Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education

Migration, Mobilities and Belonging (MMoB)

Further information

Email: mmob@uwa.edu.au

MMOB logo(Photographs courtesy of Alex Soares Photography)

(Photographs courtesy of
Alex Soares Photography)

Upcoming Events

Fifth Annual WA Migration and Mobilities Update Conference

August 28th 2019

Conveners: Farida Fozdar, Donella Caspersz, and Loretta Baldassar
Wednesday 28 August 8.30am - 4.30pm, 2019
Oceans Institute, The University of Western Australia

This year the Update tackles the important question of belonging, with the theme ‘Belonging in Western Australia: Addressing Migrant and Refugee Inclusion’. Each year around 200,000 people move permanently to Australia, and many more come temporarily for work or education – how are we, as a community, meeting their needs and ensuring they feel they ‘belong’ in Australia? Our program brings together policy makers, not-for-profits, communities and academics to explore questions such as:

  • What does belonging look like?
  • What are migrants’ and ethnic minorities’ experiences of inclusion and exclusion?
  • How can services support belonging?
  • To what extent is Australia’s migration system inclusive?
  • How can we create inclusive spaces for migrants?
  • What are the roles of schools, local councils, the media, and service organisations in generating belonging?

Past Events

WA Migration and Mobilities Update Conference

Conveners: Loretta Baldassar, Donella Caspersz and Farida Fozdar
Wednesday 6th September 8:30am - 4:30pm, 2017
The University of Western Australia (UWA) University Club Banquet Hall

The theme of the third annual WA Migration and Mobilities Update conference was “Social Inclusion across the life course: youth, ageing and intergenerational issues”.

Two panel sessions focused on the two poles of life course, youth and ageing, and considered the specific issues and challenges faced by younger and older migrants. Topics included new parent visas, ageing well and culturally appropriate care for CaLD Seniors, migrant employment in aged care and other services industries, training and workforce opportunities for young migrants, settlement and social inclusion of migrant youth and international students.

The keynote address on ageing and multicultural interests was delivered by Professor Helen Barrie (Adelaide). Professor Barrie is National President of the Australian Association of Gerontology, Outgoing Director of the Hugo Centre for Migration and Population Research at the University of Adelaide and a member of the Editorial Board for the Australian Journal of Ageing.

This year, for the first time, the Update also featured a Scanlon Foundation Thought Leadership presentation. Professor Andrew Markus (Monash) presented new insights from the annual Mapping Social Cohesion national survey, focusing on life course and inter-generational topics.

The Update is an initiative of the UWA Migration, Mobilities and Belonging Research Group, and is supported by DIBP, DSS, DE, DTWD, OMI, UnionsWA, CCIWA and community and non-government organisations.

The 2017 WA Migration and Mobilities Update was sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Interests.

Conference resources 

Delegates and friends of the WA Migration and Mobilities Update conference can access the following resources from the 2017 Update:

  • Presentation slides from keynotes and panellists may be downloaded below.
  • Full videos of the opening session, the two panels and the Scanlon Foundation presentation may be accessed here.

Bruce Needham [PDF, 324.0 KB]
Updated 24 Nov 2017

International Symposium on Post-national formations and cosmopolitanism: mobilities, pluralities, identities

  • Conveners: Farida Fozdar (University of Western Australia) and  Ian Woodward (University of Southern Denmark)
  • Thursday 25th August  - Friday 26th August, 2016
  • University of Western Australia (UWA) University Club Banquet Hall 

Postnational formations, in the form of geopolitical structures, habitus, consumption and identities, offer an alternative to the hegemonic nation-state focus which has dominated social and political inquiry. Economic, security, technological and environmental issues have made national formations less significant in a global context, demanding a relational standpoint that emphasises interconnectedness. Yet simultaneously, rising levels of exclusivist nationalism and concerns about the effects of diversity on civic engagement and cohesion have generated increasingly securitised border responses from governments worldwide.
This symposium engages the questions:

  • To what extent is the contemporary world postnational?
  • How do nation-states engage the effects of mobility and the fact of diversity?
  • What identity formations are being generated in this ‘new’ environment?
  • How are everyday, elite, indigenous and material cosmopolitanisms generated and challenged in the current climate?
  • To what extent is it possible to sustain solidarity locally while oriented to the globe? Is national embeddedness necessary for a cosmopolitan outlook? Can one have an emotional connection to the globe and all people, and how is this related to other social characteristics and experiences?
  • Is global citizenship a meaningful concept?

Invited speakers (confirmed):

  • David Inglis (University of Exeter)
  • Stephen Castles (University of Sydney)
  • Brenda Yeoh (National University of Singapore)
  • Ian Woodward (University of Southern Denmark)
  • Ellie Vasta (Macquarie University)
  • Greg Noble (Western Sydney University)
  • Val Colic-Peisker (RMIT)
  • Anthony Moran (Latrobe University)
  • Indigo Willing (Griffith University)

WA Migration Update Conference

The theme of the second annual 'WA Migration and Mobilities Update' Conference is “Employment & Migration: innovation, exploitation and settlement”.

Sessions will cover the service, care and agricultural sectors; temporary and permanent migration; and the relationship between employment, settlement, and social cohesion.

The Update is an initiative of the UWA Migration, Mobilities and Belonging Research Group, and is supported by DIBP, DSS, DE, DTWD, OMI, UnionsWA, CCIWA and community and non-government organisations.

IAS Master class: Race, Mixed Race, and Identity

  • Speaker: Professor Paul Spickard
  • Thursday 11 August, 9.30am-1pm 
  • University of Western Australia (UWA), Institute of Advanced Studies

It is common in academic circles to assert that racial and ethnic identities are socially constructed entities. This Masterclass will offer students tools for examining how those identities are in fact constructed. It will explore the history of racial thinking, examine how modern racial ideas came to be, and think about how different racial and ethnic systems operate in different parts of the world. In particular, it will explore the rise in the last quarter century of the idea of racial mixedness and contemplate that idea’s impact on our ideas about race. Finally, the Masterclass will examine the possibility of racial change.

IAS Public Lecture:  Shape Shifters: journeys across terrains of race and identity. 

  • Speaker: Professor Paul Spickard
  • Wednesday 10 August 2016, 6-7pm
  • University of Western Australia, Fox Lecture Theatre, UWA Arts Building

We are accustomed to thinking of identities—racial, ethnic, national, gendered, religious—as if they were permanent, essential, unalterable features of individuals and groups. A is Black, B is Jewish, C is Chinese, and so are all of the members of their respective families and kin groups. Over the last couple of decades, however, we have begun to see such identities as at least sometimes fluid, ambiguous, contingent, multiple, and malleable.

The people whose lives are the subject of this talk are shape shifters. At different times in their lives, or over generations in their families, as they have moved from one social context to another, or as new social contexts have been imposed on them, their identities have changed from one group to another. This is not racial, ethnic, or religious imposture. It is simply the way that people’s lives have unfolded in fluid social circumstances.

Migration and Mobilities WA Update Conference

Based on the successful ‘Migration Update’ annual conference in Adelaide supported by the Dunstan Foundation, the Mobilities and Belonging research group at UWA will host the inaugural WA Migration and Mobilities Update focused on Western Australian issues around migration and internal mobility. The event will be dedicated to the late Professor Graeme Hugo, one of the leading figures in Australian migration studies. This conference applies academic expertise to policy questions through a unique dialogue approach involving policy makers, academics, service providers and community.

The conference will provide an update of current research in Western Australia and beyond. The conference will serve as a site where research-based knowledge, policy and service delivery capability and local experience are brought together to respond to migration-related social transformations.

The conference is an initiative of the Mobilities and Belonging research group at UWA, in collaboration with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (WA), the Department of Social Services, the Office of Multicultural Interests and the Department of Training and Workforce Development, together with several NGOs and community organizations including African Professionals of Australia, Migrante, CCIWA, Chung Wah Association, and WA Multicultural Assocation. Topics covered will include labour migration, contemporary social issues related to migration, Refugee settlement and questions of borders, citizenship and social cohesion.

  • Contemporary social issues and migration (Aged Care; Education; Health; Integration; International students; the value of diversity for regional competitiveness; economic/cultural value of community languages)
  • Refugee settlement
  • Migration issues In The Zone (focus on India, China, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia)
  • (re)Creating the nation (Border protection; Visa issues; Citizenship; social cohesion/resilience; belonging and temporary migrants)
  • Labour migration (Temporary work migration; Fly in Fly Out;  Regional movements)


Conference program brief: 

Final Conference Report:


Mixed Race in Australia and the Region

  • Conveners: Farida Fozdar
  • Tuesday 9 June, 2015
  • University of Western Australia (UWA)

People of ‘mixed race’ are often seen as marginal individuals managing cultural and psychological tensions, or alternatively valorised as the vanguard of an integrated, post-racial, cosmopolitan world (Edwards et al. 2012). Such dichotomies ignore the complex lived reality of being mixed – ranging from ‘passing’, to constructing multiracial identities, to embracing a cultural identity not necessarily reflected in one’s appearance (see Perkins, 2007; Paradies, 2006; Song and Aspinall, 2012; Jones, 2011). Mixed identities are not singular and fixed, but multiple and fluid (Nandi & Platt 2012; Tilbury, 2007; Paradies, 2006), often characterised by ‘ordinariness’ (Caballero, 2012) and influenced by political and social context (Luke and Luke, 1999).

Perhaps surprisingly, Australia and the region lag behind the rest of the world in research on ‘mixed race’ (Fozdar and Perkins, 2014: Paradies, 2006). The social and political contexts of mixed race in Australia, New Zealand and the region offer complex histories of colonisation and migration, making this region an important counterpoint to the large bodies of research undertaken in the UK and US. 

This symposium showcases papers on mixed race in Australia and surrounding countries - see program below.

To register (free) please contact Brian Spittles (B.Spittles@murdoch.edu.au)  by 5 June, 2015.

Invited speakers include:

  • Prof Rosalind Edwards (Southampton)
  • Dr Chamion Caballero (LSE)
  • Prof Yin Paradies (Deakin)
  • Prof David Trigger (UQ)
  • Dr Kirsten McGavin (UQ)
  • Dr Juliette Milner-Thornton

Mixed Race Symposium program:

Mobilities and Belonging Across the Lifecourse Workshop

The UWA Mobilities and Belong Research Cluster, in association with the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, is proud to present the Mobilities and Belonging Across the Lifecourse workshop. Please find programme details below. 

Workshop Program

Faith in Motion: Religion in the 21st century

The twenty-first century is often characterized as an era of unprecedented mobility and interconnectivity, but it is also marked by efforts to reinforce national borders and curtail human movement. Paradoxes of mobility and immobility in our increasingly unequal world come into sharp focus when viewed through the lens of religion. Sociologists, anthropologists, and scholars of comparative religion have long called attention to the way that religion constitutes space and place, linking particular localities to encompassing cosmic schemes. The world’s major religious traditions emerged in the context of expanding empires and markets becoming, arguably, the first truly global social movements. In the current globalizing context, relocating individuals re-establish religious communities, or transport portable, malleable beliefs and rituals. Some ‘lose their religion’ in increasingly secular contexts; others adopt ‘foreign’ religions. What is certain is that religion mutates and accommodates with movement. 

 Faith in Motion Programme

Invisible Difference: Interrogating ‘frictionless’ migration Symposium

  • Conveners: Loretta Baldassar and Farida Fozdar 
  • Wednesday 23 – Thursday 24 April, 2014
  • Law Lecture Room 2, University of Western Australia (UWA)
Masterclass for postgraduates
  • Tuesday 22 April 2014 (PM)
  • Asian Studies Seminar Room (G25), University of Western Australia (UWA)

The focus of the Master class will be on policy application, i.e., what are the policy applications/relevance of your thesis topic?


  • Dr Majella Kilkey, Reader in Social Policy, Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield, UK
  • Professor Louise Ackers, Coordinator, Sustainable Volunteering Project, University of Salford, UK 

Practitioner forum

The Moblities and Belonging Initiative, in partnership with The Australian Sociological Association, The Office of Multicultural Interests, The Settlement Council of Australia, The Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre and The Fremantle Multicultural Centre, is holding a forum for researchers; policy makers; settlement agencies; service providers; and community representatives.

What:   Settling in Western Australia: Government, Service provider, Community and Researcher Forum
Where:   Youth and Family Centre, MMRC, 17 Chesterfield Rd, Mirrabooka
When:   Wednesday 25th September, 2013, 1-4.30pm
Contact:   farida.fozdar@uwa.edu.au for more information.


The Mobilities and Belonging Initiative, in partnership with The Cultural Studies Association of Australasia, is holding a symposium, tentatively scheduled for December 2013. More details to follow.

The program for the 'Mobile Cultures: Migration, Movement and Society' can now be found below:


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