Winners of inaugural Migration and Movement scholarships announced

Katherine Moss

Laura Romain and Ilaria Aversa have been announced as the winners of two PhD scholarships within the University’s Migration and Movement Signature Research Theme.

Laura now becomes the inaugural Abdulrazak Gurnah Scholar at Kent, her award named in honour of Emeritus Professor Abdulrazak Gurnah, winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature, and a former student and member of staff in Kent’s acclaimed School of English. Professor Gurnah’s work and personal life have long been recognised and celebrated for highlighting the condition of migrants and refugees, and this scholarship will further support research in this area. 

Laura’s Doctorate will look at the wars of religion, focusing on the impact of migration and movement on culture – in particular early modern drama – learning from the impact the Huguenot migration had on Canterbury’s own Christopher Marlowe, who would have been heavily influenced by the stories and experience of these early refugees.

Ilaria Aversa has also been awarded a full PhD scholarship from the Migration and Movement Signature Research Theme, a vibrant community of scholars and practitioner academics working in the field of migration and movement. Ilaria’s project will focus on the potential that local communities – which are the first contact for immigrants – have in making an impact in bordering practices as well as in integrating and building cultures in communities.

Laura says: ‘This scholarship means the world to me. It’s connected me to this massive interdisciplinary community and opened doors to a network that I may not have been able to make without this opportunity. The cultural and historical significance of this county, and City of Canterbury, in the Huguenot story makes Kent the perfect place to study this area. But it’s more than just my research. Kent is such a vibrant community and I’m so happy to be here. I’m excited to see where this road takes me.’

Ilaria says: ‘This scholarship will be an amazing opportunity to be able to disseminate and get in touch with a network of scholars that are specialized in my main interests. Being part of a strong research community, that can help me disseminate what I will find through this project through the right networks, will help me get out the most impact from the project. The support and interest from my supervisors has already been fantastic and is really inspiring.’

Dr Margherita Laera, Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre, and Chair of the Scholarships awards panel, said: ‘It was a very tight competition and the interdisciplinary panel, made of academics from every division, considered submissions from a very strong field. We really enjoyed the opportunity to discuss these very worthwhile projects as an interdisciplinary team and look forward to working with the two new scholars on their journey.’