Migrant mothers caring for the future: creative interventions in making new citizens

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK, in 2013-2015, this network brings together academics, practitioners and users to improve our understanding of how migrant mothers bring up their children. When migrant mothers raise children in a new society, they bring with them bedtime stories, nursery rhymes and games from their country of origin, but combine these with those in the new country. Migrant mothers are often seen as guardians of an ethnic tradition, but they are also important in enabling their family members to make a home for themselves in a new country. In this way, mothers bring up future citizens who can relate to the country of residence, the country of their parents and their own neighbourhood. Crucially, through their work of caring for their children and negotiating cultural difference, as well as the social changes involved in migrating, migrant mothers make themselves as citizens. Public debates and policy often present migrant mothers as near the margins or boundaries of the nation they live in; they are seen as recipients of social services, in need of integration. This network brings together contributions of academics, artists, family and migration practitioners. On this website we present some of the key work on these issues through videos of academic presentations, practitioners’ roundtable discussions and migrant mothers’ theatrical enactments. We hope this will be of use to teachers, students, policy makers and practitioners working with migrant families, and all who are interested in these issues.

PI: Umut Erel, The Open University; CIs: Tracey Reynolds, University of Greenwich; Consultant: Erene Kaptani, The Open University