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School of Politics and International Relations

Dr Caterina Mazzilli, BA, Padova; MA, Bologna; PhD, Sussex.


Post-Doctoral Research Assistant, “The Art of International Friendship” Project (ESRC)



I am currently working as Post-doc Research Assistant for the ESRC-funded “The Art of International Friendship” Project, lead by Dr. Holly Eva Ryan. In 2019 I completed my PhD in Migration Studies at the University of Sussex, where I was part of the Sussex Centre for Migration Research. My research was a cross-country comparison on city narratives of receptiveness, which employed Brighton and Bologna as case studies. Alongside my PhD I have also worked for two major Sussex research projects: HEIM (Higher Education, Internationalisation and Mobility) - Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, for which I was an Early Career Research Fellow seconded at the Roma Education Fund in Budapest, and YMOBILITY (Youth Mobility) - Horizon 2020, for which I was a Research Assistant. I also worked as external consultant for the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) of Brussels.

Twitter: @CaterillaM


Research Interests:

Post-doc: town twinning, local policies Individual research: Migration, Diversity, Cities, Place-Narratives, Social Inclusion Policies, Migrant Regularisation

Examples of research funding:

  • Higher Education Academy,  Associate Fellow – 2017
  • Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions – Early Career Research Fellowship – 2016
  • Nordic Migration Conference – Conference Funding Award – 2016



Mazzilli, C. (2021). A space of welcome for (almost) everyone. A study on the tension between Brighton and Bologna’s institutional narratives and practices of welcome. In Scaling Welcome (Special Issue). Hospitality & Society. DOI: https://doi. org/10.1386/hosp_00039_1

Ryan, H.E. & Mazzilli, C. (2020). Debating the value of twinning in the United Kingdom: the need for a broader perspective. British Politics, 1-22. DOI:

Mazzilli, C. (2020). “The happiest city in England” Brighton’s narratives of diversity between “success stories” and sidelined issues. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 1-19. DOI:

Pratsinakis, M., King, R., Himmelstine, C. L., & Mazzilli, C. (2020). A crisis‐ driven migration? Aspirations and experiences of the post‐2008 South European migrants in London. International Migration, 58(1), 15-30.

Mazzilli, C., & King, R. (2018). ‘What have I done to deserve this?’ Young Italian migrants in Britain narrate their reaction to Brexit and plans for the future. Rivista Geografica Italiana, 125(4), 507-523.

Moroş anu, L., Bulat, A., Mazzilli, C., & King, R. (2019). Growing up abroad: Italian and Romanian migrants’ partial transitions to adulthood. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 42(9), 1554-1573.

Mazzilli, C. (2018). Black and Ethnic Minorities or Foreigners? Researching Narratives of Receptiveness under Different Political Frameworks Using Semi-Structured Interviews. SAGE Methods Cases Part 2. DOI:

Mazzilli, C. (2015). Towards wonderland: The experience of border- crossing through the eyes of children. In Actas del VIII Congreso sobre Migraciones Internacionales en España: Granada, 16-18 de septiembre de 2015 (p. 28). Instituto de Migraciones.

Riso, P., & Mazzilli, C. (2014). The integration of the asylum seekers and the state of permanent emergency of the immigrants in Calabria. Glasnik Etnografskog Instituta SANU, 62(1), 49-65.


Mazzilli, C. (forthcoming). Day-to-day discrimination in ‘receptive cities’: voices from Brighton and Bologna. In Burgum, S. and Higgins, K. (eds.). How the Other Half Lives. Manchester: Manchester University Press.


Mazzilli, C. (2021). 'Libes: Life Beyond the Shelter'. Long-term support for survivors of human trafficking moving from shelter life to independence. Evaluation Report. Antwerp, Belgium: Payoke NGO.

Raghuram, P., Sondhi, G., Mazzilli, C., and Wadsley (2021). Indian Women’s Migration to the EU. Background Paper. Open University London and International Labour Organisation.


Public Engagement

From 2010 to 2014 I worked in the field of asylum-seekers reception with Universo Interculturale NGO and as a Communication Officer for the Human Rights Nights Organisation of Bologna, Italy.

I write periodic publications for various online magazines such as QCode, Discover Society and Red Pepper, matching my academic interest for migration and place narratives with current political issues. I have written on Italy, Hungary, Greece and the Mediterranean. My latest piece is: Mazzilli, C. 2020(6th May). LOVE BRIGHTON, HATE RACISM: DIFFERENT UNDERSTANDINGS OF ‘DIVERSITY’. Discover Society. Available at:

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