Migrants and refugees - the local perspective

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Donald Trump's ban on immigration from Muslim countries has propelled the issue of migration and refugees into the news headlines once again.

Migrants, including refugees from war and persecution, have played a vital role in the shaping of South Australia's history and culture over many decades.

At the University of Adelaide, Professor Rachel Ankeny (Department of History) has been leading a research team on a major project known as Hostel Stories, which delves into the experiences of migrants who travelled to South Australia from the 1940s to the 1990s, and who spent their first days in Adelaide living in one of the government- or employer-sponsored hostels in and around the city.

This project has led to a richer understanding of migrant experiences, including where migrants have chosen to settle in Adelaide and why, and how that has impacted on our communities.

Professor Ankeny presented some of her work at a history conference in Adelaide this week, following on from a recently published paper in the journal Australian Geographer.

The findings of the project include:

  • better understanding the complexities of experience that shape migrants' settlement decisions

  • how metropolitan Adelaide has avoided the kinds of intensive migrant "ghettos" seen in other parts of the world, and what that means for the development of our multicultural society

  • how the clustering of non-English-speaking migrants in Adelaide suburbs has come about, and (despite some concerns and fears in the community) how this in fact has aided the long-term assimilation and adjustment of migrants into South Australia

  • the commonality of experiences of migrants from a range of countries and continents, despite individual circumstances varying from each ethnic group over long periods of time

  • the role of government policies in helping to shape migrant experiences

  • the value of better understanding the range of human experiences associated with migration.


Contact Details

Professor Rachel Ankeny
Email: rachel.ankeny@adelaide.edu.au
Department of History
School of Humanities
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5570
Mobile: +61 (0)414 893 379

Mr David Ellis
Email: david.ellis@adelaide.edu.au
Website: https://www.adelaide.edu.au/newsroom/
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762