The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Ruth McAreavey

Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Background

My research focuses on migration, particularly to regional and rural areas. I am interested in inequalities faced by migrants in the labour market and in other parts of everyday life. I have published extensively on rural development and I’m interested in research ethics and methodologies. My most recent book on New Immigration Destinations has been published by Routledge (July 2017).

My research is strongly oriented towards migration and I continue to conduct research with migrant communities in the UK. I have a practitioner background and prior to working in higher education I held various positions in the voluntary and community sector and within local government. That experience included helping small and medium non-profit organisations to achieve core objectives including accessing funding and working with communities to stimulate social change. These various roles initiated my commitment to a career with social relevance and that objective continues to remain an important motivation for my work today. I am proactive in engaging with third sector organisations and with government agencies and departments and where possible I seek to conduct research that has social and economic impact. For instance, my research on migration (for the Nuffield Foundation and for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation) led to various policy and advisory roles including advising Northern Ireland government on Racial Equality Indicators. Meanwhile I recently completed a review of the agri-food sector in Northern Ireland for Friends’ of the Earth. My other areas of research include rural and community development; governance; participation and research ethics. Correspondingly I have published a book and numerous articles on rural development, focusing on participation, community engagement and regeneration. Currently I am co-editing a special issue of the Journal of Rural Studies on Migration.

I have previously worked in Queen's University Belfast, Hastoe Housing Association, Suffolk County Council and the Workers' Educational Association.

I am currently active member of various international research networks including the Trans-Atlantic Rural Research Network, the Regional Studies network on migration (MICaRD); the European Society for Rural Sociology (ESRS). As part of the Scientific Committee for the latter group, I helped organise the XXVII congress in Krakow. I am also leading an embryonic European network on migration, focusing on ‘New Immigration Destinations’.

I am BA Sociology Programme Director. I teach undergraduate and postgraduate students and I supervise PhD researchers. I welcome inquiries from prospective PhD researchers on the issues identified above.

I am external examiner for Liverpool John Moores University and I am a member of research review panels for the European Commission and for the Swedish Research Council (Formas).


Research

I have obtained funding from research foundations, government third sector and industry. All of my research carries significant social and economic impact. For example, my recent research on migration led to various policy and advisory roles including advising the Northern Ireland government on a proposed Racial Equality Strategy, addressing a NI Assembly Committee and speaking at a central government lunchtime seminar series.


Current projects

Participation in HAMLETS. Immigration and Sustainable Development in Micro Villages, led by Ricard Morén Alegret (Department of Geography, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona). This project is based on the hypothesis that (international and internal) immigrants have the potential to make social, economic, environmental and cultural contributions to the sustainable development of small rural municipalities in Catalonia. I am involved in an international comparison of hamlets in Roussillon (i.e. French Catalonia) and, on the other hand, a comparison with hamlets in Ireland, both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, thus addressing the importance (or not) of state borders for migration and mobility.

 

Evaluation of ‘Going for Growth’, Friends of the Earth (January 2016 – March 2017). This research is a preliminary examination of the capacity of the Going for Growth strategy to contribute to food security. It reviews the political and power dynamics behind the strategy and its impact on the environment in Northern Ireland and its potential to deliver food security. 

Migration Inter-connectivity and Regional Development (MICaRD)  Regional Studies Association (May 2016-May 2019). This research network aims to bring together scholars, policymakers and practitioners across Europe to provide a forum for debating current and emerging issues on European economic migration in order to foster collaboration and expand research opportunities. The specific focus is on increasing labour mobility within the EU and the impact on regional development in rural areas for both sending and receiving nations (with Universities of Lincoln and Belgrade).

I am an active member of European Society for Rural Sociology (ESRS); the Regional Studies Association (RSA); the Rural Policy Learning Commons (RPLI) and the Trans-Atlantic Rural Research Network (TARRN). The latter involves scholars from Cornell, Penn State and the UK and while in Queen's University I was central in driving forward this network. I am a member of the Scientific Committee for ESRS Conference 2017.

I am co-ordinator of an international migration research network which involves an interdisciplinary partnership of social and cultural geographers, sociologists, anthropologists, economists, political economists and demographers. Funding is being sought from COST Action.

Recent projects

Poverty and ethnicity in Northern Ireland - economic and social mobility, Joseph Rowntree Foundation Ref: 1103001PFA01 (in collaboration with McClure Watters Consulting) (January 2013- Dec 2013). This research considered the economic and social mobility of individuals from ethnic minority communities in Northern Ireland. It reviewed the existing evidence and data sources. Primary research was conducted with employers and employees across the labour market in Northern Ireland.

Poverty and Ethnicity in Northern Ireland: A review of the evidence, Joseph Rowntree Foundation REF: 1103001A (in collaboration with York University) (November 2011- Dec 2012). This review searched and appraised the evidence base on:

  • Pathways into poverty;
  • Experiences and consequences of race, identity, and poverty;
  • Barriers to escaping poverty; and
  • Effective policy interventions to overcome obstacles to mobility and inclusion.

It engaged with research users and subjects to help shape the focus of the review. Their participation was critical in testing the findings of the review against their knowledge and experience and helped to identify the strength of the evidence base and to prioritise any significant gaps. The project was completed in 2012.

Migrant Workers in Northern Ireland: Nuffield Foundation Small Grant Scheme REF SGS/34428. This research considered the lived experiences of migrant communities to Northern Ireland particularly relating to quality of life, neighbourhood conditions and access to services more generally. Social and economic implications for both migrant communities and for established communities were examined. The pilot project was completed in January 2010.

Supervision

I am interested in supervising research students on migration to New Immigration Destinations, especially those with a focus on economic mobility; inclusion and exclusion; social integration; transnational identities and educational mobility. The other broad theme that am keen to supervise is rural development including projects focused on changing rural communities and society; participation and governance; rural planning and economic development.

I have supervised a number of PhDs to completion. Currently I am supervising the following students:

Carey Doyle (FT) (with Degenhardt, QUB Sociology)

Claire O’Boyle (FT) (with Shuttleworth, QUB Geography)

Completed PhDs:

Aisling Murphy, 2014

Anne Rice, 2014

Jonathan Bell, 2013

Lori McVay, 2011


Other research activities

I regularly participate in academic conferences and have presented papers and organised working groups and panels at European Rural Sociology Association and the American Rural Sociological Society conferences.  I have also presented papers at a range of other conferences including those of the Irish-British Institute; Sociological Association of Ireland; Society of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences; the Institute of British Geographers; the Irish Social Sciences Platform; Norface Research Programme on Migration; and the UK-Ireland Planning Association.

I review large international, inter-disciplinary research applications for the European Commission (Framework Programme), the Economic and Social Research Council (UK) and the Swedish Research Council (Formas). I am regularly invited to review academic articles and books for a range of high impact journals. My expertise is sought by non-academic communities with regular requests from government and third sector partnerships to advise on a range of issues including the Racial Equality Strategy, Planning Reform in Northern Ireland and the Indices of Multiple Deprivation (NI).

Teaching

In 2017-18 my office hours are Monday 1-3pm; Wednesday 11-12pm. Please check my noticeboard as there are a few occasions when I will not be on campus on those days. Alternative hours will be offered.


Teaching experience

I have developed material for my own teaching programmes and recent modules include:

 2016-18

  • SOC8050 Migration, Mobilities and Inequalities
  • SOC2070 Researching Social Life II

 

2015-16

  • EVP2010 Economy and Space
  • EVP3011 Independent Research Module
  • EVP7033 Community Planning and Regeneration
  • EVP3017 European Planning Perspectives
  • EVP7026 Thesis/Work based study
  • Examiner for student oral presentations

Publications