Sussex migration researchers are building links with universities in Thailand and Hong Kong to conduct research on European-South East Asian migration.
Throughout the month of June, members of the Sussex-Mahidol Migration Partnership (SMMP) have held a series of meetings in Bangkok to design and plan data gathering for the project “The Search for a Better Life: How Partnerships with Westerners shape Thai life chances, social relationships and development” funded by the British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship scheme. Further to these meetings, the SMMP team discussed new opportunities for research bids, including the Global Research Fund Sustainable Development and Strategic Network calls, as well as laying out the possibility to develop a publication strategy on the theme of cultural interactions between Westerners and Thais.
The Director of the Sussex Centre for Migration Research (SCMR), Professor Paul Statham, also flew to Hong Kong to present the first preliminary results of the Newton project at the international conference “Migration Patterns in Asia”, organised by the Department of Sociology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. One of the key findings of the project so far has been on the role of social media as source of information and support for Thai women who married or plan to marry a Westerner. In Hong Kong, Paul also discussed the opportunities to develop research partnerships with Professor Eric Fong.
Sussex migration scholars presented their research at the 4th Mahidol Migration Center Regional Conference titled “In the era of transnational migration”, which the SMMP co-sponsored.
This is one of the largest migration conferences in the region, and the first time such a large group of Sussex scholars were able to present their work at such venue.
Professor Statham chaired and commented on several panels of the conference. Dr Sarah Scuzzarello presented her work on retirement migration to Thailand which highlighted how mobility enhances the wellbeing of retirees, at the cost of often severing relations with their family back ‘home’; Dr Meike Fechter talked about the important role of independent aid-workers in Cambodia for transnational aid and the practical implications of their work for local communities; Miss Nicole Ostrand discussed her PhD project on the UK’s efforts to extraterritorial immigration regulation in France, US, Thailand and Ghana; and Dr Robert Nurick, from the Migrating Out of Poverty consortium presented his work on the involuntary return of undocumented migrants across the Thai-Cambodia border following the 2014 mass expulsion of migrants from Thailand.
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 aims to establish a network infrastructure for collaborative research, researcher exchanges and postgraduate teaching on migration between Europe and South East Asia.
Anyone from Sussex who wishes to join and engage in this collaboration is welcome to do so; please contact Dr Scuzzarello at firstname.lastname@example.org