COVID-19. She is co-founder of the Maternity Stream Research Network, which focuses on the maternity experiences of migrant women, she is a member of The Centre for Migration, Diaspora and Exile (MIDEX).

Latest News