The Kenneth Kirkwood Day: Migration

Saturday 11 March, 9.45 - 16.15 

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Members: £30 (Online £10); Non-members: £40 (Online £15)

Book your in-person ticket here

Book your online ticket here

Ticket price for in-person attendees includes lunch and refreshments.


This year's Kenneth Kirkwood Day will explore the theme of migration, both contemporary and historic, with four eminent speakers discussing topics including modern-day migration, the settlement of the Pacific islands spanning 50,000 years, the movement of the Bantu-speaking peoples throughout Africa and Elizabethan attitudes towards migration.

Speakers & Talks

Dr Nando Sigona, Professor of International Migration and Forced Displacement and Director of the Institute for Research into Superdiversity at the University of Birmingham, UK. 

Talk: The Changing Politics of Migration in 'Global Britain'

Brexit has changed who comes to the UK, from where in the world and on what terms. New immigration rules and regulations have been designed to 'take back control' of the country's borders. Less visible is the role that migration governance is playing in the making of the promised 'Global Britain'. However, there was more to the pledge to control immigration than just cutting numbers. From the referendum onwards, migration to the UK from the EU has indeed fallen. And not only are fewer people coming from the EU but more migrants originating in the EU have returned to the other side of the English Channel. At the same time, immigration from elsewhere in the world has increased, with some within the British government calling for restrictions on immigration to be further relaxed in order to meet emergent needs within the labour market.

Dr Andrew Spicer, Research lead and Professor of Early Modern European History School of History, Philosophy and Culture, Oxford Brookes University.

Talk: Immigration in the Elizabethan Age

Boatloads of refugees were arriving daily; the government was alarmed. There was anxiety and suspicion about these new arrivals. Were they genuine refugees or economic migrants? Were they spies or individuals who threatened national security? Were they religious radicals and extremists? Did the sheer number of immigrants threaten to overwhelm existing welfare resources and become a burden on the state? Would they take jobs from native Englishmen and cause a spike in rents? While these might seem to be contemporary concerns about immigration, the year was 1572, not 2022. This talk will explore these governmental anxieties and the issues that surrounded migration in the first Elizabethan age.

Dr Shadreck Chirikure, Edward Hall Professor of Archaeological Science, Director of RLAHA, British Academy Global Professor, University of Oxford.

Talk: Bantu Migrations and Their Implications for Contemporary Southern Africa

This talk discusses the evidence for the Bantu migrations working across archaeology, linguistics and molecular anthropology. It shows that movement was an inherent feature of ancient Africans. Colonial boundaries created artificial nation states that are now breeding grounds for nationalism and xenophobia in the post colony. The talk will end by highlighting some of the lessons studies of Bantu migrations might have for challenges with migration in the contemporary world.

Dr Dylan Gaffney, From Michaelmas of 2023, will begin as Associate Professor of Palaeolithic Archaeology at the School of Archaeology at Oxford, currently Junior Research Fellow at St John’s College, University of Oxford.

Talk: Fifty Thousand Years of Human Migration in the Pacific Ocean

Dr Gaffney will explore how the Pacific Islands were first peopled, from the last Ice Age (50,000 years ago) to the end of our current Holocene warm period. Archaeological evidence for these migrations tells a story of ingenuity, curiosity and resilience as humans crossed water gaps several thousand kilometres in length, adapted their behaviours and transformed their island environments, coming to thrive on even the most precipitous and remote atolls. The talk will conclude by reflecting on what the deep history of migration and behavioural changes in the Pacific can tell us about impending challenges for human livelihoods in the coming centuries.


Nando Sigona Is Professor of International Migration and Forced Displacement and Director of the Institute for Research into Superdiversity at the University of Birmingham, UK. Nando is a founding editor of the peer-reviewed journal Migration Studies (Oxford University Press) and lead editor for the Global Migration and Social Change book series (Bristol University Press).

His research interests include: the migration and citizenship nexus; undocumented migration; naturalisation, denaturalisation and statelessness; Romani politics and anti-Gypsyism; asylum and EU; Brexit and intra-European mobility; and child and youth migration.

He is Senior Research Associate and ODI and held visiting research and teaching positions at the University of Oxford, University of Bergen and the European University Institute.

Andrew Spicer is Professor of Early Modern European History at Oxford Brookes University. He was President of the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference (2022-22), Literary Director of the Royal Historical Society (2016-21) and is currently editor of Studies in Church History for the Ecclesiastical History Society. His doctoral thesis focussed on an immigrant community in Elizabethan England and he has continued to publish in this field, although his current research focuses on other aspects of the socio-cultural impact of the Reformation.

Daniel Gaffney is currently a Junior Research Fellow at St John's College, Oxford. He finished a PhD in archaeology at the University of Cambridge in 2021 on population movements and behavioural change in the Raja Ampat Islands of West Papua. Before that, he was a Research Coordinator at Southern Pacific Archaeological Research in New Zealand and completed a research MA and BA Hons on the archaeology of New Guinea at the University of Otago, working in the highlands and northeast coast of Papua New Guinea. In Michaelmas 2023, he will begin as Associate Professor of Palaeolithic Archaeology at the School of Archaeology, Oxford.