Professor Paul Statham, Director of the Sussex Centre for Migration Research (SCMR), and Dr Dusita Phuengsamran from the Institute for Population and Social Research (IPSR) at Mahidol University in Thailand, have been awarded a two-year grant via the British Academy’s Newton Advanced Fellowship scheme.
The researchers will use the funding to assess the impact of Thai-Western relationships by conducting interviews with Thai people and their extended families.
“These partnerships shape individual life chances and wellbeing,” explains Professor Statham. “They can potentially improve life chances by providing a route out of poverty and the sex industry.”
The new ‘family’ structures that arise out of these partnerships cut across generations and cultures, and build transnational relations between Thailand and the West, says Professor Statham.
In addition, these relationships can have an impact on the socio-economic development of a Thai person’s homeland region, for example if they send sums of money (known as ‘remittances’) back home to support their extended family.
Dr Phuengsamran, along with a delegation of researchers from Mahidol, will visit Sussex in March to kick-start this collaborative project.
The research grant for the project is the first received by the Sussex-Mahidol Migration Partnership (SMMP), which aims to establish a network infrastructure for collaborative research, researcher exchanges and postgraduate teaching on migration between Europe and South East Asia.
The SMMP was established as a partnership between the SCMR and the IPSR in 2015, following the award of an International Partnership and Research Network grant from Sussex.
The SMMP will host a workshop at Sussex during the visit by Mahidol colleagues in March to plan future research bids on Europe-South East Asia migration. Also there will be researchers from NUS Singapore, Humboldt University in Berlin and the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).
Anyone from Sussex who wishes to join and engage in this collaboration is welcome to do so; please contact Dr Sarah Scuzzarello at firstname.lastname@example.org.