“We are here because you were there”: Immigrants’ Responses to the Rise of Anti-Immigrant Discourses in Britain

Thursday 30 October 2014, 10am-6pm at College Court, University of Leicester


The symposium will bring immigrant organisations, Immigration Symposiumadvocacy groups, community  associations and leading British academics on migration together in order to increase not only our understanding of the current anxieties around migration but also how the immigrants themselves make sense of, and deal with, such anxieties and anti-immigration discourses and policies. Only a few years ago Britain’s diversity was an essential aspect of our Olympic bid. We need to understand not only the ‘backlash’ to this celebration of diversity but also how those who are seen as ‘problem populations’ in the UK respond to this backlash.

Sociology at LeicesterIn the 1970s postcolonial ‘immigrants’ drew attention to Britain’s economic requirements and colonial past and used the phrase ‘we are here because you were there’ to remind Britain of its historical, economic and social ties. Political campaigns also challenged the way the white poor were pitted against the immigrant poor. Are the new ‘immigrants’ building on such assertive strategies and political consciousness? Are they establishing solidarity zones across their community associations and developing collective responses, including with excluded groups in the UK? Or, are their responses ‘individualistic’ and defensive? Is it possible to render visible the economic requirements and other historical and political ties at work in the movement of recent ‘immigrants’ into the UK and hence increase an understanding of our interconnected histories and present? The symposium will examine key issues which shape both academic and political debates on migration.

This symposium will launch the BSA’s Diaspora, Migration and Transnationalism (DMT) Study Group.

Symposium Organisers:

Dr Ipek Demir, University of Leicester
Dr Lucy Mayblin, University of Sheffield


9.00-10.00: Registration (tea and coffee)

10.00-12.30: PANEL 1: Anti-Immigrant Discourses and Resistance Strategies

Ms Zrinka Bralo, Migrant and Refugee Communities Forum
Dr Jonathan Darling, University of Manchester
Dr Lisa Doyle, Refugee Council
Dr Pierre Monforte, University of Leicester
Dr Barbara Samaluk, University of Greenwich

12.30-1.30: Lunch

1.30-3.30: PANEL 2: Immigrant Activism

Dr Leah Bassel, University of Leicester
Ms Rita Chadha, RAMFEL
Ms Ruth Grove-White, Migrants’ Rights Network
Ms Pam Inder, Leicester City of Sanctuary
Dr Hannah Jones, University of Warwick
Dr Davide Pero, University of Nottingham

3.30-4.00: tea and coffee

4.00-6.00: PANEL 3: Key Issues on Migration and Diversity Today

Professor Bridget Anderson, University of Oxford
Dr David Bartram, University of Leicester
Professor Alice Bloch, University of Manchester
Dr Karim Murji, The Open University
Professor Jenny Phillimore, University of Birmingham


BSA member £40 BSA member student £30
BSA non-member £50 BSA non-member student £35
Registration costs include lunch, coffee and refreshments. We have limited capacity hence registrations are on a first-come first-served basis.
For administrative issues please contact the BSA Events Team: events@britsoc.org.uk.

Registrations via the BSA website have closed on 24 October 2014. There are a few remaining seats. If you are interested in attending, please email Dr Ipek Demir (id34@le.ac.uk) as soon as possible to secure your place. You will be required to pay the registration fee at the door.

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