The Migration Museum – telling stories of movement to and from Britain in fresh and engaging ways.

We stage an adventurous programme of exhibitions, events and education workshops exploring how the movement of people to and from Britain across the ages has shaped who we are –as individuals, as communities, and as a nation.

Please note that our Migration Museum at The Workshop is now closed. We will be moving to an exciting new venue in 2020, where we will stage a dynamic programme of exhibitions, events and education workshops – more details to be announced soon.

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Sandy Nairne CBE

Sandy Nairne was director of programmes at Tate for eight years, and has worked previously as assistant director, Museum of Modern Art Read more

Meet our distinguished friends
  • Migration Museum 2020 lecture: Sayeeda Warsi and Shami Chakrabarti (chair)

    January 21, 2020

    Join Baroness Warsi, one of the UK’s most interesting political figures, for our 2020 lecture as she talks about the challenges of growing up as a Muslim woman in the UK and navigating often complicated currents of religion, immigration, national identity and cultural allegiance. Sayeeda Warsi is in conversation with Baroness Shami Chakrabarti. Read more

  • Room to Breathe

    An immersive exhibition inviting you to discover stories from generations of new arrivals to Britain. Journey through a series of rooms in which the struggles, joys, creativity and resilience of living in a new land are brought to life through audio, films, photographs and personal objects. Read more

  • No Turning Back: Seven Migration Moments that Changed Britain

    An exhibition from the Migration Museum exploring seven migration moments throughout history that changed Britain through art, photography, graphics, quotes and stories. Read more

  • Call me by my name: stories from Calais and beyond

    Call me by my name: stories from Calais and beyond explores the complexity and human stories behind the current migration crisis, with a particular focus on the Calais camp. Read more

  • The Belle Vue Studio, Bradford

    A unique archive of photographs which records the changing face of a British industrial city through the 20th century is now being brought to a national audience in a BBC documentary, as Tim Smith, long-term friend and supporter of the Migration Museum, recounts. When the Belle Vue Studio opened in 1926 on Manningham Lane in… Read more

  • “For Sama” – a film you should see (unless you’re an MP, maybe)

    We were told that the absence of a large screen was due to the Extinction Rebellion protests in Westminster Square. The reason for the absence of anything but a small handful of MPs was not given, so we could only speculate: XR as well? Brexit-induced agoraphobia? indifference to the plight of Syria and its citizens?… Read more

  • Hold the Line – retracing a 90-year-old journey

    The route from south-east Europe to north-west Europe is one taken by thousands of people seeking asylum and refuge from war and persecution. Newspapers constantly present this as a contemporary challenge, but, as this blog illustrates, this is a well-trodden path – for the artist Freya Gabie this route is the basis of a project… Read more

  • “Being in movement is being alive” – Belén L.Yáñez, artist in residence

    Belén L.Yáñez is the last artist in residence in the art studio at the Room to Breathe exhibition. It has been exciting to see this space filled with so many different artistic practices and to witness how visitors have responded to them. Belén comes from Galicia, a land of migrant people or, as she calls… Read more

  • “The whole world is here . . . ”

    The New Londoners, an exhibition featuring portraits of families from all over the world who call London home, is on display in the Breathing Space café section of the Migration Museum until 27 May. This blog profiles the exhibition, which features the photographs of Magnum photographer Chris Steele-Perkins, a long-term supporter of the Migration Museum.… Read more

  • On knowledge, football and forgiveness

    This is a short posting about football, but really it’s mostly about forgiveness. At a time when divisions run deep and animosity is in the air, when Crystal Palace’s goalkeeper is apparently ‘desperate’ to learn about the Second World War if only to understand why the Nazi salute he was photographed making might have been… Read more

  • Shorsh Saleh – weaving identities

    In April we welcome a new artist in residence to Room to Breathe: the multimedia artist Shorsh Saleh. Shorsh’s display in the art studio inside the exhibition reveals a range of delightful artistic practices, from miniature paintings, installations to carpet weaving. His body of work reflects his layered and complex identity both as an individual… Read more

  • Textiles and lullabies – Ceyda Oskay’s residency in the art studio

    Ceyda Oskay is the new artist in residence in our current exhibition, Room to Breathe. As with previous artists, we asked Ceyda and the curator in residence of the art studio, Dima Karout, a series of questions and answers to find out more about Ceyda’s artistic practice. Ceyda uses textiles to explore symbolic themes around… Read more

  • Art therapy with asylum seekers and refugees: the New Art Studio

    We are approaching the end of our third monthly residency in our current exhibition, Room to Breathe: the New Art Studio, an art therapy practice supporting asylum seekers and refugees in London, will be leaving the gallery on 24 February, and Ceyda Oskay will be moving into the space the following week. In the course… Read more

  • Karl Marx’s London

    Much is made of Britain’s reputation for providing refuge for people seeking political asylum but many consider such self-congratulation undeserved, pointing instead to Britain’s relative resistance to taking in Jewish refugees before and during the Second World War, to the small number of Vietnamese boatpeople taken in in the 1970s (in comparison with those taken… Read more

  • What have EU nationals ever done for the UK’s heritage sector?

    In this guest blog Olivia Bridge considers the contribution EU nationals have made to the museum sector, and what impact the UK’s withdrawal from the EU may have on the culture and heritage industries. Artists and, more generally, people working in the culture and heritage industry have always been conspicuous for their mobility, travelling across… Read more

  • The art studio as a ‘room to breathe’

    Room to Breathe at the Migration Museum takes visitors on an immersive journey through a series of interconnected rooms, revealing the multi-layered experience of migrants and refugees arriving in a new country. Intimate personal stories are brought to life through audio recordings of oral histories as visitors go through the different rooms. At the centre… Read more

  • Migration, population ageing, and labour force participation

    When people express anxieties about immigration, they tend to do so in terms of its economic, social or cultural effect on the country – and occasionally all three. Of these, the social effect of immigration continues to be the most divisive, with strident voices expressing bitterly opposing views. As far as the other two are… Read more

  • Island to Island

    This is a guest blog by photographer Tim Smith, a long-standing friend of the Migration Museum Project and contributor to our 100 Images of Migration exhibition. He describes the background to Island to Island – Journeys Through the Caribbean, a new exhibition at Leeds Central Library which runs from 27 June until 27 July 2018.  A… Read more

  • A Polaroid for a Refugee

    A guest blog by Giovanna Del Sarto, creator of A Polaroid for a Refugee, a photographic project depicting points of transition in the lives of individual refugees, a selection of images from which we are displaying at the Migration Museum at The Workshop in June 2018. Read more

  • A new brochure and a cloud’s silver lining

    We’re putting the finishing touches to our new brochure (our sixth, by my reckoning), which we hope to have ready in paper form and as a pdf on our website in the next few weeks. It’s always an interesting process: taking stock of how far we have travelled and how much we have done, re-examining… Read more

  • Moving Stories – a competition that has moved us all

    A guest blog by Asher Goodenough, Subject Advisor for History at OCR, on the Moving Stories competition, which the Migration Museum Project ran in partnership with OCR. Read more

  • River deep, mountain high – two weeks in April 1968

    The title is a reference to the song made famous by Ike and Tina Turner in 1966, lavishly and operatically (some might say bombastically) produced by Phil Spector. Fortunately for this blog, Eric Burdon and the Animals (themselves not averse to musical pyrotechnics) reprised the song in 1968, the year that is the focus of… Read more

  • Cultural diversity in London, 1821

    For many people, there was a golden age when Britain was truly British, populated by the British, with shared cultural and religious values. This golden age is variously identified as that of King Arthur, or Elizabeth I or Victoria, or Churchill, among others. As is the case with most golden ages, all too often the… Read more

  • Grade I status conferred on British mosque with extraordinary history

    On Tuesday 13 March, Historic England conferred Grade I listed status on the Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking, Surrey, which thereby became the first mosque to receive this status in the country. There had been other registered mosques in the UK before the Woking mosque, the earliest on record being the Liverpool Muslim Institute, which… Read more

  • Family History Day: uncovering our past, illuminating our present

    This autumn, we partnered with The National Archives, the London Metropolitan Archives and the National Trust to bring our visitors a Family History Day with a difference. Read more

  • Migration Museum presents: Borderless Cup Lambeth

    This summer, we joined forces with the Black Prince Trust (BPT), Vauxhall One and Kick It Out to present the first Borderless Cup Lambeth, an inclusive football and basketball tournament for Lambeth residents and community organisations. Read more

  • Migrants Mean Business with George Alagiah – podcast

    Migrants Mean Business with George Alagiah is a new podcast series from the Migration Museum, in association with Allianz Global Investors, featuring conversations with some of Britain’s most successful business leaders – all of whom have immigrant backgrounds. Read more

  • Mayor of London Sadiq Khan visits Migration Museum and pledges support

    The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, pledged his support for a permanent national Migration Museum in London during a visit to our current venue in Lambeth on June 4. Read more

  • Migration Museum selected as Mayor of Lambeth’s chosen charity

    The Migration Museum has been selected as one of the Mayor of Lambeth’s chosen charities by incoming mayor Ibrahim Dogus. Read more

  • Migration Museum and OCR announce return of Moving Stories competition

    We have teamed up with exam board OCR to re-launch Moving Stories, a national competition for History GCSE students who are studying OCR’s module on ‘Migration to Britain’ in 2019/20. Read more

  • Belén L. Yáñez – our artist-in-residence from 2 May–2 June 2019

    Belén L. Yáñez is taking up residency in the art studio in our Room to Breathe exhibition from 2 May until 2 June 2019. Belén’s interdisciplinary work merges performance with visual art and multi-media installations and explores human connections, identity, migration and feminism. Read more

  • Migrants Mean Business series highlights enormous contribution of migrants to British business

    The Migration Museum, in association with Allianz Global Investors, is launching a new conversation series with prominent British business leaders with migrant backgrounds. Read more

  • Kurdish artist, carpet designer and weaver Shorsh Saleh our next artist-in-residence

    Shorsh Saleh, a Kurdish carpet designer, weaver and mixed-media artist whose works focus on migration, borders and identity, is taking up residence in the art studio in our Room to Breathe exhibition in April 2019.

      Read more

  • Migrants Mean Business with George Alagiah – Sir Lloyd Dorfman

    Episode 2 of Migrants Mean Business features a conversation between George Alagiah and entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Lloyd Dorfman CBE. Lloyd founded Travelex at the age of 24 from one small shop in London and grew it to become the world’s largest foreign exchange specialist. Lloyd and George’s wide-ranging conversation explores Lloyd’s business and philanthropic career, his family roots and Jewish identity, the essence of entrepreneurialism and whether one ever stops being a ‘migrant’. Read more

  • Migrants Mean Business with George Alagiah – Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou

    To kick off our Migrants Mean Business series, we’ve got a cracking conversation with one of the most charismatic and recognisable business leaders of the past few decades – Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. His conversation with Daniel Franklin, executive and diplomatic editor of The Economist, ranges from shipping to dog walking, suing Netflix to going head to head with Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary. Read more

  • The ‘Other’ Side of the Pond: The Good Immigrant USA

    To mark the launch of The Good Immigrant USA, its editor Chimene Suleyman and contributors to the best-selling UK edition Inua Ellams and Darren Chetty joined us at the Migration Museum in March 2019 to read from the new collection of essays and compare the current state of discussions and debates around identity, culture, language and belonging on both sides of the Atlantic.  Read more

  • Exploring how migration changes the places where we live

    Migration has a major impact on local communities. In a series of videos produced as part of Migration Making Places, Making People: New Narratives of Inclusion, a partnership project between COMPAS, The Open University, the Migration Museum Project and Counterpoints Arts, key policymakers, researchers and practitioners discuss issues ranging from solidarity to challenges migrants face and… Read more

  • David Olusoga delivers the Migration Museum Annual Lecture 2018: ‘The Perils of Our Insular Illusion’

    Historian, producer, presenter and Migration Museum trustee David Olusoga delivered our 2018 Annual Lecture at SOAS on 22 November 2018, arguing that, to make sense of contemporary Britain, we need to recover the global aspects of our history and culture. Read more

  • David Olusoga speaking at the launch of Room to Breathe

    Watch historian, producer and presenter David Olusoga, one of our Distinguished Friends, speaking at the launch of our Room to Breathe exhibition on 31 October 2018. Read more

  • Audio stories from Room to Breathe

    A selection of audio food stories from our Room to Breathe exhibition. Read more

  • Moving Stories – competition with OCR

    A video showcasing our inaugural Moving Stories competition, in partnership with exam board OCR, in which teams of students studying OCR’s migration GCSE history units were invited to design a new exhibition based on an aspect of their studies, with the winning team jetting off to New York City in summer 2018. Read more

  • What role does the media play in the national debate around migration?

    Listen to a panel discussion on the role of the media in shaping and influencing the national debate around migration, featuring Liz Gerard, former Times journalist and independent blogger of the year; Jakub Krupa, UK correspondent for the Polish Press Agency; Abdulwahab Tahhan, a Syria-born, UK-based journalist. The discussion was chaired by Sunder Katwala, director of British Future and former journalist. Read more

  • Migration Museum Project 2017/18 brochure

    This brochure outlines our plans to create a permanent Migration Museum for Britain, our current and past activities and our achievements to date. Read more

  • Migration Museums Network: Evaluation Report (2016–17)

    Download and view the full report here This evaluation report reflects on a pilot year for a proposed Migration Museums Network that ran from November 2016 to November 2017. The Migration Museum Project (MMP) coordinated this pilot to gauge the demand and need for a Network to increase and improve work on migration and related themes across the… Read more

  • Moving Hearts

    A video on Moving Hearts, a collaboration between Australian artist Penny Ryan and Professor Anna Reading and Dr James Bjork from King’s College London in 2018. Moving Hearts built on Penny’s Connecting Hearts Project, which has involved 1000s of people in Sydney reflecting on their connection with people seeking asylum, particularly those in detention. We hosted a series of art workshops… Read more

  • Lady Kishwar Desai on Partition, 70 years on

    Listen to our 2017 LSE–MMP annual lecture on Partition, 70 years on, given by Lady Kishwar Desai. Read more

  • Migration Museums Network: Survey results (2017)

    This report shares the results from an online survey of 119 museum professionals and academics conducted in 2017, evaluating the exploration of migration themes by museums and galleries across the UK and assessing demand for the creation of a Migration Museums Network. Read more

  • Museums and Migration, 2009–2017

    A report exploring the case for a national migration museum, and a migration museums network, authored by Dr Cathy Ross and Emma Shapiro. Read more

  • Migration Museum Project’s 2017 Annual Lecture with Gary Younge

    Journalist and author Gary Younge looks at how immigration is understood in the current age and what the consequences are in terms of migration, social anxiety and democracy. Read more

  • George Alagiah at the launch of Migration Museum at The Workshop

    BBC newsreader and journalist George Alagiah, one of our Distinguished Friends, spoke at the launch of the Migration Museum at The Workshop in May 2017. Read more

  • Robert Tombs on English migration history

    On 18 November 2015, Robert Tombs delivered our second Annual Lecture in partnership with the London School of Economics and Political Sciences. Listen to the audio podcast. Read more