Keynote Speakers

Scientific Committee

Organising Committee

Keynote Speakers


Peter Gatrell

University of Manchester

Peter Gatrell has spent much of the past 20 years studying the history of population displacement in the modern world. His books include a trilogy on refugee history: A Whole Empire Walking: Refugees in Russia during World War 1 (Indiana University Press, 1999), Free World? The campaign to save the world's refugees, 1956-1963 (Cambridge University Press, 2011), and The Making of the Modern Refugee (Oxford University Press, 2013). He also retains an interest in the economic and social history of modern Russia to which he devoted much of the first half of his academic career.

His new book on the history of Europe since 1945, with a focus on migration in/to Europe, will appear with Penguin Books and Basic Books in May 2019.

He has directed several research projects on population displacement, state-building and social identity in the aftermath of the First World War and the Second World War. In July 2018, he started a three-year collaborative research project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, entitled “Reckoning with refugeedom: refugee voices in modern history, 1919 to 1975”.

Peter is affiliated to the University of Manchester’s Humanitarian and Conflict Research Institute (HCRI). In 2011, he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.


Romola Sanyal



Romola Sanyal's main interests and expertise regard the social and political implications of architecture, urban geopolitics, urban theory, housing and citizenship rights. She has written on the politics of space in refugee settlements, looking at processes of ‘informalisation’ in the global south with particular focus on Lebanon and India.

Her current research turns to the urbanization of specific areas in Lebanon through the infrastructures of humanitarian aid and development, having recently arrived in response to the Syrian refugee crisis. But, she has also recently written on the impact of platform economies (e.g. Airbnb) on urban environments, planning and governance (along with Mara Ferreri) and has commented on the modes of representation instigated by ‘slum tours’ in the global south. Further journal publications include ‘Squatting in Camps: Building and Insurgency in Spaces of Refuge’ (Urban Studies, 2011); ‘Urbanising Refuge: Interrogating Spaces of Displacement’ (International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 2014); and ‘Refugees and the City: An Urban Discussion’ (Geography Compass, 2015).

Sanyal obtained her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. She joined as an Assistant Professor of Urban Geography at the LSE in 2013, after having spent time at the Development Planning Unit at UCL. She has previously taught at Rice University, Texas, and Newcastle University.


Paolo Boccagni

University of Trento

Paolo Boccagni is an Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Trento, Italy, and leads the ERC-StG research project ‘HOMInG’ - The Home-Migration Nexus (; 2016-2021). His main areas of expertise are international migration, transnationalism, social welfare, care, diversity and the concept of home. 

His current research regards processes of home-making and home-feeling with a primary focus on migrants and ethnic minorities. This focus is strategic for understanding the everyday negotiation of boundaries between native and foreign-born populations. Besides conducting a multi-sited comparative study of the home experience of migrants and their counterparts, Boccagni conceives "homing" as a lifelong set of processes through which individuals and groups try to make themselves at home, in light of their views, values and feelings about it, and of the structure of opportunities available to them. He is also currently doing research on the home views, cultures and trajectories of asylum seekers in Italy.  

His relevant publications include his recent book Migration and the Search for Home. Mapping Domestic Space in Migrants’ Everyday Lives (Palgrave, 2017) and the articles ‘What’s in a (migrant) house? Changing domestic spaces, the negotiation of belonging and home-making in Ecuadorian migration’ (Housing,Theory and Society, 2014); ‘Immigrants and home in the making’ (with A.M. Brighenti, Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, 2017); ‘At home in home care: Contents and boundaries of the 'domestic' among immigrant live-in workers in Italy’ (Housing Studies, 2018).

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Scientific Committee

Hilde Heynen (KULeuven) 

Johan Lagae (Ghent University)

Els de Vos (University of Antwerp)

Viviana d’Auria (KULeuven)

Mark Crinson (Birkbeck College)

Alona Nitzan-Shiftan (EAHN former president)

Stephen Cairns (ETH, Singapore)

Lilian Chee (National University of Singapore)

Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi (Barnard College)

Romola Sanyal (London School of Economics)

Peter Gatrell (University of Manchester)

Paolo Boccagni (University of Trento)

Luce Beeckmans (Ghent University)

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Organising Committee

Hilde Heynen, Professor (KU Leuven)

Alessandra Gola, PhD Candidate (KU Leuven)

Anamica Singh, PhD Candidate (KU Leuven)

Ashika Singh, PhD Candidate (KU Leuven)

Johan Lagae, Professor (Gent University)

Els de Vos, Associate Professor (University of Antwerp)

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