As a natural phenomenon, humans have been migrating since the start of history, but the flow, the pattern and the reasons are continuously changing. At the core of migration is a search for opportunities — whilst for some the choices are nearly unlimited, others find themselves faced with only a few options, perhaps even only one. A common starting point for many migration journeys is conflict. However, this does not necessarily mean conflict in the sense of armed conflict. A conflict of ideas or values, over territory or resources, or with institutions, policies, cultures or the changing environment can all push people to leave their homes. Of course, these factors can overlap as well.

This year, the Migration and Conflict Team will explore a diverse spread of topics that tie back to these two key words and in the process challenge or develop existing ideas and cultivate new contributions. Whilst developing pertinent policy research in response to challenges within migration, we are also strongly conscious that not all migration is problematic and that the narrative must not be tinted in one shade. The world today is complex, migration is complex and we are here to produce carefully researched reports that will progress public understanding of this topic.

Emma Hutchinson is our Migration and Conflict Research Coordinator for 2019-20.