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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Laura Jeffery

Laura Jeffery
Professor Laura Jeffery FRSA
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, Conservation and development, Human-environment relations, Migration and development, Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), Arts-Based Research Methods, Migration and Health, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Guidance and Feedback Hours

  • I'm currently on research leave, so please email me for an appointment


I am a social anthropologist specialising in: 1) healthcare at the intersection of gender and protracted displacement, 2) creative engagement with migration and displacement, and 3) intangible cultural heritage and humanenvironment relations in the context of protracted displacement:

  1. Alongside Lucy Lowe, Jean-Benoit Falisse, Amina Jama Mahmud, Paulin Mutombo, Germaine Furaha, Joachim Osur, Jo Vearey, Elise Griede, and Alison Strang, I lead a UKRI GCRF Development-Based Approaches to Protracted Displacement project (2020–23) on improving healthcare at the intersection of gender and protracted displacement amongst Somali and Congolese internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees in eight field sites in Somalia, Eastern DRC, Kenya, and South Africa.
  2. My ongoing work on creative engagement with migration includes Maghreb Action on Displacement and Rights (GCRF MADAR Network Plus 2020–24) alongside Mariangela Palladino, Mehdi Lahlou, Hassen Boubakri, Saïb Musette, Sébastien Bachelet, Maria Flood, and Anastasia Valassopoulos in collaboration with Racines in Morocco, Notre Culture D'Abord in Tunisia, and Caritas in Algeria. MADAR builds upon MARAM: Mobilising Access to Rights for Artists in Morocco (AHRC KEI grant 2019-20) in collaboration with Dounia Benslimane and Aadel Essaadani at The Minority Globe, who coordinated MARAM's virtual exhibition and downloadable guide for artists in Morocco. MARAM built upon a previous collaboration with GADEM on Arts for Advocacy: Creative Engagement with Forced Displacement in Morocco (ESRC-AHRC Forced Displacement grant 2016-18), which generated a series of exhibitions and a downloadable creative arts, migration, and advocacy toolkit.
  3. My longstanding engagement with the displaced Chagossian community from the Chagos Archipelago 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 2019. The nomination file drew on CHAGOS: Cultural Heritage Across Generations (AHRC KEI grant 2017-18 and ESRC IAA 2018-19), which I led alongside Rebecca Rotter, the Chagos Refugees Groups in Mauritius and the UK, Vinesh Hookoomsing, Saradha Soobrayen, and Crawley Museum. Visit to browse our virtual exhibits, download recipe cards, and listen to the Chagos Tambour Group album we released in 2018. Our work on Chagossian cultural heritage built upon my previous research on: debates about environmental knowledge and humanenvironment relations in the context of the controversial Chagos Marine Protected Area (MPA) 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 (ESRC PhD/PDF 2001-06).

I have a longstanding ethnographic interest in the islands of the Indian Ocean, particularly Mauritius and Seychelles. More recently, I worked with Luke Heslop on labour migration and 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).



Edited Collections

Journal Articles

Open Access articles are marked [OA]. Email me for a PDF if you do not have access to the others.

Book Chapters

Topics interested in supervising

I welcome PGR supervision enquiries relating to my current research interests in: 1) healthcare at the intersection of gender and protracted displacement, 2) creative engagement with migration and displacement, and 3) intangible cultural heritage and human–environment relations in the context of protracted displacement.

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

PhD in Social Anthropology