The last few years in the United Kingdom have seen a dramatic shift in the political landscape greeting refugees: from rhetoric and policies that could be called hostile to ones that are actively expulsive.

That is the thesis explored by Professor David Herd in the talk that forms the basis for this episode. Titled “Walking the Expulsive Environment: Refugee Tales and the Politics of Welcome”, it was delivered at Queen Mary London on the 12th of June as this year’s Raphael Samuel Memorial Lecture.

David Herd is professor of poetry at the University of Kent. Since 2014, he has also been co-organiser of the project Refugee Tales, which calls to an end to policies of immigration detention and shares the stories of people who have experienced it. In his talk he explores how the policy of detaining migrants indefinitely has come to prevail and reflects upon how it might be countered.

Anti-Trump demonstration in central London, protesting the refugee policies of Donald Trump and Theresa May, January 2017. Photo by Alisdare Hickson, Wikimedia Commons.

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