The dead beneath our feet

In February 2019 I visited Elmina Castle, a sprawling white-washed fortress close to Cape Coast in what is now Ghana. The Castle served as prison for men and women brought from across West Africa and destined to spend their lives in chains. One year on I remain unable to write about the history of this…

Above, behind and beyond the fences

Last month I flew to Morocco to speak at a conference organised by the Global Forum on Migration and Development in Skhirat near Rabat. The flight took me from Turin in Northern Italy across the Alps and down the Spanish coastline before crossing the Strait of Gibraltar. It was a spectacularly clear day and I…

Today we created a monster…and built solidarity

Today was the first day of a five day annual summer course on refugees and forced migration organised by the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University.  It’s one of the main perks of my visit to Toronto. An opportunity to engage with academics, policy makers and practitioners working mainly, though as it turned out…

What does it mean ‘to belong’?

Yesterday morning I squeezed myself onto a busy bus and headed to an immigration symposium hosted by York University in downtown Toronto. Wherever I am in the world I find public transport fascinating. All those people with whom you share a (sometimes rather too intimate) space and about whom you know absolutely nothing but into…

Putting down roots

“There isn’t anything particularly radical about saying people want to connect and they want to belong but how that happens is pretty important” So today was a nothing kind of day, a combination of exhaustion and jet lag. Only it wasn’t. A short walk in search of food brought me to Wychwood Barns Park, a…

The journey begins…

It was never my intention to start writing a blog today. In fact when I left home in the darkness at 3.30 this morning it was absolutely the last thing on my mind. For months I’ve been working flat out on a huge funding proposal (of which more another time).  It was the best I…