Dr Tamsin Barber

Reader in Sociology

School of Law and Social Sciences


Tamsin Barber is Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Migration & Refugees Network Lead. She gained her first degree in Sociology and French, an MA in Social Science from Oxford Brookes University and received a PhD in Sociology from the University of Roehampton in 2011. Her research interests lie in the areas of ‘race’, ethnicity, youth and migration with a focus on themes of exclusion, inclusion and identity formation.

Teaching and supervision

Modules taught


  • Social Differences & Divisions; Race, Ethnicity & Inequality; Racialised Identities in Superdiverse Societies


PhD students

  • Anne-Ceclie Delaise "The impact of diaspora and immigration policies on transnational belongings: an ethnography of the Vietnamese communities in France and Canada" (University of British Columbia), 2020 - 
  • Timothy Hughes "Evaluation for Learning: Co-creating formative evaluation practices for initiatives supporting refugees’ labour market transition". Global Challenges Research Fund Studentship, School of Business, 2018-
  • Luke Holmes "“Exploring experiences of Vietnamese labour migration in the UK and Vietnam: dominant discourses and migrants’ lived experiences” Global Challenges Research Fund Studentship, School of Social Sciences, 2018-

Research Students

Name Thesis title Completed
Luke Holmes Exploring experiences of Vietnamese labour migration in the UK and Vietnam: dominant discourses and migrants’ lived experiences Active


Dr Tamsin Barber is Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Network Lead for the Migration and Refugees Research Network at Oxford Brookes University, UK. Her research interests are in ‘race’, ethnicity, youth and migration with a focus on exclusion, inclusion, belonging and identity formation among the UK Vietnamese and other East/Southeast Asian groups.  Her 2015 monograph ‘’Oriental’ Identities in Super-Diverse Britain: Young Vietnamese in London’ analyses constructions of identity and belonging among the Vietnamese diaspora in London. Her recent research projects includes  "Investigating the link between Vietnamese Migration to the UK and the urbanisation process in Vietnam"  (with Dr Phuc Van Nguyen, Trung Vuong University, Vietnam) funded by the Newton Mobility Fund and Global Challenges Research Fund, and the British Academy project ‘Becoming East/Southeast Asian: Youth Politics of Belonging in superdiverse Britain’ with Dr Diana Yeh (City University), which examines the emerging Southeast/East Asian youth identities and social spaces in urban Britain and the changing significance of ‘race’ and ethnicity in ‘superdiverse’ contexts .

She has been involved in a number of research projects including two EU funded projects of the EC 5th and 6th Frameworks; FeMiPol  ‘Integration of Female Immigrants in Labour Market and Society’, and EthnoGeneration ‘The Chances of the Second Generation in Families of Ethnic Entrepreneurs’. She has worked on projects on Greek-Cypriot Cultural Identity at Oxford Brookes University, and more recently for the Policy Studies Institute (PSI) in London researching housing, neighbourhood and unemployment. 

Her book was nominated by Palgrave for the BSA Philip Abrams Memorial Prize 2016.

Research grants and awards

Project Funding:

 Newton Mobility Grant Scheme 2016 Round 2:  Award Ref: NG160319

“New Labour Migrations Between Vietnam and the UK: Motivations, Journeys and Reflections” (with Dr Nguyen Van Phuc, Trung Vuong University, Vietnam)

The grant will be used to fund international research trips and workshops in Vietnam and the UK, fostering a stronger research collaboration between the co-investigators and their research teams.

The project seeks to investigate the factors behind the recent increase in youth migration between Vietnam and the UK and provide a deeper and more nuanced understanding into why young Vietnamese migrants come to the UK, what they hope to achieve through migrating, their experiences once in the UK, and how they evaluate their migration retrospectively on returning to Vietnam.  The project will research prospective migrants prior to leaving Vietnam, those in the UK, and those who eventually return to Vietnam 

British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grant for the project (2017-2019):

Becoming East Asian: Race, Ethnicity and Youth Politics of Belonging in Superdiverse Britain (with Dr. Diana Yeh, City University, London).

This project examines emerging East Asian youth identities and social spaces in urban Britain to investigate the changing significance of race and ethnicity in ‘superdiverse’ contexts. Due to migration, East Asians in Britain are now one of the fastest growing ‘ethnic’ groupings (ONS 2011), with the highest percentage of international students (HESA 2014), yet they remain invisible in both academic and policy debates on citizenship, integration and multiculturalism. This project investigates how and why young people in London and Birmingham are engaging in racial and pan-ethnic group-making around the problematic racial category of ‘Oriental’ or ‘East Asian’ when recent social surveys suggest that race is losing its significance as a dominant identity (Aspinall and Song 2013). Re-embedding questions of power, inequality, exclusion and racism in discussions of superdiversity, it will provide new knowledge on invisible minorities, exploring affiliations and divisions among them and their place in wider society. It will contribute to debates on how political mobilization and belonging are changing under superdiversity and lead to a research agenda on emerging East Asian youth politics in Britain.

Further information

Becoming East and South East Asian project



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Professional information


UNU-WIDER (United Nations University’s World Institute for Development Economics Research) “Forced Migration and Inequality: Country- and City-level Factors Influencing Refugee Integration. (October 2017-January 2018)

Areas of expertise

  • The Vietnamese Diaspora in UK
  • Vietnamese migration
  • Race & Racism
  • British East and Southeast Asian identities.

Further details

Press, publicity and reviews


Sky News Daily Podcast Dec 22, 2020 - Essex lorry deaths: Why do Vietnamese migrants risk their lives?

TV interview appearances:

  • BBC News (Friday 5.15pm, 25 October 2019)
  • BBC Breakfast news (8.14am, 26 October 2019)
  • BBC News Channel (26 October 2019)
  • BBC London at 1pm (27 October, 2019)
  • The Voice of America (31 October 2019) 

Radio interview appearances:

Newspaper articles citing my research: