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University Conference Explores Migration as Calais Camps are Demolished

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As the makeshift camps at Calais are demolished, the University of Worcester will be hosting a conference this month to explore migration.

Titled ‘Should I stay or should I go? Critical perspectives on migration’, the conference is organised by development education charity, BEACONS, and the University and takes place on March 12.

Kirsty Fraser, co-founder of People in Motion, a new Worcestershire charity which sends aid to refugees throughout Europe, will speak about her first-hand experience of helping migrants in the Calais and Dunkirk refugee camps.

Ms Fraser started the charity with her mother and a small group of people in September 2015. Since then she has been active with vulnerable refugees, both within UK and French camps. People in Motion has also sent clothing, blankets, tents and food to camps in Syria and Greece.

In addition to co-founding People in Motion, Ms Fraser works as a Work-based Learning Tutor at the University of Worcester, where she is also studying for an MA in Transformative Practice. In addition, she is a youth and community worker who helps young people in Worcestershire.

“I set up People in Motion because of the appalling conditions that many refugees are living in,” she said. “Working in the Calais and Dunkirk refugee camps has really brought home the many challenges that people living here face. I want to share this first-hand experience as I think it’s important that people understand these issues, which is why I’m speaking at the conference.”

The conference covers a range of migration issues, including what’s driving international migration, the impacts of migration on both the migrant and the host communities, the reality behind the politics of migration and how we should respond to the migration crisis.

Other speakers include Emma Crump of the Dhaka Ahsania Mission UK, a group which works with some of the most vulnerable communities across Bangladesh, and Dr Rayah Feldman, co-founder and chair of the Hackney Migrant Centre, which runs a weekly drop-in centre for asylum seekers, migrants and refugees. Zuzca Majcova, a final year Geography student at the University of Worcester, will also talk about her experiences as a migrant. 

A more academic perspective will be provided by Dr David Storey, Political Geographer at the University of Worcester, and Professor Jenny Philmore, Professor of Migration and Superdiversity at the University of Birmingham.

David Terry, Chair of BEACONS, said: “I’m delighted that Kirsty has agreed to speak at our conference this year. I’m amazed by her energy and enthusiasm, not only in establishing People in Motion, but combining this with her studies and her work. In addition to Kirsty, we have a number of other talented speakers lined-up covering the many issues that migration raises.”

Anyone interested needs to register in advance via EventBrite or the BEACONS website.