This IGS workshop was held on November 21st. The purpose was to look at some of the issues facing expatriate families, who make temporary and often repeated moves across national boundaries, usually under the aegis of an employer. Such families make up a growing proportion of the international migration stream and are part of what some have called the new global community. While there has been considerable academic research focused on poor and politically persecuted migrant groups, much less attention has been given to expatriates, and still less to the issues facing the ‘trailing partner’, the majority of whom are still women. One of the aims of the day was to explore these issues and to do so, not only in a multi-disciplinary environment, but also by bringing together those with practical experience, as well as academics.
It was a rich and intensive day with eleven speakers. Kit Lowry, Lynne Kay and Marianne van Bakel examined aspects of culture. Judy Moody-Stuart, Susie Inwood and Emilie Salvesen discussed the different institutional support systems for families, provided by international businesses and the diplomatic service. Emefa Takyi, Patreeya Kitcharoan and Anne Coles looked at the dynamics of transnational families and the bonds that held them together. Judith Thomas and Anne-Marie Fechter provided the final session on mobile families and concepts of ‘home’, at compounds as temporary communities and at the effects of the internet on ‘home(s) away from home.’ Inevitably the day was too short and reflection is needed to appreciate fully the very wide range of ideas exchanged. We shall be doing more on this topic! Anne Coles with Janette Davies, Josephine Reynell, and Tina Wallace.
Here is some of the feedback:
‘I really enjoyed the workshop; I think it definitely addressed a gap in current research on experiences of expatriate migration’.
‘I found it extremely interesting and, furthermore, quite thought-provoking for many days afterwards.’
‘Well done for pulling such an interesting set of people together…I feel quite excited about exploring some of the issues in the near future’.
‘Fascinating issues raised and good quality presentations. It was a pleasure to be part of it and I look forward to the book which I think should come out of it.’
‘I was thrilled to take part and to be made so welcome not least because it is good to get other perspectives…’
‘A big thanks for organising the workshop. I really enjoyed meeting people who were looking at various aspects of the same issue – it was a thought-provoking day as well as relaxed and friendly.’
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