Migration Matters: University researchers share expertise during annual festival


Academics from the University of Sheffield will showcase their research and expertise through theatre, talks and a film screening at this year’s city-wide Migration Matters Festival (14-22 June 2019).

The eight-day festival celebrating Sheffield’s status as the first City of Sanctuary, held during the UK’s 21st annual Refugee Week, includes more than 60 events, including theatre, film, music, installations, talks and food events.

Dr Afua Twum-Danso Imoh, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Sociological Studies, will screen her film ‘Growing Up Colonial in the Golden Coast’ during The Calabash - a vibrant exploration and celebration of West African music, food, art, dance, culture and research with live performances, complementary West African food, and a discussion of colonialism and human rights in sub Saharan Africa.

The film was produced as part of a project undertaken by Dr Twum-Danso Imoh, funded by the British Academy’s Mid-Career Fellowship Scheme, to examine the impact of British colonial rule on constructions and understandings of childhood in contemporary Ghana.

The screening will be held during The Calabash at Theatre Deli, which starts at 5.30pm on Wednesday 19 June 2019.

Dr Twum-Danso Imoh, Lecturer in the Sociology of Childhood at the University of Sheffield, said: “Screening the film at the Migration Matters festival means a lot to me as the film shows the interconnections that exist between Britain and Ghana as they relate to understandings of childhoods, not only during the colonial period, but also in the contemporary period.

“So, while Ghana may seem very far away and may be seen as a very different society with different notions of childhood and attitudes towards children, a historical approach, which the film adopts, allows us to see some synergies and connections between the two countries.”

The stories of South Asian Muslim women and their experiences of travelling to the UK in the early twentieth century will be told during performances by Dead Earnest Theatre, based on the research of Dr Siobhan Lambert-Hurley from the University’s Department of History. The ‘Veiled Voyagers’ mahfil will include stories, music and dance surrounded by traditional Indian furnishings, sweets and perfumes.

Performances will take place at Burngreave Vestry Hall at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm on Sunday 16 June 2019 and at Channing Hall at 5pm, 7pm and 9pm on Monday 17 June 2019.

Other events led by researchers from the University of Sheffield include:

Migrating Queer Bodies – a workshop led by Dr Lukasz Szulc from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Sociological Studies following the stories of Polish queer migrants who moved to the UK after Poland became a part of the European Union. Attendees will be invited to engage with the stories by creating their own personalised zines.

Escaping Fascism: Jewish Refugees in Sheffield – a talk and roundtable discussion led by Dr Stephanie Wright from the University of Sheffield’s Department of History. Discover more about the history of Jewish migration to Sheffield during the Second World War with historians from the University of Sheffield and members of the local Jewish community. Learn about the struggles of those who arrived in Sheffield after fleeing the Nazis, and how their experiences relate to discussions on migration today.

Work, Welfare and Seeking Asylum – a talk by Dr Lucy Mayblin from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Sociological Studies examining the reasons given by successive governments for restrictions on the economic rights of asylum seekers.

The Syrian Refugee Crisis and Access to Finance – a talk by Tawfik Alhashemi from the University of Sheffield’s Management School about his research into the financial situations and experiences of Syrian refugees in the UK.

Lessons from the ‘Inspire: Creative Writing’ project – a talk and performances by Professor Brendan Stone from the University of Sheffield’s School of English, Akoi Bazzi from the Refugee Council, and Katherine Blessan, Project Coordinator for Inspire and author of Lydia’s Song. The ‘Inspire: Creative writing’ project was a 10-week set of workshops run in partnership with the Refugee Council and Storying Sheffield to empower refugees, inspire creativity and provide them with a voice.

Cities of Sanctuary in Hostile Environments: Refugees' everyday experiences of Sheffield and Barnsley – a talk by Dr Aidan Mosselson from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning exploring how refugees experience life in Sheffield and Barnsley, what their personal geographies look like and where they find help and community.

Indefinite Detention of Asylum Seekers: An Ethical Question – a talk by Professor Angie Hobbs from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Philosophy. The UK government currently has a policy of indefinite detention for refugees and asylum seekers while their cases are assessed. In this talk, Professor Angie Hobbs considers the harmful and often overlooked impact of the indefinite detention policy on the ethical agency of refugees and asylum seekers and their ability to be actively in control of their moral actions.

Sam Holland, Director of the Migration Matters Festival, said: “Driven by this year’s Refugee Week theme, ‘You, Me and Those Who Came Before’, the festival sheds light on how Sheffield and the UK have been forged by the generations of people whose cultures have shaped and made it a richer place.”

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Hannah Postles
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The University of Sheffield
0114 222 1046