The Senate approved and recommended to the Board of Governors the establishment of the Center for Migration Studies within the Faculty of Arts.
The idea was first conceptualized in 2018 by the Center’s Director, Dr. Antje Ellermann, a professor in the Department of Political Science, as a “cluster of research excellence” under the leadership of the Vice President of Research and Innovation Center (VPRI) with the goal of connecting UBC migration researchers.
“We applied for funding with this idea that there are so many professors and graduate students working on migration issues, but everyone is doing it in their own department and people are not really connected to each other. to others, even though studying migration is something that overlaps many different disciplines,” Ellermann said.
Following its approval as an official Center by the Faculty of Arts in 2020, the Center sought further Senate approval for greater administrative freedom to “better position the Center to pursue its goal of becoming a globally recognized leader in the growing field of migration”. research”, according to the proposal of the Senate.
These freedoms include the ability to administer its own grants, facilitate cross-faculty collaboration beyond the Faculty of Arts, invite visiting scholars from outside UBC, and appoint community members as honorary research associates.
On the research front, the Center plans to solidify its research trajectory and establish targets for collaborative research. While this process is in its early planning stages, Ellermann said there is strong interest in “bringing migration and indigeneity together and thinking about colonization issues in the context of immigration.”
In addition to connecting migration researchers at UBC, the Center plans to build relationships with the general public and various community groups. For the general public, the Center will continue to host events such as research conferences, roundtables, community lunches and workshops.
In terms of community partners, the Center has partnered with organizations such as the Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC and the Immigrant Services Society of BC. Ellermann hopes these partnerships can improve Center operations and meet community needs.
“We have established a community advisory board that will meet twice a year to provide feedback on priorities or programming to the [Centre’s] Executive Committee. Community voices who can look at what we do in terms of relevance to them? What is missing? What are they looking for that is not currently happening? »
Ellermann also said these community partnerships can benefit the research outcomes of the respective organizations themselves, noting the support that UBC is able to provide. For example, while many of these organizations conduct their own research, they may not have the infrastructure or methodological skills to meet their required capacity – a gap that the Center could fill.
Thinking back to when she submitted the original Emerging Clusters grant to VPRI, Ellermann said she was extremely grateful for UBC’s support.
“At that time, I didn’t even think as far as there could be a Center. It started out as a year-by-year project, but then it came to life and I realized that a lot could be accomplished with the support available at UBC.