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Transnational lives and re-crossing borders: memory, place and belonging


   Department of Landscape Architecture

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  Ms Clare Rishbeth  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. While the initial border crossings of forced and elective migration gain most prominence in scholarship and news agendas, this project explores how re-crossing borders continues as a meaning-rich experience for first generation migrants. The focus of the research is on the experiences of settled UK residents who visit countries of childhood either regularly or infrequently, with the aim of deepening understanding of migration impacts over the lifecourse. The project will explore connections between transnational identities and the nature of place (geographic, relational, legal and emotional dimensions) as heightened by border-crossing and bordering practices, how these are experienced differently and negotiated over time through the opportunities of international mobility. 

The research examines the relationship between the local and the international through two spatial-temporal dimensions to re-crossing borders. The first is the experience of shifts in ‘othering’ - sense of belonging 'here', ability to visit 'there' - as an individual or family journeys between current and previous home countries. The second explores the reflective meanings of these visits in relation to ‘now’ and ‘then’, the contemporary border crossing as situated in comparison to memories of their initial migration and arrival in the UK.

Methods used will be qualitative and participatory with the student expected to develop an approach which reflects their own interests and community connections. The project could focus either on one diaspora living in the UK (e.g. Jamaican, Somalian) or one neighbourhood in the UK with multiple migration histories and journeys. The student will be supported to find creative and mutually engaging methods for documenting participants' socio-spatial experiences of home (UK) neighbourhoods, visit preparations, experiences of border-crossings and arrival, re-establishing (previous home) practices and social networks and then returning to the UK. Reflective processes will be embedded throughout to give space to the role of memory and participant explorations of their own transnational identities.

Admissions Criteria 

  • 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 sessions on 14 December from 12.00 to 13.00. You can sign-up for the session 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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Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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