Connecting the spots

Notes on migration and environment from a geographical perspective

Patrick Sakdapolrak

Patrick Sakdapolrak

Patrick Sakdapolrak is a research group leader at the University of Bonn, where he is currently heading two research projects on the migration-environment nexus. He holds a PhD in Geography from Bonn. His research is concerned with the question of how vulnerable groups live with risk. He has conducted empirical research in Thailand, India, and Kenya. CONTACT psakdapo@uni-bonn.de

Oct 30th 2014 by Patrick Sakdapolrak

TransRe Turns One

TransRe turned one this October. The journey in this first year has been filled with many successes:

A complete, well-rounded team: Any successful project depends on the people that give it life. To decipher the complex relationship between migration and environment, on the one hand, and tackle the science and practice gap, on the other, TransRe successfully recruited an international team with a wide range of experiences. Till and Luise , both geographers, worked for the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), while Kayly , with a background in international relations, was employed at the World Bank before joining the TransRe team. Sopon brings many years of work and field experience in Thailand at IUCN and SEI. Simon has an extensive research background and is an expert on translocality .

Public events and presentations: We have had two launch events, one in Bonn and one in Bangkok. This proved a great place to begin to connect to people, spread our ideas, and get feedback. We initiated conceptual discussions with our partners in from UNU-EHS and DIE. We made presentations at various conferences – in two panels at the Deutscher Geographentag in Passau , in Bremen at the Denaturalizing Climate Change Workshop in Bremen , at UNU-EHS in Bonn at the Empirical Evidence and Policy Responses Regarding Climate Change and Migration Workshop in Bonn, Parallel Worlds? conference in Cologne, "Multilocality in the Global South and North" in Dortmund, and a colloquium at ARI, NUS in Singapore ... Through these talks and interactions, the contours of translocal resilience began to have a more concrete shape.

First field study: Any idea developed in an "arm chair" manner must be grounded in empirical reality. Given this, we had our first field trip to Thailand in July. Facilitated by our partner RaksThai Foundation, we visited 51 villages in the North and Northeast in four weeks. Our primary goal was to select research sites for the project. More importantly, the trip gave us the chance to get a concrete idea of the Thai rural landscape. We rapidly realized how dynamic, rapidly changing, and interconnected the rural landscape in Thailand is. We learned how migration influences rural life and livelihoods, and how it changed the way people make their living. We got a first impression of how important migration in times of crisis is, especially when drought destroys the whole harvest and livelihoods are at risk. But we just are just beginning to understand, and the exciting and challenging bits of the journey are ahead of us.

It's only fitting, then, that almost exactly one month after our first anniversary we've launched this blog.
We hope that you'll follow along on this journey as we celebrate many more milestones.