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Diasporas, Migration and Identities

Breaking new ground in public understanding

People, ideas and objects have always been on the move. Despite this historical trajectory, issues around immigration and identity politics (in host and sending societies) are never far from media and public policy debates.


This five year £5.5 million trans-disciplinary programme was launched in response to the need for a multi faceted insight into the culture of diaspora and migratory communities. The programme presented the opportunity to bring together research on traditions, languages, religions, material culture, visual and performing arts.

The Programme

Programme highlights and outputs

The challenge for this research programme was two-fold: to further our historical and cultural knowledge about diasporas and migratory communities, and to break new ground in how we study, theorise and model them.

Forty-nine projects, networks and workshops, and three studentships were funded. Many of them involved collaborative teams using interdisciplinary approaches, as well as working with strategic partners in the cultural and public sectors, and with voluntary and community organisations. Some thirty early career researchers gained experience from working within the programme. Theoretical and conceptual advances were made, and innovative methods were developed and employed, particularly those involving participants directly in the research process. Traditional boundaries between researchers in universities and non-academic stakeholders, research and practice, research and policy, and between different disciplines, were productively breached.

Diasporas: Concepts, Intersections, Identities (edited by Kim Knott and Seán McLoughlin, Zed Books, 2010) featured the research of selected projects alongside essays by internationally renowned scholars from within and beyond the programme. Over four hundred academic publications and many others directed to a wider public audience resulted from the programme, and more than six hundred events of various kinds were held. Some fifty public performances and exhibitions, a similar number of art and other creative works, as well as resources and events targeted at children and young people were also produced. Award holders have gone on to obtain more than £3 million of additional research funding from UK and EU sources for projects on related issues.

Final Report and Impact

‘Diasporas, Migration and Identities’ drew to a close in mid-2010. The Final Report is available from the programme website, The Final Report is available from the programme website, along with project findings, details of publications, and interviews with award holders on the value of collaborative engaged research.