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Researcher view – Umut Erel

Umut Erel

I decided to join the OU because it is quite special for Social Science and interdisciplinary, thematically-led research.

My research area looks at migration, motherhood and citizenship. The combination is unusual and would have been difficult to find elsewhere.

I started at the OU on a Research Councils UK Academic Fellowship which was for five years, and which has now turned into a permanent position. I am now a lecturer at the OU and I have continued my research into citizenship, migration and motherhood. I am looking at migrant mothers in London and how we think of their mothering as a form of citizenship.

As a result of my research into migrant mothers, I have been asked to chair the Committee on Ethnic Diversity for Milton Keynes Council.  In this role, I will look at black and minority ethnic children and families and assess how well local services are geared towards their needs.

As a result of my research into migrant mothers, I have been asked to chair the Committee on Ethnic Diversity for Milton Keynes Council. In this role, I will look at black and minority ethnic children and families and assess how well local services are geared towards their needs.

Dr Umut Erel, Lecturer

I enjoy working at the OU because I have time for intellectual development, which almost feels like a luxury. A hallmark of the OU is the provision of intellectual space. Although we do not have that same casual interaction that exists at some other universities, I find the atmosphere very collegial and whenever I have wanted feedback I have found both peers and senior academics very welcoming.

My research has the potential to change the experience of migrant mothers. At the moment, they are often marginalised and seen as the recipients of social citizenship. I am interested in looking at them as subjects of citizenship which is not contingent on their employment status but which values their role in social cohesion and in building relationships in every day scenarios like in playgroups and playgrounds, as well as their political activism which can change our preconceived ideas of what good citizenship should look like.

Dr Umut Erel is a lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences.