Josephine Biglin


'Understanding the representation of immigration' 

PhD summary

The PhD explores how the public form attitudes to immigration and the ways in which asylum seekers and refugees are represented by the public, popular culture and political rhetoric. The way in which survey data that aims to capture people’s attitudes will also be critically examined and how this may reflect trends and patterns over history in relation to the general consensus towards immigration at a particular time. Finally, refugee and asylum seekers represent and ‘perform’ their self, identity and citizenship will be additionally explored. 

Key research questions include:

  • How do people form attitudes towards immigration?
  • How are attitudes towards immigration captured?
  • In what ways are people influenced by media and policy during their formation of attitudes towards immigration?
  • Does the way immigration is represented effect how refugee and asylum seekers seem to represent themselves
  • Do other representations of refugee and asylum seekers conflict with the way this group represents themselves 

Potential methodologies include:

  • A meta-review of survey data that captures people’s attitudes towards immigration
  • Arts-based participatory methods and photo-voice
  • Ethnographic interviewing  


September 2017-2021


I am being funding by Social Statistics in the School of Social Sciences.


I completed a British Psychological Society accredited BSc degree in Psychology in 2016 from Manchester Metropolitan University. I then went on to study MSc Psychology (by research) achieving distinction.

My research thesis examined the role of an urban allotment in the place-making of refugees here in the UK. Whilst the project was centered around examining the relationship between displaced people and place the project highlighted issues around misrepresentation of refugees in the media and misuse of the word ‘integration’ within policy and public discourse. Furthermore the project examined the representation of marginalised groups in academic research and the question of whether academic research only marginalises further. This project was then winner of British Psychological Society, Community Psychology Student Researcher 2017. Since winning the competition I have written a blog piece about the research and presented the findings at the Community Psychology AGM.

Throughout my studies I have been a volunteer at a local Youth Offending Service and with a local charity in Manchester that aims to provide emotional, social and practical support to asylum seekers and refugees. Within both these roles I have worked alongside, supported and researched groups of people who are consistently misrepresented within policy and public discourse.


Contact details

Office: G45, Humanities Bridgeford Street Building