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Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat

Mapping and Documenting Migratory Journeys and Experiences

Migrant deaths en route to the European Union are by no means new. Yet the level and intensity of recent tragedies is unprecedented: More than 3770 deaths were recorded in 2015, demanding swift action on the part of EU Member States.

Dr Vicki Squire (PaIS, Warwick), together with an international and multidisciplinary team of Co-Investigators including Dr Dallal Stevens (Warwick Law School), Professor Nick Vaughan-Williams (PAIS, Warwick), Dr Angeliki Dimitriadi (ELIAMEP, Athens), and Dr Maria Pisani (Malta), have been awarded an ESRC Urgency Grant (150K) for the project entitled 'Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by boat: Mapping and documenting migratory journeys and experiences'.

The project produces a timely and robust evidence base as grounds for informing policy interventions developed under emergency conditions across the Mediterranean. It does so by assessing the impact of such interventions on those that they affect most directly: migrants or refugees themselves. The project undertakes such an assessment by engaging the journeys and experiences of people migrating, asking:

  • What are the impacts of policy interventions on migratory journeys and experiences across the Mediterranean?
  • How do refugees and migrants negotiate complex and entwined migratory and regulatory dynamics?
  • In what ways can a European policy agenda be re-shaped to address concerns such as migrant deaths at sea more effectively?

In its first phase (autumn 2015), the project focuses on three EU island arrival points in Greece, Italy and Malta . Phase 2 (spring/summer 2016) diversifies sites along key routes, to include Athens, Berlin, Istanbul and Rome. Qualitative interview data, both textual and visual, is produced through an interdisciplinary participatory research approach. The project contributes: an interdisciplinary perspective on the legal and social implications of policy interventions in the region; a comparative perspective on migratory routes and methods of travel across the Mediterranean; a qualitative analysis of the journeys and experiences of refugees and migrants; and methodological insights into participatory research under challenging conditions.