Sciences Po and King’s College London

Sciences Po and King’s College London

SPOK 29th June 2018: Impeding Mobility -Understanding, Visualizing, Interpreting
  • Sciences Po/King’s College London Sciences Po/King’s College London

If you wish to participate, we invite you to indicate your interest and participation to Didier BIGO before Wednesday, May 30 11 june 2018, with copy to Marie-Rose PEREIRA

On June 29th 2018, the seminar between the students of Sciences-Po and King's College London will be held in London around the theme: Impeding mobility-understanding, visualizing, interpreting.

This day long workshop aims to bring together students of both institutions who have data (quantitative and/or qualitative) on the issues of impeding mobility and logics of monitoring and surveillance. The aim will be to share data amongst ourselves and to work with students to attempt to visualize this data. Dr. Jonathan Gray, a specialist in data analysis and visualization techniques will be present as well as professors on the studies of mobility, migration, borders, security including Prof. Didier Bigo, Prof. Claudia Aradau, Dr. Leonie Ansems de Vries and Dr. Emma Mc Cluskey who will provide insight around student proposals.

The workshop aims to provide a reflexive turn on activism, examining how technologies and the digital can help or block mobility by placing it under surveillance, but without necessarily stopping individuals. We hope this analysis of the re-articulation between the logic of passage, zones of free circulation, logic of impeding mobility in a coercive way, and logic of surveillance integrating the digital will provide a better understanding of what are called in other approaches "crises", emergencies, exceptions to normal.

The Source programme will select the three best papers, and will offer to the students £500 if they finalise the paper into a data visualization to be integrated into the final deliverable that KCL will submit in September.  

We invite students to participate who carry out research broadly fitting within the following themes:

    • The first theme focuses on the idea of "walls" broadly defined; fences, barriers and detention centres, at the American and European borders, but also the less spectacular "paper and electronic walls": Visas, Entry Exit Systems, PNR, as well as studies on surveillance technologies developed by private companies at local, national, European or international levels.
    • The second theme examines the funding mechanisms of technologies of impeding and monitoring mobility at air, land or sea borders.   This funding could be provided by states, by the European Union, or by international organizations. 
    • The third theme focuses on Socio-historical research, particularly focusing on the origins of the free movement areas and the organization of police exchanges and border control. 

Finally, we intend to include at the end of the day a round table on the topic of the status regarding help to mobility, possibly open to a wider audience. This seems to us all the more significant since the extension of the concept of help to mobility in the current framework of the French reform of the law on immigration as well as changes of policies in the European framework and the Global Compact tend to develop practices of (in) securing and criminalizing mobility. 

The round table will also include assistance in border crossings through dedicated digital applications or advices given to use the usual applications to cross borders or-and integrate into the country. 


Students have to apply to the SPOK meeting before the 30th May by sending a letter of motivation explaining their research interest regarding the workshop, how this fits with their research question, their methodology, and the stage of data collection, structuration, analysis they have reached.

Students will be asked to deliver a presentation of a few minutes and to send in advance their selected data before June 15th.  There will then be dedicated sessions on ways to interpret, understand and visualize the data, with input and feedback from faculty staff. 

We welcome students who are interested in these questions of visualization of data (in geographical maps but also and especially via network approaches-ANT) and also critical interpretations of mobility more broadly to register, please send an email to with the subject title: SPOK 2018 by 30th May 2018 11 june 2018.

The Doctoral school will reimburse the train tickets to Paris-London-Paris for the four best proposals coming from Sciences-Po.  

In addition to the SPOK meeting on the Saturday 30th a different workshop will take place on War for Presence : CONFLICT AND IDENTITY AT THE ART-Internationl Relations NEXUS - dealing with the relation between art and war. People who wants to attend have to contact Pablo de Orellana at

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