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About Agnes Woolley

Agnes Woolley is Lecturer in Contemporary Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is the author of Contemporary Asylum Narratives: Representing Refugees in the Twenty-First Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) and has published extensively on postcolonial literature, theatre and film, with a focus on migration, diaspora and climate change. She is also a trustee at Streatham Drop-In Centre for Asylum Seekers and Refugees.

Articles by Agnes Woolley

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Borderlands: words against walls

Both material and figurative walls are shaping our present. Now is the time for the arts and humanities to intervene with critical reflection and compassion into spaces of ‘crisis’

The arts and humanities: tackling the challenges of mass displacement

When we let people die rather than provide safety, we face not a ‘refugee crisis’ but a crisis of values. The arts help define those values which shape the kinds of societies we want to live in. 

Listening to Refugee Tales on the Pilgrim’s Way

The act of listening and the power of voice constitute the ‘act in the dark’ which can unite us and re-shape the punitive and hostile immigration landscape in Britain.

Who's afraid of the 'global poor'?

Shifting the migration debate to consider the impact of global phenomena such as climate change and global capitalism on the movement of people requires an understanding of scarcity and insecurity as factors which affect citizens and non-citizens alike.

#SetHerFree: a spectrum of solidarity for refugee women

The campaign against detaining refugee women must be part of the movement against violence against women and girls. Agnes Woolley reports from the National Refugee Women’s Conference in London.

Citizenship deprivation: A new politics of nationalism?

As instances of citizenship deprivation rise in Britain year on year, we face a situation in which rather than the governed choosing their government, governments choose who they wish to govern. Agnes Woolley reports from an event at Middlesex University. 

Migration, environment and social justice

How can we foster a more productive dialogue between the green movement – often perceived as too localised and issue-based – and groups working on human rights issues such as forced migration, asks Agnes Woolley. 

Life on the Margins: I Am Nasrine

Iranian-born filmmaker Tina Gharavi believes that film is a democratic tool which can be used to counter the misrepresentation of marginalised British identities. She spoke to Agnes Woolley about her feature, I Am Nasrine

Migrants and the State: an exclusive national family?

Agnes Woolley examines the implications of the UK Government’s new rules on family migration and argues that if families are the building blocks of a secure and stable nation, then the right to family life must be upheld

The politics of myth making: 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'

Myths of human survival that evade questions of gender, race and social relations, won’t help us adapt in a world already being radically reshaped by environmental disasters and slow burning climate change, argues Agnes Woolley

Outsourcing responsibilities: Australia's punitive asylum regime

Australia’s return to offshore detention and processing centres for asylum seekers signals a renewed willingness to renege on its responsibilities to vulnerable others. Removing asylum seekers from national territory also removes the possibility of an ethical response to their plight.

'Camps' the world over: questioning the legitimacy

Tania Bruguera’s new art project at Tate Modern initiates a debate about the continuing oppression of migrants and the possibility of transforming a momentary experience of oppression into an act of solidarity with their struggle for justice

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