Post by Mary Bosworth, Director of Border Criminologies

As I put the finishing touches to this annual report, it is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid the harsh reality of border control and the increasing lengths governments around the world appear prepared to go to prevent unauthorised entry.  Mid-year 2019, and we’ve already witnessed more photographs of drowned children (this time in the US); multiple investigative accounts of inhumane treatment and conditions of detention (across the world) heart-breaking family separations and child detention (everywhere, but, most notably at the US-Mexico border); and a growing desire and willingness of states to prosecute humanitarian actors. Matters are compounded by surging populism and far right politics.

All these issues have been topics on the Border Criminologies blog. They continue to animate the research, policy work and activism of our members.  While matters certainly look bleak, I find ongoing inspiration in the work of my colleagues, our partner organisations and our students.  While this report only offers a sketch of the efforts people are expending, it is important to recall, that even in times of gross inhumanity, there are always counter examples and resistance. 

As an international research network, Border Criminologies continues to work hard to bring people together, to disseminate their research and to facilitate new ways of working together within, across and beyond the academy. In our efforts we rely heavily on the Managing Editor, Andriani Fili, and also on the associate directors.  As the report will reveal, plans are underway for some changes, both online and in the people involved in the network. In this we continue to grow and branch out from its Oxford base. In November 2018 we welcomed a new Associate Director, Victoria Canning, who has written a lot about the rights of women seeking asylum, specifically on support for survivors of sexual violence and torture. Vicky brings a deep commitment to activist scholarship as well years of experience working with NGOs and refugees.

The book reviews team also grew this year. Our two new members, Sanja Milivojevic and Peter Mancina, joined Gabriella Sanchez in their work. Since the beginning of the academic year they have commissioned 20 book reviews. Many more are in the pipeline.

We ran our first Spanish-language blog post this year. Thanks to the combined efforts of former Associate Director Ana Aliverti, Gabriella Sanchez and one of the Oxford Criminology MSc students, Bill de La Rosa, we have structures in place now to run bilingual posts.  Reflecting work underway in Greece and Italy, we hope to include posts in Greek and Italian as well.

I am very proud of the work we do and support through Border Criminologies. Please read on for details about some of our activities this year and our plans for next.  We will, as usual, close down for a month’s holiday. It’s important to rest and recharge, and so I hope everyone is able to take a real break.

Read our Annual Report here.