About the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS)

The Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) works to advance and promote the University’s expertise in the emerging field of superdiversity. We are the first institute in the UK and one of the first globally to focus on superdiversity.

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The Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) is one of the leading institutions framing the study of superdiversity, drawing together academics from across the UK and the rest of the world to consolidate expertise and generate new thinking in the field. We have secured academic research grants from wide-ranging funders such as the EU, ESRC, AHRC, NIHR, British Academy, Leverhulme Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Urban Land Institute, focussing on some of the most important social issues of our time, and exploring the perspectives of multiple actors facing global challenges. IRiS has been at the forefront of new ways of thinking and new methodological approaches that have helped influence public policy and impact service delivery with more effective models of support.  Our programme of Masterclasses and development of toolkits have helped institutions working with Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children and refugees to develop effective services to help support vulnerable new arrivals.

We continue to develop cutting edge research that builds the capacity and resilience of organisations, practitioners and communities. Research highlights include:

-          MEDMIG; our work on the refugee crises has shed light on the dynamics of the migrant journey across Mediterranean routes. This has developed greater understanding of the motivating factors behind migrant journeys, knowledge of routes and the dangers inherent within them. We have also uncovered critical information regarding the interaction of migrants with the state and the barriers and opportunities this presents.

-          UPWEB; The Welfare Bricolage Project is examining how residents in superdiverse communities have developed their own approach to healthcare through the combining of formal, informal and virtual services to address their needs. The project is highlighting not only inequalities in healthcare but also new models of healthcare provision which will impact the way in which resources are utilised in future.

-          Becoming Adult; as more children are granted refugee and asylum status in new countries, it has become essential to identify suitable pathways to greater health & wellbeing, supporting their future independence and prosperity. Becoming Adult is enhancing our understanding of the lived experiences of young refugees as they settle in a new country, increasing practitioners understanding of how best to support this vulnerable group.

In addition to our focus on creating new theoretical approaches to academic research, IRiS is pioneering new work in co-production, harnessing our thinking and expertise to engage communities and practitioners and help improve public services and to support civil society. Through the Community Practitioner Research Programme (CPRP) we have trained significant numbers of practitioners including social workers, community workers, emergency services staff and civil servants in social research methodologies. This work is enabling them to identify areas of their work where new forms of best practice could be developed and underpin their ideas with a robust evidence based approach.

 

Owing to the success of this work we are extending our community reach and our impact on key public policy themes across the field of superdiversity. Our current and future focus will take in Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children, migrant maternity and the resettlement of Syrian refugees. To support these new areas we have taken our knowledge and expertise built up through rigorous academic research and are now applying this to specialist training; developing toolkits and new resources that will directly influence policy and everyday service interventions for communities. We are working with practitioners and service users to ensure a collaborative approach to practice based support, ensuring that Universities and researchers have a dedicated pathway to wider public engagement, bringing academic research to life and making it accessible to all citizens.  Our approach to community engagement has influenced the development of programmes at partner universities in German, Portugal, Sweden and Australia.

 

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For more information about IRiS’s activities and how you can get involved contact IRiS Manager Ann Bolstridge a.bolstridge@bham.ac.uk or Director Professor Jenny Phillimore.