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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Laura Jeffery

Laura Jeffery
Professor Laura Jeffery
Professor of Anthropology of Migration
5.20 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44 (131) 651 3860
Research Interests
Forced displacement, Migration studies, Environmental anthropology, Critical heritage studies, Environment and society, Conservation and development, Human-environment relations, Migration and development, intangible cultural heritage, advocacy, creative engagement, Chagos, Mauritius, Seychelles, Maldives, Indian Ocean

Guidance and Feedback Hours

  • By appointment


I am a social anthropologist specialising in creative engagement with displacement and migration, intangible cultural heritage (ICH), human/environment relations, and conservation and development.

My ongoing work includes a series of Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) projects with Mariangela Palladino, Sébastien Bachelet, and Mairi O'Gorman. We are currently running two projects: MADAR: Maghreb Action on Displacement and Rights (GCRF Development Award, 2019-20), in collaboration with Racines, Caritas, Notre Culture D'Abord, and colleagues at universities in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia; and MARAM: Mobilising Access to Rights for Artists in Morocco (AHRC KEI grant, 2019-20), in collaboration with Dounia Benslimane and Aadel Essandani of Racines in Casablanca. MARAM builds on our previous project Arts for Advocacy: Creative Engagement with Forced Displacement in Morocco (ESRC-AHRC Forced Displacement grant, 2016-18), in collaboration with GADEM (Groupe antiraciste d'Accompagnement et de Défense des Etrangers et Migrants) in Rabat. Visit to view our virtual exhibitions and to download our creative arts, migration, and advocacy toolkit.

I worked with Luke Heslop and Rebecca Rotter on the development of connective infrastructure in Maldives, as part of Edward Simpson's ERC Consolidator Grant Roads and the politics of thought: Ethnographic approaches to infrastructure development in South Asia (2015-20).

My longstanding engagement with the displaced Chagossian community from the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean culminated in the inscription of Chagossian music, sega tambour Chagos, on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding on Human Rights Day 10 December 2019. The nomination file drew on CHAGOS: Cultural Heritage Across Generations (AHRC KEI grant 2017-18 and ESRC IAA 2018-19), which I ran in collaboration with Rebecca Rotter, Chagossian groups, Vinesh Hookoomsing, Saradha Soobrayen, and Crawley Museum. Visit to browse our virtual exhibits, download Chagossian recipe cards, and listen to the Chagos Tambour Group album released in 2018. Our work on Chagossian cultural heritage built upon my previous research on: debates about environmental knowledge in the context of the controversial Chagos Marine Protected Area and the UK government’s policy review on resettlement of the Chagos Archipelago (ESRC Research Fellowship 2009-15); Chagossian onward migration to the UK (Leverhulme ECF 2006-08); and the politics of victimhood amongst forcibly displaced Chagos islanders in Mauritius and Seychelles (ESRC PhD/PDF 2001-06).



Edited Collections

Journal Articles

Please email me for a PDF if you do not have library access to these journals.

Book Chapters

Topics interested in supervising

I welcome enquiries about supervision relating to my research interests in: creative engagement with displacement and migration; critical heritage studies; intangible cultural heritage (ICH); environment and society; human-environment relations; conservation and development; islands of the Western Indian Ocean, especially Chagos, Mauritius, Rodrigues, Agalega, Seychelles, Maldives, and Réunion; anthropology of Britain.

If you are interested in being supervised by Laura Jeffery, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Social Anthropology