Oxford, Wits University to launch jointly directed Mobility Governance Lab

ODID and the African Centre for Migration and Society (ACMS) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg have signed an innovative partnership agreement to launch a jointly directed ‘lab’ that will explore the governance of mobility in the global South.

Populations, politics, and socialities are increasingly defined by spatial mobility: displacement, long-distance emigration, and widespread – but often underexplored – patterns of urbanisation and domestic and regional mobility.

The two institutions are seeking to understand and address the opportunities and challenges this mobility presents and have signed an agreement to develop the Mobility Governance Lab (MGL) to enable this.

Scheduled for formal launch in October 2021, the jointly managed initiative will explore the governance of mobility at multiple scales across the global South – from emergency relief measures to global governance frameworks; from municipal planning and zoning regulations, to gendered generational expectations; and formal and informal mechanisms that inform aspirations, possibility, and politics.

Co-directed by Jean Pierre Misago at Wits and Loren B Landau at Oxford, it is intended as an autonomous, critical space working to realise principles of innovation, independence, and equitable partnership. Through collaborative research, it will offer original insight and perspectives to scholars, civil society, and practitioners while fostering the next generation of engaged researchers from Africa and beyond.

 “This new collaboration provides a fantastic opportunity to build an equitable collaboration between two leading institutions in the UK and South Africa”, said Diego Sánchez-Ancochea, ODID Head of Department. “We are particularly excited about the exchange of ideas and the research collaboration in one of the key challenges of our time: the governance of mobility across borders”.

 “The MGL provides exciting opportunities for both established and early career researchers from Wits and Oxford to collectively – and creatively – develop an African-oriented and internationally relevant research agenda in the field of migration governance,” said Jo Vearey of ACMS. “With an emphasis on building ethical and equitable research partnerships, and embedding support to the next generation of migration scholars, the MGL will contribute to the generation of new knowledge in a sustainable way”.

Those interested in following MGL can bookmark their soon-to-be-launched website, or follow them on Twitter.