Migration to the margin: a four-nation approach to race, immigration, and diversity in the UK

Event Details

  • Event date: 25/04/2019 – 26/04/2019
  • Venue: Queen's University Belfast
  • CFP Deadline: 30/11/2018

Keynote speaker

Professor Anoop Nayak, School of Geography, Politics & Sociology, Newcastle University


Debates about immigration and racial diversity are highly salient in the UK today. In an increasingly globalised world, and with the foreign-born population higher than ever before, it is vital that we research the experiences, contributions, and identities of immigrants and ethnic minorities. But whilst academic interest in this area should be welcomed, scholarly attention has tended to concentrate on certain locations. When we talk about immigration, we often focus on big cities, overlooking rural and outlying areas. Similarly, debates about national identity are framed around the notion of Britishness, which is commonly conflated to mean Englishness. How do these identities function in places such as Edinburgh, Belfast, and Cardiff, where attitudes are conditioned by a multitude of local concerns and influences? A broad brush approach to complex concepts such as immigration and ethnicity can lead to oversimplification, presenting racial diversity as a phenomenon that occurs only in large urban areas. This conference aims to consider the influence of local and regional contexts, with a view to understanding the bigger picture.


The conference seeks to examine the varied attitudes and experiences that have affected the settlement of immigrants and minorities in the UK. Taking a ‘four-nation’ approach, the conference organisers welcome proposals from scholars researching topics relating to race, immigration, diversity, and identity in the UK. In particular, we encourage contributions examining places outside of England’s large metropolises. These could include, but are not limited to: rural areas, suburbia, provincial towns, offshore islands, and Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland. Papers could take the form of individual case studies, or can situate local debates within a broader UK context. Potential themes could include, but are not limited to:

  • Case studies of immigrant and minority populations
  • Racism and discrimination
  • Political debates about immigration, diversity, and multiculturalism
  • Regional ethnic identities
  • Migrant economic activity
  • Cultural celebrations and festivals
  • Postcolonialism
  • Research methodology: including oral history and ethnographic practice


This is a multi-disciplinary conference, and we welcome contributions from: history, geography, politics, sociology, and anthropology. Proposals for a 20 minute paper should include an abstract of no more than 250 words, and a biography of no more than 100 words. Submissions should be sent to: migration2019@gmail.com no later than Friday 30 November 2018.