A FESTIVE ORNAMENT MADE AT CAMPSFIELD HOUSE IRC.
Starting today Border Criminologies will be taking a break during the holiday season. We’ll resume activity on 11 January 2016 on the blog with a themed week on Migrant Masculinities organised by Dan Godshaw. Also watch out for upcoming themed weeks on Staff Perspectives organised by Thomas Ugelvik and Dutch Border Practices organised by Maartje van der Woude. We’re looking forward to several events in the new year, including talks by Sarah Hughes (18 January), Jerome Phelps (TBA), and Ana Aliverti (11 February) as well as a seminar on visual methods organised by Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll. Next year Border Criminologies will be participating in the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Centre for Criminology, including a presentation by Mary Bosworth on the changing nature of incarceration on 24 May, and an exhibition of a selection of items from our immigration detention archive at the summer event on 4 June. In 2016, three of our Oxford-based members, Sarah Turnbull, Ines Hasselberg, and Alpa Parmar will all publish research monographs. We look forward to announcing the book launches in due course.

As usual, please contact us if you have any news or ideas for the website. In the meantime, we leave you here with a selection of Border Criminologies’ posts from Fall 2015. We wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!

Refugees are also Migrants. All Migrants Matter The recent debate over word choice has taken turns that undermine humanitarian principles and cloud the view of how migration is unfolding. The Washington Post, the New York Times, the Guardian, the BBC, and others have examined the usage of ‘refugees’ versus ‘migrants’ over the past week. The general impression is that ‘migrants’ are being thrown to the wolves. The most insidious contribution, sadly, comes from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)…

Remains of Rescue and Confinement: Humanitarian Bordering in Lampedusa On the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean, wooden fishing boats rest on the ground, monumental and silent. Abandoned objects lay scattered around the boats: water bottles, deflated dinghies, shoes, piles of clothes, and life vests. The remaining parts of flashlights, mobile phones, and food packaging reveal that those who made the crossing prepared for the risky journey. These objects evoke imaginaries of individuality and intimacy. I wonder if the child whose inflated floating device left in the bush survived. Is it her parents’ breath what remains inside? A child has lost her little doll; is she still looking for it?...

The Illegality Industry: Notes on Europe’s Dangerous Border Experiment Less than two months have passed since the picture of a dead boy, afloat in Turkish waters, rekindled solidarity with refugees across Europe―and yet the continent’s leaders are again coalescing around their time-honed attempt to ‘secure the borders’ and ‘fight illegal migration’ at any cost, whether human, political, or financial…

Understanding Staff in IRCs Professor Mary Bosworth and I recently completed two months of fieldwork in which we sought to understand the daily life of staff in immigration removal centres (IRCs). The two sites we visited had recently become one, at least in theory. IRCs Harmondsworth and Colnbrook, previously run by GEO and Serco respectively, came under the central management of Mitie in September 2014. They are now known as Heathrow IRC, though they are still physically separate buildings. Having done observations, much informal chatting, and formal interviews, what did we find?...

Being in Detention: Media Arts at Colnbrook IRC I’ve been running media arts workshops inside the Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre since I got security clearance in September 2015. For six hours at a time I go to Heathrow, just behind the airport, with my camera, tripod, and sound recorder. The ‘residents’ cram into the media room to learn how to use my camera. We set up the lights and a green, black, or painted background and practice taking portraits and making films of short performances. Some sing songs they’ve written and we are working on a music video to accompany those. Others request songs in the languages they alone speak in there, such as Roma, for instance…

How to Become a Human Smuggler: A Guide for Beginners I met Abu Rami in a small town on the Aegean coast of Turkey, one of the many human smuggling hubs across the Turkish territory. Although Abu Rami was indeed a smuggler when we first met, he was a refugee too. As with many others like him, he left Syria taking the route to Italy via Libya. However, his journey abruptly stopped in Egypt, where local authorities detained him for a few months before sending him to Lebanon. He tried again. The second time he took the route of the Balkans: Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, and Hungary. Yet again, he didn’t make it…

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