How do we negotiate the politics of environmentalism - which can draw on ideas of invasive vs indigenous - and the politics of migration? How and why does language matter in policy debates over environment and migration?

Humans and nonhumans regularly migrate. Birds and insects move to seek food and more hospitable temperatures. Humans also migrate from hostile conditions. News reports of ‘swarms’ of Harlequin ladybirds ‘invading’ Britain echoes language used by the UK press to describe human migration and asylum seeking. Ladybirds journey across Europe following street lamps and the lights of cross-channel ferries, while Marmalade hoverflies choose days when favourable weather assists migration across the channel. Such parallels offer us spaces to think with more-than-human migration in messy contexts such as climate change, whilst attending to complexity and resisting othering or colonizing metaphors.

This project asks how we create spaces hospitable to migrations of humans and nonhumans? How might ecological thinking enable the cultivation of understanding about migration and the challenges of hostile environments? What would a more level ground look like, feel like, and who would maintain it? Are there connections between routes and roots? Can the naturalized ever become native?

What is being created?

The team is co-creating two hospitable plots within Royal Fort Gardens with and for migratory humans and nonhumans. The space will also act as a living classroom for discussions between researchers, students, policy makers and publics.

Building Shelter: A film by Emily Jones, Mivi Studman-Badillo and Carly Pearce.

A documentary on the construction of a shelter and hearth led by two artists with a group of volunteers. The shelter forms one of the two hospitable plots within Royal Fort Gardens, as part of the (de)Bordering project which explores human and non-human migration, and will act as a living classroom for discussions between researchers, students, policy makers and publics.

As you wander around the plots, you can discover QR codes that lead to podcasts and field recordings from this project. These are available to listen to below:

You can also listen the the Migration Mobilities Bristol Podcast “Invasive Others: Plants? People? Pathogens?”. Professor Miriam Ticktin from The New School for Social Research, New York, engages in conversation with Professor Bridget Anderson about how the fear of pathogens and viruses and the fear of foreigners and migrants are often superimposed on each other:

Who are the team and what do they bring?

  • Dr Paul Hurley is a transdisciplinary artist-researcher experienced at creating imaginative and engaging participatory projects.
  • Charli Clark is an environmental artist, beekeeper and gardener.
  • Professor Bridget Anderson’s (Sociology, Politics and International Studies, and Migration Mobilities Bristol) current work focusses on how to think and act in non-national ways about mobility and migration and uncovering the shared interests between citizens and migrants that these categorisations work to hide. Bridget has worked closely with migrant organisations, trade unions and legal practitioners.
  • Dr Nariman Massoumi (Film and Television) is a practice-as-research filmmaker focused on family documentary, autoethnography and displacement. He is the coordinator of the research strand ‘Imagination, Belonging, Futures’ of Migration Mobilities Bristol.
  • Professor Katharine Charsley (Sociology, Politics and International Studies) specialises in marriage-related migration, questioning the assumption of negative impacts on integration from spousal immigration.