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Migrant youth activisms: de-bordering practices and urban solidarities in re-imagining the city


   Department of Urban Studies & Planning

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  Mr Ryan Powell  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This project is part of the Centre for Doctoral Training in New Horizons in Borders and Bordering. Through engagement with youth-led movements this project will challenge simplistic categorizations and binary thinking. It will work with urban young people with migration experiences in understanding how the activisms and collectives they assemble around them disrupt everyday bordering practices and policy.

Beyond core policy concerns of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UAASC) and the radicalization of youth, migration tends to be framed normatively as an ageless category. Young migrants are problematized and/or framed as passive recipients of support, meaning the ways they actively shape the city are neglected. This project will foreground the vitality, politics, and generative potentialities of young migrants in seeking to capture the dynamic interplay between migrant youth, bottom-up solidarities and alternative ways of inhabiting the city. It seeks to de-homogenize and historicize the role of migrants in contributing to youth activisms (e.g. environmental, anti-racist, anti-patriarchal, anti-ableist), both historical and contemporary.

Drawing on archival research on grassroots youth movements alongside qualitative research with young migrants the research will explore the biographies, relations and infrastructures of migrant activism from an explicit youth perspective. How do young migrants become activists? What relations, wider coalitions and infrastructures of care give rise to, and emerge from, these activisms? What new spaces and collectives are co-created? And how do migrant youth activisms contribute to the imagining of alternative urban futures and actively challenge impositions of non-citizens? Sitting at the intersection of sociology, geography, urban studies, urban history and migration studies, this project will use a youth lens to explore nuanced migratory experiences. Moreover, it will contribute new historical and contemporary perspectives by conceptualising the urban inhabitation of an everyday politics of care.

Students will benefit from supervision from world leading researchers in interdisciplinary teams, which will equip students with the skills to combine theoretical concepts and innovative research methods across disciplines. Students will study as part of a cohort and will have access to tailored training, in addition to expert training in knowledge exchange and opportunities to engage with our key strategic partnerships to maximise the beneficial societal impacts of their projects. 

Entry requirements 

  • A strong first degree (2.1 or a first class honours) ideally in a relevant social science subject
  • Candidates applying with a Masters degree must have obtained at least a Merit (or equivalent)
  • For those candidates for whom English is not their first language or who do not possess a degree from an educational institution using the English language for instruction, candidates must meet the minimum IELTS requirement for their department of application.

Applications should be made to the department of the lead supervisor.

In addition to the online application through the University PGR system -Postgraduate Online Application Form (sheffield.ac.uk), please submit the following as part of the application:

  • A 500-word personal statement explaining how your skills, experiences, interests and career plans make you a suitable candidate for the studentship.
  • A one page (A4) outline of how you would approach the project including the focus that you would like to take, some indicative research questions, proposed methods, and an indication of any theories or literature that you think will be especially relevant for this project. 

We will hold an online information session on 14 December from 12.00 to 13.00. Please sign up to attend this here.


Funding Notes

This project is part of the Centre for Doctoral Training in New Horizons in Borders and Bordering, which is pleased to be able to offer funding for two home fee paying studentships and one international fee paying studentship for this CDT. In addition, a Research Training Support Grant of £2,250 is available for each studentship across the funded period to support the costs of research, such as fieldwork and conference attendance.
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