New academy is dedicated to African migration research and development.  

Wits University’s African Centre of Migration and Society (ACMS) is home to a new academy focused on migration research and the development of African migration scholars. 

The African Academy for Migration Research (AAMR), launched on Thursday, August 26, 2021, is an initiative of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA). The academy is funded by UK Research and Innovation, an organisation responsible for supporting research and knowledge exchange in higher education institutes.  

The AAMR aims to encourage and support the professional development of the next generation of African migration scholars by building their research capacity. 

“These aims will be achieved through a series of activities including regional thematic institutes, local workshops and individual research visits and exchanges,” said Professor Jo Vearay, director of the ACMS at Wits. 

It is the first academy in South Africa dedicated specifically to migration research according to Linda Musariri, postdoctoral researcher at ACMS and coordinator of the academy. 

It is important to have an academy such as this because “there could not be a more opportune time to talk about the significance of migration than in the time where human mobility is largely constrained, medicalised and obviously politicised, as a result of the pandemic”, said Musariri. 

“It is an opportune time to bring young scholars together to critically engage on theoretical, conceptual as well as methodological issues on what Africa-led research in human mobility could or should look like.”   

The ACMS is Africa’s leading scholarly institution for research and teaching mobility. It is an independent, interdisciplinary and internationally engaged institute that explores the relationships between human movement politics, poverty and social transformation. 

The ACMS is part of Wits’ school of social science and offers master’s and doctoral degrees in migration and displacement studies. 

Musariri told Wits Vuvuzela that, “It is definitely a great initiative that seeks to strengthen networks and bridge capacity across the African continent with the goal of building continentally led approaches to research in migration. 

“It feeds directly into the ACMS vision to become an internationally engaged, Africa-based centre of excellence for research,” she said. 

The academy offers top-up grants that will support the completion of doctoral and postdoctoral projects focusing on human mobility in various academic disciplines. Scholars can apply for the grants on the AAMR website. 

The academy will be hosting a series of virtual training institutes aiming to produce popular publications that can be shared on AAMR’s learning and resource platform. It will assist with peer learning through interactive engagement between participants from different research backgrounds. 

The first virtual training institute will take place from November 23 to 30, 2021. It will be looking at topics such as global health histories and contemporary migration. Upcoming institutes will be centred on knowledge politics and production, African urbanism, social cohesion and xenophobia.  

These institutes will provide an environment for peer learning and mentorship, while supporting critical thinking and engagement.  

The AAMR is looking for early career researchers working in the fields of migration and health who would like to participate in interactive virtual training. 

“We have received some applications and we are still expecting more to come,” said Musariri. More information on how to apply is available on the website. 

FEATURED IMAGE: The AAMR aims to support and build the research capacity of African migration scholars. Photo: Supplied