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Routes uses interdisciplinary research to enable its members to engage collaboratively in investigation of all aspects of human mobility, migration and displacement.

Routes was launched in 2017 and is coordinated by Dr Nick Gill, Dr Ben Hudson, Professor Elena Isayev and Dr Helena Wray at the University of Exeter.


About Routes


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Routes is a platform characterised at its core by a truly academically-informed bottom-up approach. We incorporate our diverse disciplinary expertise with grassroots activism, collaboration with non-governmental organisations, and the direct voice of people who have moved.


The goal is to use perspectives from a variety of disciplinary traditions to create new knowledge, and to intervene in debates, policy processes and practice on the issues of human mobility, migration and displacement. In so doing we aim to build understanding, capacity, and to attain sustainability, through reciprocal knowledge-sharing with colleagues, students and organisations in and outside academia, as well as to create links with other groups working in this field.


Cofounder Helena Wray explains: “To me, Migration is interdisciplinary by character, and my research can only advance in an interdisciplinary context. When I joined Exeter University I was excited to find that Nick Gill was also working here, because his work on migration is so excellent and he has a great reputation. Then Nick introduced me to Elena Isayev, who –apart from her amazing research - has this incredible dynamism, energy and imagination. Together we founded Routes”.


Drawing together wide-ranging migration expertise, through idea building workshops, co-teaching, and collaborative projects, Routes seeks to advance and test theory, gain new knowledge and inform law, policy, practice and social endeavours, in a wide variety of contexts. In contributing to the scope of possible visions of the future, we also aim to make our knowledge accessible to our co-creators and users beyond the academy, and in non-state contexts.


“It soon became clear that we wanted to have something practically oriented,“ says Helena. “We all have connections with activists, lawyers and practitioners, and we are united by a strong sense of belief in a greater fairness and openness in the migration system. It is more than a theoretical, academic interest, we feel passionately about the issues around migration and want to contribute to the discussion. With Ben Hudson joining us as a co-coordinator, and Karin Venema as a facilitator we are taking Routes forward”.






Helpful Resources

Exeter Organisations Supporting Refugees

In July 2021, Routes Co-ordinator Helena Wray, University of Exeter student, Alice Deasy and Refugee Support Devon collaborated to create a list of resources for refugees and asylum seekers living in Exeter. The organisations listed in it have been selected because of their welcoming and inclusive approach and range from legal advice providers to football teams via drama groups, gardening groups and English language tuition. The work was funded by a SSIS internship and is designed to provide an accessible resource that can be used by individuals. It is available here Exeter Organisations Supporting Refugees August 2021.pdf, and can be downloaded – it is available for use by any individual or support organisations for whom it would be useful.

With thanks to Alice, Refugee Support Devon and University of Exeter for their support in making this happen.

Upcoming Events

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