May 2015


May 2015 Newsletter of the Social Policy Research Centre

Middlesex University


SPRC website:

To contact us: 


  • SPRC News Highlights
  • Conference Presentations and Workshops
  • Other SPRC News
  • Visiting Academics
  • Research Training


SPRC News Highlights

25 years of SPRC – reflecting back and looking forward

Former members of the University’s Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC), returned to the University on 4 March to celebrate and reflect on the success of the Centre’s 25 years at the cutting edge of researching diversity, migration and inequalities. Founded in 1990, the SPRC celebrated its anniversary with the launch of a series of books from the team and an inaugural lecture from Professor Louise Ryan.

The Dean of the School of Law, Professor Joshua Castellino, welcomed attendees, who included founder members and former alumni and staff members. Members of the current staff team gave presentations highlighting the Centre’s contribution to work on family migration policies, migrant children and education, engaging with diverse communities, visual mapping of changing populations, and working with ethnic minority and women’s organisation. This was followed with the launch of a new series of books including the latest co-edited book by Professor Ryan, Umut Erel and Alessio D’Angelo (2015) Migrant Capital: Networks, Identities, Strategies, Palgrave.

The event concluded with the inaugural lecture from Professor Louise Ryan. Entitled ‘Getting worked up about networks: how to make friends and influence people’, she addressed how advances in online technology have created opportunities for everyone to connect with larger networks of ‘friends’ world-wide but questioned what this meant in practice. Friends and colleagues had the opportunity to reconnect and network at a reception following on from the lecture.

More than 70 people attended the SPRC 25th Anniversary Event and many more attended Professor Ryan’s inaugural lecture.  Attendees were fulsome with their praise for the SPRC event and Prof. Ryan’s inaugural lecture as were alumni Dr Xia Lin, Dr Gemma McKenna and Dr Shanna Marrinan who identified the role that SPRC and its staff had played in securing their research careers. As Dr Gemma McKenna, now a Labour candidate in the upcoming General Election commented: “The level of teaching at the SPRC was incredible. I was so inspired by the thoroughness and tenacity of the researchers, who also had an amazing background of working on the front line”.

Looking to the future the SPRC is planning to develop projects and collaborations with international partners. Its ongoing research will reflect the Centre’s interests and expertise on issues of migration, education, discrimination and inequality.

Former SPRC members and SPRC Co-Directors                    Current SPRC members

Former SPRC members and SPRC Co-Directors,                           Current SPRC members                                                                                                                        Prof. Eleonore Kofman and Prof. Louise Ryan

Conference Presentations and Workshops
  • Professor Louise Ryan was invited to give a talk at Sheffield University – ‘Narrating success in the context of recession: analysing tensions and contradictions in the narratives of recent Irish highly-qualified migrants in Britain’
  • Professor Louise Ryan gave two papers at a conference organised by the centre for Slavonic Studies at University College London 17-18 April 2015 on the theme of ‘Polish Migrant Experiences of life in the UK since 2004’.
  • Professor Louise Ryan was also interviewed by an Irish television company for a documentary on migration which will be aired later in 2015.
  • Professor Eleonore Kofman gave the following presentations:
    • Gender and skilled migration in Europe: state of the art, A Coruña, 5 May 2015
    • Gender, Labour Migrations and Immigration Policies in Europe,  Plenary, Gender and Diversity Studies in European Perspectives, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Kleve, Germany, 8-10 January 2015.
    • Family migrations as an economic matter.  Migration as a Family Matter. Perspectives from inside and outside the law, VU University Amsterdam, 30-31 March 2015


  • Dr Elena Vacchelli and Professor Eleonore Kofman organised two sessions at the US conference entitled:  Gendered Rights to the City: Intersections of Identity and Power (
    • Dr Elena Vacchelli gave the following paper: (1) ‘From a/topia to topia: towards a gendered right to the city for migrant volunteers in London’ (co-authored with Magali Peyrefitte) at the Milwaukee Gendered Right to the City conference and (2) ‘Work trajectories in the women’s voluntary sector in London: digital storytelling as a feminist and participatory research method’ (co-authored with Dr Magali Peyrefitte) at the annual AAG conference in Chicag0.
  • On 16th April Dr Alessio D’Angelo presented a paper at the Annual BSA (British Sociological Association) Conference, Glasgow, on: ‘Disorganising diversity? The rise and fall of the minority ethnic sector’
  •  On 1st May Dr Alessio D’Angelo delivered a paper at the UEL conference ‘Evolving understandings of racism and resistance’. The paper, titled ‘BME organisations in the UK: communities of resistance or sub-contractors’ builds on a number of research KT project on migrant and minority ethnic organisations undertaken within the SPRC.
  •  Dr Dominic Pasura (SPRC) and Dr Marta Bivand Erdal (Peace Research Institute Oslo) successfully co-organized the workshop on ‘Migration, Transnationalism and Catholicism’ at Middlesex University on 25 February 2015. Some papers presented at the workshop have been selected for inclusion into an edited book ‘Migration, Transnationalism and Catholicism: Global Perspectives’ to be published by Palgrave Macmillan.
Other SPRC News
  • Professor Louise Ryan was invited to give a lecture at Autonomous University, Barcelona (March), on the theme of mixed methods in social research.  The lecture was very well attended including many PhD students from across the social sciences.
  • Professor Eleonore Kofman participated in the discussion on Redefining Britishness with Sunder Katwala, British Futures, as part of the Open Generation Festival of Ideas, 11 April, London.
  • Professor Louise Ryan was invited to examine a PhD at Neuchatel University in Switzerland (February), while at the university she also ran a workshop for PhD students on research methods
Visiting Academics
  • Dr Silvia Cavasola is a visiting researcher at SPRC between May and the end of July. Among the other things, she will be helping with our project “The new Italian migration in London. Changing patterns, perceptions and processes of settlement.” (D’Angelo, Montagna, Kofman).
  • Janine Dahinden, Professor of Transnational Studies, at the University of Neuchatel will be visiting SPRC for May and June.
Research Training
  • Dr Alessio D’Angelo and Neil Kaye delivered a 2-day training course in ‘Data Analysis with SPSS’ at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (March 26th-27th). The course was attended by several academics and research students from Spain and the rest of Europe.
  •  In March 2015 Dr Alessio D’Angelo and Neil Kaye have successfully concluded a CPD course on ‘Spatial Analysis with ArcGIS’ to members of staff of Toynbee Hall, one of the oldest and most well-established charitable organisations in the UK. The initiative is part of a broader partnership between Toynbee Hall and the Social Policy Research Centre to develop joint research and knowledge transfer activities in a number of strategic Social Policy Areas. This has already included a number of student placements and the submissions of two funding applications.
  • Dr Lisa Clarke successfully conducted an NVivo 10 CPD Training Course on 27th and 28th April 2015 for both internal staff and external delegates. Dr Lisa Clarke will be conducting another NVivo 10 CPD Training Course on 9th and 10th July . NVivo is one of the most powerful and widely used research packages for the analysis of qualitative data. Whether you are a beginner or looking for more advanced knowledge of the NVivo software, our Basic and Advanced NVivo 10 training is designed to meet your needs.


For more information, please visit and