Interdisciplinary by training, I call myself a migration-and-development-anthropologist.

Next to my job as a researcher, I am exploring ways to communicate about migration with wider audiences as an applied theatre maker and a writer.

See my LinkedIn page for my full CV.

See my portfolio for an overview of my work.


Researcher

I am a researcher at the Sociology department of the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam, and an associate researcher at the International Migration Institute (IMI) at the University of Oxford.

My research focuses on the relationship between migration, development, conflict, and change, from the perspective of migrants, policy and public perceptions. I specialize in migration from (post-) conflict countries, return migration, transnational engagement of migrants, and processes of structure and agency in mobility.

Methodologically, I want to contribute to improved and innovative qualitative and mixed research methodologies in migration studies.

I defended my PhD thesis on return migration after conflict in November 2014 at the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance in the Netherlands. I obtained my Bachelor (2005) and Master (2006) degree in Cultural Anthropology and Development Studies at the Radboud University Nijmegen.

Between 2015 and 2016, I worked as a Marie Curie Research Fellow at IMI at the University of Oxford. Before that, I worked for academic, non-governmental and international organizations, always in the field of migration and development. My research has taken me to a diversity of research settings around the world, including Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, DR Congo, Iraq, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tunisia and Vietnam.


Applied theatre maker

In CONTAINED Project, I use participatory theatre and narrative tools as a way to provoke thoughts, start dialogues and enhance understanding about migration in receiving communities. The project began in 2016 as a collaboration with physical theatre company Justice in Motion, together with storyteller and teacher Remco Heijmans. We developed a trilogy of immersive, physical and participatory performances and creative learning tools.

In 2017, we are each going separate ways, taking along with us different components of the project. I am now further developing one component as an immersive performance and as an experimental research method. I will also continue to develop new components of CONTAINED Project and I am keen to create more creative connections that trigger dialogues on migration.

In this work I benefit from my background as a practitioner of participatory theatre, combined with insights from academic research. Also, I build on my background in improvised theatre with everything I do. Being present in the here and now, accepting your counterparts’ offers, and being prepared to sometimes gloriously fail are skills that are really helpful for practically all professional and social interactions and, well, life!


Writer

In addition to academic work, I write more accessible publications, such as blogs, columns and popular articles. Writing to me is a way to make sense of what I see and do. During my brief career as a communications officer I learned to write for a wider audience.

In addition to non-fiction, a dream is to put academic insights into fictional stories. Me and my partner Remco created three children’s books: One about leaving and saying goodbye to loved ones, one about staying in touch from a distance and the desire to move, and one about the adventures and risks of a journey. These animal stories about Mouse and Hare, originally intended as presents for our dear nephews, are full of references to migration patterns. I would love to make them accessible to a wider audience of young children!