Looking Ahead: Brexit, Borders and Belongings

9 Feb 2017

Looking Ahead: Brexit, Borders and Belongings

Friday 10th March 2017, 9.00am-1.00pm

University College Cork

Hosted by the in association with the EU YMobility project

All welcome – registration essential - click here to register

Watch the event live here.

The half-day event will explore some key questions raised by the prospect of Brexit in relation to international borders, migrations, im/mobilities and belongings. The implications of Brexit for transnational movements and collaborations, for EU/non-EU border zones such as on the island of Ireland and for EU migrants and citizens are uncertain and far-reaching. The papers presented here will open up spaces for discussion about how Brexit is likely to be experienced, constructed and understood by different actors in this shifting context.


‘And then came Brexit’: Experiences and plans of young EU migrants in the London Region; Dr. Aija Lulle, Prof. Russell King and Dr. Laura Morosanu, University of Sussex

Everyday bordering and the politics of Brexit belongings; Dr. Georgie Wemyss, University of East London

European youth migration intentions: implications for post-Brexit migration; Dr. Calvin Jephcote, Prof. Allan Williams, Prof. Gang Li, Dr. Hania Janta, University of Surrey

What Brexit means for higher education: Irish perspectives; Dr. Rosarii Griffin, University College Cork

Borders across these islands after Brexit: ‘Frictionless’ crossings or new frontiers? Dr. Katy Hayward, Queens University Belfast

Discussant: Dr. Piaras Mac Éinrí, University College Cork

Organising Committee (ISS21 Migration & Integration Research Cluster): Claire Dorrity, Chiara Giuliani, Eileen Hogan, Orla Lynch, Piaras Mac Éinrí, Caitríona Ní Laoire



Perspectives on what Brexit Means for Irish Higher Education and Research

Rosarii Griffin, University College Cork

In anticipation of the UK triggering Article 50 in March, 2017, this will begin the process of the UK withdrawing from the EU political and economic Union. The triggering of Article 50 is certain to have implications for the Higher Education sector and the Irish HE relationship with the UK Higher Education sector, as Ireland remains within the EU. In the light of these Brexit developments, this paper will discuss three key areas: 1) The impact of Brexit on Research and Research Funding including the potential impact on cross-border alliances within the EU, especially between the UK and the ROI. 2) implications of Brexit for internationalisation between the UK and the EU,  particularly between the UK and Ireland. Focusing on the latter, the paper will look at the challenges and opportunities that may arise for the Irish HEI sector if there is a readiness within the Irish HEI sector to be prepared for these. The paper will conclude with a discussion on the potential risks and benefits, both positive and negative, based on Brexit opportunities arising and how these may impact on the Irish HE sector. Conclusions will be drawn and recommendations made based on current trends.


Borders across these islands after Brexit: ‘Frictionless’ crossings or new frontiers?

Katy Hayward, Queens University Belfast

This paper explores the potential management of border regimes across the islands of Ireland and Great Britain after Brexit. First, it highlights the historical effects of EU membership on the resonance of borders in this context. Secondly, it examines what might be meant by – to use terms used by British Ministers speaking on the topic - ‘frictionless’, ‘seamless’ and ‘invisible’ borders as solutions to the direct challenges posed by Brexit to North/South and British/Irish relations. In particular, it notes the implications of these for citizens and migrants across these islands. In so doing it considers the conflicting assertions made about the potential management of the Irish land border as the new external border of the EU. Finally, it maps the changing EU context for border management in response to the recent ‘migration crisis’ and the trend towards securitisation. The paper concludes by summarising what this rapidly changing European landscape might mean for the drawing of new borders and divisions across these islands.


European Youth Migration Intentions: Implications for Post-Brexit Migration

Calvin Jephcote, Allan Williams, Gang Li, Hania Janta, University of Surrey

Research interest in migration intentions has been long-established and tends to peak at times of either major economic crises or of significant shifts in migration regimes, such as the eastern enlargement of the European Union. More recently however debates about the potential future migration have been fuelled by the opposite phenomenon: the 2016 Brexit referendum in the UK.  This paper aims to contribute to the current fragmented research on mobility intentions by providing a comparative analysis across different time frames, for nine countries representing a range of migration contexts within the EU; countries of Origin (Latvia, Slovakia, and Romania), Destination (Germany, Sweden, and the UK), and Origin-Destination (Spain, Ireland, and Italy). Utilising a special commissioned panel survey in these nine countries among non-student Europeans aged 16-35, a multi-level regression model is used to analyse a range of determinants and obstacles to mobility, including macro, micro and meso-level factors. Our study findings reveal that within a year, 17% respondents in the pan-European sample are likely to become migrants, and whereas the results vary among the nine countries, the Romanian youth indicate the highest mobility intentions. The findings indicate not only the potential impact of any changes in the EU's freedom of movement space, but also the factors that are likely to determine the outcomes.


 ‘And Then Came Brexit’: Experiences and Plans of Young EU Migrants in the London Region

Aija Lulle, Russell King and Laura Morosanu, University of Sussex

This paper presents a selection of findings from the British case-study of EU youth migrations and youth-to-adult life transitions, built around the ‘rupture event’ of Brexit. London had become the single most important European magnet for youth migration, especially for students and graduates, but now these open-ended mobility trajectories have been disturbed by a referendum result that few expected, and whose consequential results are as yet unclear.

The research that we present in this paper is comparative in several ways. Most importantly, we select the ‘voices’ of three migrant nationalities – Irish, Italians and Romanians – each with different histories and typologies of migration to the UK, and which present different ‘images’ of migration in the eyes of the host society. A second axis of comparison is across education and skill levels – which is pertinent in understanding migrants’ experience of employment and their social lives. Our third comparative dimension is pre- and post-Brexit. We ask our research participants whether they anticipated the referendum result, what their reactions to it were, and how their plans for the future have been affected.

We used semi-structured in-depth interviews to record, translate and transcribe 60 narrative accounts (20 from each national group) between September 2015 and May 2016, i.e. before the June 2016 referendum. We then re-interviewed subsamples of 8-10 of each group after the referendum; these interviews were concluded by February 2017. Using a variety of theoretical notions, including ‘privilege, ‘weapons of the weak’, and ‘tactics of belonging’, we compare and contrast the views, reactions and plans of the research participants relating to Brexit.

Interestingly the Irish, who had the right to vote, and almost certainly will have to stay on under any future Brexit scenario, seemed the most vocal and angry, at what they saw as a ‘mistaken decision’. For both the Italians and the Romanians, a mood of uncertainty and resentment prevails. For some, the eventual plan to return, or move on to another country, is accelerated by the Brexit outcome; for others there is a felt need to reinforce the sense of belonging and the right to remain in Britain. The more recently arrived Romanians feel more vulnerable, but are also more flexible with regard to their ability to move on elsewhere; whilst the Italians articulate a stronger sense of the ‘right to stay’ as ‘first-class’ EU migrants compared to the more ‘arriviste’ East Europeans.


Everyday bordering and the politics of Brexit belongings

Georgie Wemyss, University of East London

My contribution draws on the work that we have been doing at UEL’s Centre for research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging (CMRB) as part of the EUBORDERSCAPES project. It considers the present and post-Brexit implications of the shift in focus of recent UK immigration legislation from the external, territorial border to the internal border, incorporating technologies of everyday bordering in which ordinary citizens are demanded to become either border-guards and/or suspected illegitimate border crossers. Our work demonstrates how everyday bordering has become a major technology of control of both social diversity and discourses on diversity, in a way that threatens the convivial co-existence of pluralist societies as it works to reconstructs everyday citizenship.




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