Letter from the Director

An email sent to members on 10 October 2018

Dear Researchers for Asylum Seekers members,

Over the last two RAS meetings, we have decided to dissolve the group and re-organise its activities. I am writing to you to announce this decision and to urge you to stay connected to those activities going forward. Later in this email there will be several links you can click on to make that happen. Please do!

Our decision to bring RAS to a close was made for a few reasons. One is the continuing challenge of keeping enough people involved to justify the effort of organising meetings and events. People are busy and they move around: we understand. The second is that the institutional environment for refugee and asylum seeker research is now much stronger in our home at the University of Melbourne than it was when RAS was founded. In particular, the Melbourne Social Equity Institute (MSEI) has been a splendid supporter of RAS, and the Refugee and Forced Migration Studies PhD Program that it hosts – coordinatedby RAS stalwart Karen Block – has done a fine job of building capacity in the field. Given that RAS is run by volunteers and that the MSEI supports a research program on refugees and forced migration, MSEI will absorb some of the core RAS activities. Let me describe what will happen, and how you can stay connected to us:

1. The Conference
The RAS Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference goes back well over a decade. This year’s conference, on November 15, is the last one we will hold under the RAS banner. However, the conference will continue to run in 2019 and beyond under the aegis of the MSEI. Please register for the 2018  conference to be part of history!
Click here to register

2. The RAS Blog 
Under Tom Whitford’s direction, the Refugee Research Blog has been going from strength to strength, publishing many informative short pieces. It will continue to exist but without RAS badging, and we have plans for it to develop further. One of those plans is a new name. To subscribe to what will become “Refugee Research Online”, join it!
Click here to subscribe

3. The Email list
This list, which includes over 400 people, will be discontinued shortly. For updates about the work of MSEI, including theRefugee and Forced Migration Studies PhD program, I encourage you to subscribe to their email list. For other updates and news, you can also connect with MSEI via social media.
Click here to join the MSEI newsletter list
Follow on Twitter
Follow on Facebook

4. The RAS Website
The RAS website has suffered from a lack of updating. It will be closed down but the few items of continuing relevance, notably the Refugees’ Australian Stories site, will be transferred to the Refugee Research Blog.

5. RAS Social media Under Kylie Tran’s oversight, our Facebook and Twitter presence continues to grow. If you have not joined us there, please do. Doing so will ensure you are aware of new content on the Refugee Research Blog.
Follow on Twitter
Follow on Facebook

Closing down RAS is a melancholy thing to do. We have been around for 14 years, beginning in 2004. We have done some very good things: a successful annual conference, many public events, positive activities for asylum seekers, two important books, policy briefs, a few research projects. We have helped to launch some research careers, to establish a growing research scene, and to create a network of committed people. This is not the place to thank everyone who has been involved, but I would like to single out two. Karen Block has been officially the Deputy Director of RAS for some time, but in functional terms she has been our leader. We owe her a great deal of gratitude. Charlene Edwards, Executive Officer at MSEI, has been a great support for RAS for many years and has been instrumental in bringing about our new transition.

I will say more at our conference on November 15. Do come along to be part of it, and please remain linked to us to continue the RAS legacy.

Best wishes,
Nick Haslam
RAS Director (2007-2018)