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LATEST ISET PRESS RELEASES

1 November 2011

New counter-terrorism strategies needed:
Research findings from London Metropolitan University

Research from London Metropolitan University which highlights the urgent need to reform the UK’s counter-terrorism strategies will be presented at a timely event in Birmingham.

According to the research carried out in London and Birmingham, the ideas behind counter-terrorism measures and the way politicians, policymakers and the media discuss who might be responsible for bombings are very similar to those in the period when there were IRA bombings in Britain.

The research, ‘Suspect communities’? Counter-terrorism Policy, the Press, and the impact on Irish communities and Muslim communities in Britain, will be presented as part of The Festival of Social Science (29 October – 5 November), run by the Economic and Social Research Council.

The research team interviewed key people connected with the Irish and Muslim communities, the media, politics and the law, and carried out mixed Irish/Muslim discussion groups. In these groups people discussed the common ground in the experiences of Irish communities and Muslim communities and found the comparison helpful, particularly in terms of feeling less isolated.

Prof. Mary Hickman, Director of the research, said: “The research reveals the extent to which the Irish in Britain lived with the fear of association with the IRA and the impact it had on their lives.”

“Lessons must be learnt. While the focus of contemporary counter-terrorism policy remains fixed on rooting out extreme ideas it encourages the public to treat Muslims as potential ‘suspects’ or legitimate objects of abuse.”

“Future policies must ensure they do not undermine the trust Muslim communities have in state institutions nor their sense of belonging in Britain.”

The findings will be presented at an evening event, Counter terrorism and Irish and Muslim communities, being held in Birmingham on Tuesday 1 November.

The evening will focus on how to take forward the research findings, particularly the very positive experience of the mixed Irish/Muslim discussion groups.

The research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) was led by Prof Mary Hickman at London Metropolitan University with Prof Lyn Thomas and Dr Henri Nickels. They worked alongside Dr Sara Silvestri, a specialist on Islam in Europe at City University London.

-ENDS-

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Event details:

Presentation on Tuesday 1 November 2011
6.30 - 8pm (refreshments from 6.15)
Church Room, Carrs Lane Community Centre, Birmingham, B4 7SX

Attendance is free but registration is limited.
To reserve a place please contact suspectcommunities@londonmet.ac.uk
Phone: 0207 133 2927.

Two of the research team are members of the Institute for the Study of European Transformations (ISET) at London Metropolitan University, and a third was based at City University London. Professor Mary J Hickman is an expert on Irish migration and Diaspora, and in immigration and social cohesion in Britain. She is the founder of the Irish Studies Centre and the Director of ISET. Professor Lyn Thomas (ISET) is a specialist in media and cultural studies. Dr Sara Silvestri is Senior Lecturer in Religion and International Politics, in the Department of International Politics at City University London. Dr Henri Nickels was the Research Fellow (ISET) on the project; he currently works for the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Vienna, Austria.

For more information, to interview Professor Hickman or for an electronic copy of the findings, please contact:

Madeleine Kingston
ISET
London Metropolitan University
Phone: 020 7133 2927
iset@londonmet.ac.uk

Victoria George
PR and Internal Communications Officer
Phone: 020 7320 1349
v.george@londonmet.ac.uk
www.londonmet.ac.uk 


The Festival of Social Science is run by the Economic and Social Research Council which runs from 29 October to 5 November 2011. Events from some of the country's leading social scientists, the festival celebrates the very best of British Social Science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives - both now and in the future. This year’s Festival of Social Science has over 130 creative and exciting events aimed at encouraging businesses, charities, government agencies; and schools or college students to discuss, discover and debate topical social science issues. Press releases detailing some of the varied events are available at the Festival website. You can now follow updates from the Festival on twitter using #esrcfestival.

ESRC Press Office:
Danielle Moore
Email: danielle.moore@esrc.ac.uk
Phone: 01793 413122

Jeanine Woolley
Email: jeanine.woolley@esrc.ac.uk
Phone: 01793 413119

________________________________________________________________________________________

31 October 2011

Most migrant sex workers are not forced to sell sex

Most migrants working in the London sex industry do not feel they are forced to sell sex. In fact, they decide to work in the sex industry to achieve a good standard of living for themselves and their families back home. They say working in the sex industry avoids employment in menial and poorly paid jobs.  These are the findings of a study led by Dr Nick Mai of London Metropolitan University. The study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), is based on in-depth interviews with 100 women, men and transgender migrants working in the London sex industry.

The findings will be presented at a half-day event, “In whose name? Migration, Sex Work and Trafficking”. The event, as part of the ESRC’s Festival of Social Science, is open to all with a specific focus on targeting policymakers, sex workers rights organisations, community services, and the media to attend.

“The perception that the commercial sex industry is connected to international organised crime and irregular immigration has raised moral panic about trafficking in the UK. Neither the moral panic, nor legislation brought in to counter trafficking, reflects existing research evidence,” says Dr Mai. “To avoid knee-jerk reactions and to obtain a better understanding of the issues, it’s essential that the findings of recent and relevant research are made known to the government and the public at large.”

The presentation will be followed by a screening of a work in progress a cut of Dr Mai’s documentary which draws on his research findings.

In addition to the ESRC funded research, the results of two recent and relevant studies will be presented. These were carried out by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the x:talk project.

Dr Lucy Platt and Pippa Grenfell from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine will present the key findings of a linked survey and qualitative study, funded by the Medical Research Council, which explores risks and vulnerability among migrant and non-migrant female sex workers in London.

The report, Human rights, sex work and the challenge of trafficking, produced by x:talk will be the focus of a third presentation. Ava Caradonna (pseudonym), spokesperson for x:talk says, “We’ve always suspected that attempts to address human trafficking have been co-opted by people with another agenda - eradication of the sex industry. What this report highlights is that, rather than assisting and supporting trafficked people, anti-trafficking policies have been effective at putting the safety, health and even the lives of sex workers at risk. The policies have also helped make sex workers a soft target for the Border Agency.”

For further information contact:
Dr Nick Mai
Email: N.Mai@londonmet.ac.uk
Madeleine Kingston, London Metropolitan University
Email: iset@londonmet.ac.uk
Telephone 020 7133 2927


ESRC Press Office:
Danielle Moore
Email: danielle.moore@esrc.ac.uk
Telephone 01793 413122
Jeanine Woolley
Email: jeanine.woolley@esrc.ac.uk
Telephone 01793 413119

NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. In whose name? Migration, sex work and trafficking
Organiser: Dr Nick Mai, London Metropolitan University
Date: 31 October 2011 15.00-18.00
Venue: London Metropolitan University, London
Audience: Suitable for people with a specific interest and some knowledge of the topic In whose name? Migration, sex work and trafficking
Attendance is free but registration is limited
To reserve a place please contact: iset@londonmet.ac.uk

2. This press release is based on early findings from the project Migrant Workers in the UK sex Industry funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The research team was led by Dr Nick Mai who is Senior Research Officer in Migrations and Immigrations of the Institute for the Study of European Transformations (ISET), at London Metropolitan University.
 
3. London was chosen as the main site of the research because of the scale and diversity of its sex industry and of its migrant population. The research involved in-depth semi-structured interviews with 100 migrants (67 women, 24 men and nine transgender) working in all sectors of the sex industry. While most of the broader dynamics and issues analysed in this research can be extended to the rest of the UK, it is important to underline that the majority of interviews were undertaken in central London. This means that the research findings reflect the specificity of the sex industry in central London, which is characterised by a strong prevalence of migrants, most of whom tend to work off-street. The people interviewed were from South America, Eastern Europe, the EU and South East Asia. The research team included people working in the sex industry and members of organisations representing sex workers. Further details: www.londonmet.ac.uk/research-units/iset/projects/esrc-migrant-workers.cfm

4. The Festival of Social Science is run by the Economic and Social Research Council which runs from 29 October to 5 November 2011. With events from some of the country's leading social scientists, the Festival celebrates the very best of British social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives - both now and in the future. This year’s Festival of Social Science has over 130 creative and exciting events aimed at encouraging businesses, charities, government agencies; and schools or college students to discuss, discover and debate topical social science issues. Press releases detailing some of the varied events are available at the Festival website. You can now follow updates from the Festival on twitter using #esrcfestival

5. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC’s total budget for 2011/12 is £203 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes. More at www.esrc.ac.uk

_______________________________________________________________________________________
7 JULY 2011
Embargoed until 00:01hrs 7 July 2011
 
Lessons not learnt about counter-terrorism and social cohesion as Muslim
communities made ‘suspect’

As the UK government reviews its Prevent programme new research from London Metropolitan University highlights the urgent need to learn from the past.

According to research published today ‘Suspect communities’? Counter-terrorism Policy, the Press, and the impact on Irish communities and Muslim communities in Britain the ideas underpinning counter-terrorism measures and the way politicians, policymakers and the media discuss who might be responsible for bombings have not changed over four decades.

Prof. Mary Hickman, Director of the research, said ‘the frequent mention in the same breath in public debate of ‘innocent Irish’ and ‘Irish terrorists’ or ‘moderate Muslims’ and ‘Muslim extremists’ means that ‘law-abiding’ Irish and Muslim communities are always defined in relation to ‘extremists’.

Ambiguity surrounding who is an ‘extremist’ or a ‘terrorist’ has resulted in hostile responses in everyday life - at work, in shops, on the street  - from members of the public who think they are under threat towards those they associate with that threat.

This research reveals the extent to which the Irish in Britain lived with the fear of association with the IRA and the impact it had on their lives.

Lessons must be learnt. While the focus of counter-terrorism policy remains fixed on rooting out extreme ideas it encourages the public to treat Muslims as potential ‘suspects’ or legitimate objects of abuse. Future policies should ensure they do not undermine the trust Muslim communities have in state institutions and their sense of belonging.

Muslim communities, like other groups, need to be addressed in terms of issues such as education, employment and political representation, rather than always through the prism of terrorism and counter-terrorism.

The report will be launched in the Houses of Parliament on 7 July at an event hosted by Keith Vaz, MP, Chair of the Home Affairs Committee.

Keith Vaz MP said: “This excellent report poses crucial questions about the Prevent programme and the way in which we approach and engage with communities. The Home Affairs Committee will be considering the findings during our upcoming inquiry into the Roots of Radicalisation.”

The research was led by Prof Mary Hickman at London Metropolitan University with Prof Lyn Thomas and Dr Henri Nickels. They worked alongside Dr Sara Silvestri, a specialist on Islam in Europe at City University London.

-Ends-
_____________________________________________________
Notes to editors:

Event launch 7 July 2011
Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London,
Committee Room 11, 4.30pm-6pm
Attendance is free but registration is necessary.
To reserve a place please contact suspectcommunities@londonmet.ac.uk – Phone: 0207 133 2927.

Three of the research team are members of the Institute for the Study of European Transformations (ISET) at London Metropolitan University, and a fourth was based at City University London. Professor Mary J Hickman, is an expert on Irish migration and Diaspora, and in immigration and social cohesion in Britain. She is the founder of the Irish Studies Centre and the Director of ISET. Professor Lyn Thomas (ISET) is a specialist in media and cultural studies. Dr Sara Silvestri is Senior Lecturer in Religion and International Politics, in the Department of International Politics at City University London. Dr Henri Nickels was the Research Fellow (ISET) on the project; he currently works for the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Vienna, Austria.


For more information, to interview Professor Mary Hickman or for an embargoed copy of the report, please contact:

Madeleine Kingston
ISET
London Metropolitan University
Phone: 020 7133 2927
iset@londonmet.ac.uk

Victoria George
PR and Internal Communications Officer
Phone: 020 7320 1349
v.george@londonmet.ac.uk


www.londonmet.ac.uk

 

 


16 MAY 2011

Deprivation and unemployment threaten the cohesion of our societies,
not asylum or immigration!

The arrival of North African refugees on the Italian and Maltese shores coincides with heated political  debates about immigration in several EU countries, including France, Italy and the UK. In the process,  asylum and irregular migration are presented by politicians and journalists as a threat to ‘our societies’ in  order to obtain consensus and sell copies. At the same time, the rights of refugees are neglected and the  free circulation of EU citizens sanctioned by the Schengen treaty risks being suspended. At a recent EU  ministers meeting, Home Secretary Theresa May ruled out UK’s involvement in a common EU asylum policy.  She argued that such involvement would make ‘Britain’s borders’ more vulnerable to immigration . The  implicit assumption of all of these interventions is that immigration is a problem, rather than a vital economic  necessity and a key resource for the cohesion of our societies.

A flagship report for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation  by a research team based at the Institute for the  Study of European Transformations (ISET) London Metropolitan University contradicts this view. The  majority of people in the UK enjoy living in multicultural societies and appreciate the positive contribution  immigrants make to the places they live.

 Dr Nick Mai, Reader in Migration and MA Course Convenor commented “Understanding the  relationship  between migration, social cohesion and society is a key issue and concern for  societies and policy-makers across the globe”

The arrival of new migrant groups impacts on local communities by highlighting existing inequalities and  divisions, not by causing them. Therefore, addressing deprivation, unemployment, lack of affordable housing  and poor social support is important for social cohesion, not migration. However political parties and leaders  often blame immigration for existing issues and problems in order to obtain or maintain political consensus.  
 
ISET is offering a new MA in Migration and Social Cohesion from October 2011.  The course will give  students the opportunity to gain high-level specialist skills in analysis, research and policy-making, which are  necessary for effectively addressing the challenges of migration and social cohesion in the 21st century.
 The MA in Migration and Social Cohesion course will cover theories of migration, multiculturalism, social  change, human rights, cultural production, as well as policy development and implementation with an  emphasis on case study analysis.

/pgprospectus/courses/migration-social-cohesion.cfm

 -Ends-

1. http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/246388/Showdown-at-EU-as-Theresa-May-insists-we-won-t-take-any-more-immigrants-
2. http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/immigration-and-social-cohesion-uk__________________________________________________________________________________________
Notes to editors:

  /research-units/iset/staff/mai.cfm 
   
   For more information and to request an interview with
   Dr Nick Mai, Reader in Migration Studies
   Convenor of the MA in Migration and Social Cohesion:

   Madeleine Kingston
   ISET - Faculty of Applied Social Sciences
   Telephone: 020 7133 2927
   Email: migrationandcohesion@londonmet.ac.uk
   
   Or

   Irene Constantinides
   PR and Internal Communications Manager
   Telephone: 020 7320 3029
   Email: i.constantinides@londonmet.ac.uk






 

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