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Research and Innovation


Routes is a platform characterised at its core by a truly academically-informed bottom-up approach. We incorporate our diverse disciplinary expertise with grassroots activism, collaboration with non-governmental organisations, and the direct voice of people who have moved.

The goal is to use perspectives from a variety of disciplinary traditions to create new knowledge, and to intervene in debates, policy processes and practice on the issues of human mobility, migration and displacement. In so doing we aim to build understanding, capacity, and to attain sustainability, through reciprocal knowledge-sharing with colleagues, students and organisations in and outside academia, as well as to create links with other groups working in this field.

Drawing together wide-ranging migration expertise, through idea building workshops, co-teaching, and collaborative projects, Routes seeks to advance and test theory, gain new knowledge and inform law, policy, practice and social endeavours, in a wide variety of contexts. In contributing to the scope of possible visions of the future, we also aim to make our knowledge accessible to our co-creators and users beyond the academy, and in non-state contexts.

Routes was founded in 2017, and is coordinated by Professor Nick Gill, Professor Helena Wray, Professor Elena Isayev and Dr Ben Hudson

"To me, Migration is interdisciplinary by character, and my research can only advance in an interdisciplinary context. When I joined Exeter University I was excited to find that Nick Gill was also working here, because his work on migration is so excellent and he has a great reputation. Then Nick introduced me to Elena Isayev, who –apart from her amazing research - has this incredible dynamism, energy and imagination. Together we founded Routes.

It soon became clear that we wanted to have something practically oriented. We all have connections with activists, lawyers and practitioners, and we are united by a strong sense of belief in a greater fairness and openness in the migration system. It is more than a theoretical, academic interest, we feel passionately about the issues around migration and want to contribute to the discussion. With Ben Hudson now having joined us as a co-coordinator, and Nicole Hoellerer and Hannah Cowdell as facilitators, we are taking Routes forward."

Helena Wray