Melanie has been Principal Investigator on an ESRC Future Research Leaders grant since January 2014. The project, entitled Detention, Deportability and the Family: Migrant Men's Negotiations of the Right to Respect for Family Life, is on the family lives and Article 8 rights of men at risk of deportation. The research has included following 30 'mixed immigration status' couples consisting of precarious or irregular foreign national men, whose partners or children are British or EEA nationals. In addition to in-depth, longterm contact with such families, the research has included interviews conducted with practitioners (including marriage registrars, independent inspectors of the detention and immigration systems, lawyers, NGOs and others), and observation of over 30 deportation appeals and other immigration hearings. The project was carried out in line with University ethics procedure and is being mentored by Professor Tariq Modood and Dr Katharine Charsley. Grant number ES/K009370/1. Melanie is currently a visiting scholar at the University of Amsterdam, jointly hosted by the Institute for Ethnic and Migration Studies, and Amsterdam Research Center on Gender and Sexuality.
In 2013, Melanie spent nine months as an Associate Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, working with Dr Nick Gill on an ESRC-funded project looking at disparities between asylum appeals heard at Tribunal hearing centres across England and Wales. This post involved three months of intensive ethnographic observation of asylum appeals (First-Tier, Upper Tribunal and Detained Fast Track).
Melanie's doctoral research was conducted at the University of Oxford, in association with COMPAS and the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology. The thesis considered the asylum system in the UK, focusing particularly on refused asylum seekers and immigration detainees. Entitled ‘Who is Who Now?’ Truth, Trust and Identification in the British Asylum and Immigration Detention System, it was supervised by Professor Marcus Banks and examined by Professors Tony Good and Mary Bosworth. It considers the role and negotiation of identification requirements in the asylum system. Melanie has also written on time, uncertainty, masculinity and bureaucratic relations in the migration field.