Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore


The Asia Research Institute (ARI) was established in 2001 to provide a focal point and resource for world-class research on the Asian region at the National University of Singapore. ARI engages the humanities and social sciences broadly defined and especially interdisciplinary frontiers between and beyond disciplines. As a university-level institute, ARI brings together scholars from different departments, schools and faculties across campus for seminars, conferences and collaborative research projects. Located at one of Asia’s communication hubs, the Institute is also an important place for scholarly encounters between Singapore, the region and wider worlds. The Asian Migration Cluster at Asia Research Institute, draws together research interests in a broad range of human migrations, mobilities and interconnectivities within and beyond Asia. 

Research areas 

The migration cluster works on four priority research themes: 

  • The first focuses on the material processes and discourses of globalisation and transnationalism as they intersect in Asian cities. This includes exploring new knowledge frameworks through which to understand the complex and diverse linkages between global change and transnational migration in cities of diversity.
  • The second research theme investigates the relationship between human aspiration, migration and development in Southeast Asia, with a focus on the development impact of migration in sending communities as well as the costs and risks of migration for the poor. 
  • A third research theme highlights the organisation and constitution of transnational (im)mobility as a means of (re)conceptualising different mobile practices, temporalities and rationalities that characterise people on the move in Asia. 
  • Our fourth examines the nexus between transnational migration and ageing, and gives special consideration to how care is provisioned for or provided by older adults in the context of care circulations.

Under these overarching themes, cluster members – through collective and individual projects – explore a range of topics including the politics of mobility and space in postcolonial contexts; cosmopolitanism and transnationalism; the political economy of cities; transnational ageing and care ethics; cultural racism and co-ethnicity; education, youth and mobilities; nurse migration; migration and gendered subjectivities; intimate social relations; multiple modernities; marriage migration and transnational familyhood; the role of communication technologies; the migration industry and brokerage practices; and citizenship practices.

The cluster was actively involved in several international collaborative research programmes such as Waves 1 and 2 of Children and Migrant Parents in Southeast Asia (CHAMPSEA); Transnational Relations, Ageing and Care Ethics (TRACE); Transnationalism and Diaspora; and Two steps, triple wins and bus stops: A comparative analysis of skilled migration systems in Canada, Germany and Singapore. Please refer to for more information on these projects.

Training opportunities

Please refer to for internship and fellowship opportunities.

Recent Publications

Acedera, K.F. and B.S.A. Yeoh (2021) When care is near and far: Care triangles and the mediated spaces of mobile phones among Filipino transnational families. Geoforum, 121: 181-191, doi: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2021.02.021. [Open Access] 

Full Text: 

Lin, W. and B.S.A. Yeoh, Pathological (Im)mobilities: managing risk in a time of pandemics. Mobilities, 16, no. 1 (2021), 96-112, doi: 10.1080/17450101.2020.1862454. 

Full Text:

Brickell, K., M. Bylander, N. Natarajan, L. Parsons and B.S.A. Yeoh, Debt, (Un)Freedom, and Development: Lessons from Contemporary Asia. Geoforum, online first (2021), doi: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2021.02.003.


Wee, K. and B.S.A. Yeoh, Serial Migration, Multiple Belongings and Orientations toward the Future: The Perspective of Middle-class Migrants in Singapore. Journal of Sociology, online first (2020), doi: 10.1177/1440783320960521.

Full Text:

Yeoh, B.S.A., B.C. Somaiah, T. Lam and K. Acedera (2020) Doing Family in “Times of Migration”: Care Temporalities and Gender Politics in Southeast Asia. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 110 (6): 1709-1725, doi: 10.1080/24694452.2020.1723397. [Open Access]

Full Text:

Somaiah, B.C., B.S.A. Yeoh and S.M. Arlini (2020) “Cukup for me to be successful in this country”: “Staying” among left-behind young women in Indonesia’s migrant sending villages. Global Networks, 20 (2): 237-255, doi: 10.1111/glob.12238. [Open Access]

Full Text:

Contact person and email 

Dr Theodora Lam,