About the Webinars

1st Webinar

20 May 2021

4:00pm – 5:30pm

Professor Johanna L. Waters

Johanna L. Waters is Professor of Human Geography and co-Director of the Migration Research Unit at UCL. She has worked for a number of years on aspects of transnational families, education and migration, with a particular interest in East Asia. She is presently editing a book with Brenda Yeoh (NUS) on Migration and the Family (forthcoming with Edward Elgar) and is looking forward, in the next few months, to the publication of Student Migrants and Contemporary Educational Mobilities (Waters, J. and R. Brooks, 2021, Palgrave). She lives in Cambridge (UK) and has three lively children.


Children’s bodies are not capital: Arduous cross-border mobilities between Shenzhen and Hong Kong   

This paper foregrounds and unpacks the significance of education in the migration of children in contemporary Asia, drawing principally on research undertaken in Hong Kong and across the political border with Mainland China (Shenzhen). Using the example of cross-boundary schooling, the paper explores the role played by children in emergent transnational topologies and reflects on the significance of this for understandings of ‘migration’. In this paper, we argue that whilst children are harbingers of future migration and their mobilities appear, on the surface, to function seamlessly, in reality their experiences of mobility are very immediate and embodied: corporeal, emotional and invariably arduous. The arduousness and corporality of everyday mobilities for education are rarely explored in the extant literature and we therefore attempt to highlight this important aspect of children’s experiences here, whilst also reflecting on the gendered nature of this educational experience.


Professor Celeste Yuen                                                                                      Associate Professor, Department of Educational, Administrative and Policy, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Professor Jenny Chiu                                                                                          Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Social Policy, Lingnan University

2nd Webinar

21 May 2021

4:00pm – 5:30pm

Professor Loretta Baldassar

Loretta Baldassar is Professor in the Discipline Group of Anthropology and Sociology at The University of Western Australia and Director of the UWA Social Care and Ageing (SAGE) Living Lab. She has published extensively on transnational mobility, with a particular focus on families and caregiving across the life course. Her publications include Transnational Families, Migration and the Circulation of Care (with Merla, 2014); Families Caring Across Borders (with Baldock & Wilding, 2007), Intimacy and Italian Migration (with Gabaccia, 2011), From Paesani to Global Italians (with Pesman, 2005), and the award winning book, Visits Home (MUP 2001). Loretta is Vice President of the International Sociological Association, Migration Research Committee (31) and a Regional Editor for the leading journal Global Networks. Professor Baldassar was recently named one of the top 30 Australian researchers in the Social Sciences, and Research Field Leader in Human Migration (The Australian, 23 September 2020).


Between successful/agentive ageing and grandparent duties: The informal care chains of transnational Chinese grandparents and their Australian migrant children and ‘distant’ grandchildren   

In this paper we present the experiences of “distant grandparents” in China, whose migrant children and grandchildren are living in Australia, to explore the dimensions of time, social identity, social reproduction and generation in transnational family lives. On one hand these grandparents are of an age where they can reap the rewards of their long working lives by enjoying an active and richly lived retirement in relatively good health, full of enjoyable activities and new hobbies. In this context they are creating new ways of informing notions of successful ageing and older age that differ remarkably from earlier generations. On the other hand, their familial duty to their migrant children, particularly on the birth of ‘distant’ grandchildren, co-opts them into the social reproductive worlds of migrant lives. Constrained by restrictive and costly visa regimes, they venture into demanding migrant home-worlds full of challenging demands of unpaid care. In pre-pandemic times, they travelled between these two worlds in an effort to maintain both. The pandemic has immobilized them in either one or other of these worlds. We detail the way access to new media and practices of digital kinning and digital homing helps them to bridge the two spheres of their lives. We propose that their experiences could be analysed as an example of informal care chains, largely invisible in the literature, in which they exchange their relative freedom to care for self, for the relative constraint of caring for family abroad, with implications for their care duties back home.


Dr Alexandra Ridgway                                                                                    Fellow, Centre for Criminology, The University of Hong Kong

Dr Guida Man                                                                                                Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, York University