Contextualizing racism and migration: time, place and generational perspectives in anti-racist praxis

5th International Conference of the ESREA Migration, Transnationalism and Racisms Network

The social and political developments in various parts of the contemporary world, have witnessed the resurgence of nationalist politics and intensification of hatred in the lives of societies. This phenomenon is accompanied by the growing vulnerability of groups and communities targeted by proponents of restricting trans-border movement of people, opposition to multiculturalism and construction of monolithic racial identities. Racism and other forms of xenophobia, anti-Muslim sentiments, blaming of and violence against refugees and other migrants, antisemitism – all these and related social dynamics have become an urgent international public issue. Some commentators go as far as to express concerns about an earlier history of fascism repeating itself on a global scale. In a number of countries these developments have taken the form of populist or extreme right movements up to the point of gaining electoral representations, while elsewhere they correlate with the emergence of illiberal authoritarianism in national policies especially targeting minorities and their allies. These tendencies are clear in the European context. Examples of these tendencies include backlash against refugees’ reception in the wake of the humanitarian crisis of 2015, xenophobic tensions surrounding Brexit and other nationalistic particularisms within the European Union, challenges and violence faced by LGBT+ communities, as well as growing popularity of conspiracy theories that bridge ‘old’ fascist themes with ‘new’ ones.

The above developments and challenges can be phrased in a common terminology of prejudice, discrimination, exclusion, bigotry, domination, hate speech, hate crime and other concepts, and should be dealt with under a broad umbrella of human rights protection, democracy and politics of inclusivity. There are however specific circumstances and conditions that differentiate both problem and solutions across contexts. Politics of hatred and intolerance emerge under concrete conditions. While they may spread between countries, territories or societal sectors, they draw on tensions arisen or invented in particular ‘social worlds’ – interconnected but specific. As adult educators and researchers of adult learning, we see the relationship between universally shared and situated knowledges as a significant issue to be grasped and revisited.

This conference seeks to explore universal (that is, repeated and repeatable, recognizable in different times, places and by different peoples) and particular (that is, temporally, spatially and socially specific) aspects in analysis of racism and in anti-racist praxis, that is, in reflection-based practice and practically-oriented theorizing. We invite participants of varying perspectives and experiences, who are connected by a critical view of the abovementioned issues and by an involvement in efforts aimed at achieving more inclusive and more solidly democratic society. Our intention is to bring together individuals and teams for whom adult education and learning constitute crucial and critical factors in such efforts. As we understand adult education and learning in a broad sense, which encompasses various modes of education and learning (formal/informal, individual/group-based, theoretical and action-guided, arts-based etc.), we hope the conference will include a wide range of contributors: academic and non-academic researchers, practitioners in the field of migration and social policy, educators from tertiary institutions, NGOs and community groups, art and sports educators, campaigners, organizers and others engaged in the field. We invite contributions from European as well as non-European countries exploring, but not necessarily limited to, the following thematic clusters:

  • understanding commonalities and specificities of racism and right-wing populism between countries and regions: how they should be described, conceptualized and analyzed; ‘export’/’import’ in populist and extremist ideologies across borders and periods; national(ist) appeals and transnational connections; origins and activity of identitarian movements; usefulness and limits of historical comparisons and analogies; ideological links between racism, homophobia, anti-gender campaigns, languages of exclusion; conspiracy theories and delegitimizing of established knowledge; patterns of individual involvement, group processes, new modes of organising and exit from extremism;
  • migration and integration policies, their implementation, understanding and societal reactions: national policies and restrictions vs. mitigation of impact at local levels; state policies, border regimes and popular attitudes; socio-political perspectives on citizenship and residence as well as socio-cultural notions of ‘home,’ ‘belonging’ and ‘identity’; multilingualism and monolingualism; public and private resistance against racist and anti-democratic practices; the importance of references to international human rights protection system in country-specific cases;
  • diversity of experiences among those affected: how class position, status and identity ‘operate’ in the context of racism; gender, sexuality and age as significant factors in migrants’ and other targeted groups’ experience; migration and integration in the context of individual’s life cycle and biographic learning; physical and mental health and disability; family dynamics; job market, work status, labour integration, unemployment; educational challenges in the context of age, language; aging in the context of individual’s capacity and institutional approaches; empowerment, resilience, prospects for post-migration life;
  • anti-racist civil society in action: how individuals get involved; how groups form and organize and how they maintain their vitality across time, how they effectively strive towards achieving their objectives; what and how people learn through their involvement; what the difficulties and obstacles are; what cultural and intellectual resources they use; what are intra-and intergenerational patterns of activism; types of activism; anti-racist action in educational institutions, media, labour organizations etc.; potential, possibilities and obstacles in building transnational solidarities and actions by minorities; activists’ exchange and import of ideas – validity and limits;
  • research on adult education/learning and the study of racism and anti-racism: the use of concepts and theories and their application in diverse contexts; types of data, methods of their collection, validation, analysis and presentation; comparative studies; case studies; ethical and risk issues in the research field and beyond; participants’ role in knowledge-generating; communication with non-professional audience and impact of research on communities and public sphere; decolonising methodologies; interdisciplinary vs. discipline/subdiscipline perspectives; action research and arts-based research; transmission of knowledge from research to teaching/instruction; anti-racist approaches in teachers’ education etc.

The conference language will be English. According to ESREA’s language policy we are encouraging native English speakers to be sensitive to the needs of those for whom English is not a first language. We ask all participants to consider in their preparation that the audience will be multi-lingual. Contacts For questions please contact one of the network convenors:;;;

Registration/ Conference Fees

Register by Feb 28th, 2020. Cancellation by March 31st (For 50% refund).

1. Regular/ academic (non-member – Full price) £100

2. Regular/ academic (member* - reduced) £80

3. PhD students /lower/unwaged/ Lower/Middle Income Country delegate £30

The conference fee will include refreshments and lunches during all 3-days of the conference.

Additional registration and payment for conference dinner required (approx. £25 per person).

Enrolment for the conference will be available on the conference website

Participants to pay for their travel and accommodation.

ESREA Membership

We would encourage you to become an ESREA member. Membership provides you with reduced registration fees for ESREA networks and conferences. To join ESREA then go to:

Student Bursaries

A limited number of Student bursaries may be available from ESREA. See the ESREA website for more information:

Scientific Committee

Giovanna Fassetta, Bella Hoogooveen & Bonnie Slade (University of Glasgow/UK)

Marcin Golebniak & Marcin Starnawski (University of Lower Silesia/PL)

Alisha Heinemann (University of Bremen/D)

Brigitte Kukovetz, Angela Pilch-Ortega & Annette Sprung (University of Graz/A)

Linda Morrice (University of Sussex/UK)

Steffi Robak (University of Hannover/D)

Simon Warren (University of Roskilde/DK)

Organising Committee

Bella Hoogooveen, Srabani Maitra & Lauren Roberts (University of Glasgow)

ESREA Migration, Transnationalism and Racisms Network

Transnational migration is one of the defining characteristics of the 21st century, dramatically affecting not only the lives of those who migrate, but also the lives and communities of those among whom migrants come to live and work. The network creates a space to explore the role of adult education and learning in all its forms (formal and informal), and locations (community, workplace, institutional), in relation to migration, transnationalism and the new lines of exclusion and social hierarchies created. It encourages critical dialogue in this emerging field with the aim of developing new theoretical and methodological resources and understandings.

The network will explore these themes through concepts such as belonging, democratic citizenship, anti-racism, community solidarity and activism; it will seek to challenge and problematize policy responses and ‘othering’ processes in relation to migration. The network also tries to open up a space for a (self-)critical reflection on migration research and its contribution to hegemonic discourses on migration. Previous conferences of the Network took place in Sheffield (2009), Graz (2012), Wrocław (2014) and Edinburgh (2018).

Further Information (PDF)