Migration, Mobilities and Belonging Research Cluster

About us

The Migration, Mobilities and Belonging (MMoB) Research Cluster engages Perth’s rich history and contemporary status as one of the fastest growing and most diverse cities in the world, a centre for global capital and a hub for international labour and education markets. MMoB brings together researchers from across UWA who are investigating movement, borders and transformation. Members use interdisciplinary tools to understand and address the impact and implications of migration and mobile lives for social, cultural, political and economic life.

Mobility is a defining feature of humanity, crucial in biological and social evolution, and increasingly important in a globalising world. Movement and stasis are among the most critical features of contemporary social and political debates. In 2012, geographer Graeme Hugo declared Australia to be the most mobile nation in the world, through immigration, emigration, and internal mobility. Located on the Indian Ocean Rim, UWA is ideally placed to study the implications of these mobilities. 

Our goals

  • Serve as a research hub linking disciplines and researchers across UWA.
  • Lead the generation and publication of empirical and theoretical knowledge about human mobilities.
  • Contribute research expertise to policy and public debates.
  • Develop connections with individuals, groups and centres across Australia, the region and beyond.

Our research

Bodies, capital, material objects, ideas, emotions, and risk move across borders, and via communication and cultural articulation, in ways that impact social mobility, economic growth and intercultural engagement. However, mobility is also often characterised by disruption, dislocation, and precarity – but with the right resources and tools, it is not necessarily an impediment to the maintenance of strong networks of support and care.

Mobility carries with it implications for belonging, ranging from cosmopolitan ‘belonging everywhere’, to national belonging, to translocal and transnational belonging, to belonging nowhere (statelessness). Recent re-assertions of the importance of place in various forms of nationalism may be a response to increased mobilities. Transformations in communication and travel have revolutionised our ability to stay connected with people and place despite being on the move.  MMoB seeks to respond to these important public and policy issues through supporting in-depth, interdisciplinary research and practical engagement.

Interdisciplinary research nodes within MMoB cover the following:

  • International and international labour migration; temporary labour migration
  • Migrant and refugee settlement
  • Diasporas
  • Nationalisms and globalisation; new citizenships; cosmopolitanism
  • Intercultural interaction and communication
  • Immobility
  • Fly-in, fly-out work; multi-local families
  • Internationalised education; intercultural learning; cultural competence; transnational knowledge transfers
  • Transnational families, care chains and transnational social support
  • Internal migration
  • Social networking and mobile technologies of communication
  • Ageing and migration
  • Australia and regional engagement (Asia; Pacific; Pacific Rim; Indian Ocean Rim)
  • Religious diffusion
  • China's 'Belt and Road' initiative



The initiative brings together academics from the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, geography, history, archaeology and heritage studies, law, communications, political science, Asian studies and European studies.

We have established collaborative links with Africa, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, India, Papua New Guinea, Korea, Japan, Italy, the United States, Russia, the Philippines and New Zealand.

UWA members

Contact us