Professor Louise Ryan’s new book ‘Social Networks and Migration’, published in January by Bristol University Press, was officially launched at the GDIRC
Date: 24 May 2023
On Tuesday 16 May, Professor Louise Ryan held a hybrid event to mark the launch of her new monograph on social networks and migration. The well-attended event was hosted by the Global Diversities and Inequalities Research Centre, and was fully hybrid with 35 people in the room and another 40 online.
The event was chaired by Dr María López, who began by welcoming the many guests and introducing the speakers. Louise then provided a short introduction to the book and explained how the book had come about. Having published over 70 peer reviewed journal articles and several edited collections, during the last 20 years or so, Louise decided that the time was right to write a monograph, which is she described as her ‘magnum opus’ on migration.
Having been researching migration to London for the last two decades working with migrants from different countries who arrived via different routes and at different time periods, Louise decided to combine her interviews from across all these diverse research projects into one book. “It was an ambitious and somewhat daunting undertaking” said Louise, “but it proved ultimately very rewarding to bring into conversation, for the first time, all these various bodies of research data.”
Louise also shared some personal anecdotes about how her interest in social networks had begun as a child growing up in rural Ireland listening to her family talking about friends, relatives, neighbours and so becoming aware of how webs of relationality shaped people’s everyday lives and interactions. Moving to London as a young migrant in the 1990s, Louise became acutely aware of how migration means rebuilding networks from scratch and making new friends in new places.
Louise mentioned the ‘Crick Gossip’ test which advises academics to choose the research topic that they would spontaneously start to chat about with friends. In other words, follow your passion, the subject that really inspires you. Louise said this had been a guiding principle in her research career.
There then followed four short presentations by leading scholars on migration and social networks. Professor Alessio D’Angelo (University of Nottingham) and Prof Umut Erel (Open University) spoke about the pioneering contribution of Louise’s work and her book to understanding migration through the lens of social networks. Then Dr Basak Bilecen (University of Groningen) and Dr Elif Keskiner (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) who both joined the event online from the Netherlands, spoke about how Louise’s work was advancing the field of social network analysis in several significant ways.
This event not only marked the launch of Louise’s book but also her wider contribution to migration research. It also celebrated the thriving research culture at London Met as many members of the Global Diversities and Inequalities research centre attended including numerous PhD students. The event provided an opportunity to socialise over refreshments, to network and plan future collaborations.
The success of the launch was due in large part to the hard work of many colleagues including the Research and Postgraduate Office, especially Anna Kamyk, Ifeanyi Nwachukwu, student assistant the Global Diversities and Inequalities Research Centre, the catering team, particularly Bret and Alex, as well the IT team for their support with the hybrid format.