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Annabelle Wilkins

Annabelle's PhD research, entitled "Home and work for Vietnamese migrants in East London", explores experiences of, and relationships between, home and work for Vietnamese migrants who now live and/or work in the East End of London (Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets). Her research is one of four projects exploring "Home-work: Connections and Transitions in London from the seventeenth century to the present" at the Centre for Studies of Home, a collaboration between QMUL and the Geffrye Museum of the Home.

Drawing upon existing scholarship within critical geographies of home, Annabelle's research considers "home" not as a fixed physical structure, but as a complex material, emotional and imaginative concept that is experienced at multiple scales. Her project is situated in the East End of London, a location with a long history of migration and settlement from many different communities.

In focusing on Vietnamese migrants, her research highlights a comparatively little-studied and diverse population, which includes people who arrived as refugees following the Vietnam War, and those who have migrated in more recent years for education or employment. Using semi-structured interviews and photography, often in people’s homes and workplaces, the research explores relationships between home and work, the ways in which participants (re) make a home in East London, and individual senses of home, belonging, community and identity, not only in London, but also in connection to Vietnam and across transnational space. In addition to the PhD thesis, her project will contribute to education and outreach work at the Geffrye Museum, including making links with members of the local Vietnamese community.

Annabelle has a background in anthropology and have worked with a number of charities and NGOs in the UK and in Thailand. She conducted her MA research in Northern Thailand, where she volunteered with an organisation supporting women from Burma to access education and leadership opportunities. Her MA dissertation explored education, activism, gender and concepts of home for women on the Thailand-Burma border.


  • –present
    PhD Candidate, Queen Mary University of London