The BrExpats project team builds on the longstanding writing collaboration between Dr Michaela Benson and Professor Karen O’Reilly. Both Michaela’s and Karen’s research has been published in academic journals, has featured in national newspapers and on BBC Radio 4’s flagship social science programme Thinking Allowed.

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Dr Michaela Benson is the project lead and a sociologist based at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her responsibilities on the project include, primary research with UK Citizens living in the Lot and Toulouse, project management and coordination, and hosting the project podcast.

Michaela is renowned for her work on British migration, conducting research and writing on this topic since the early 2000s. In 2011, she published her book The British in Rural France with Manchester University Press, which was shortlisted for the British Sociological Association’s Philip Abrams Memorial Prize (2012).


Professor Karen O’Reilly is the Professorial Research Fellow on the project. Her responsibilities on the project include conducting primary research with UK citizens who have made Andalusia their homes and helping with the design of the citizens’ panel.

Through her research on British migrants living in Spain in the 1990s, she set the agenda for the sociological study of British migration. This work, published as The British on the Costa del Sol (2000, Routledge) is one of the best known books about this population and dispels many of the myths about Britons living abroad. She has more recently been complementing this with research on Britons living and working in Malaysia and Thailand. She is also known for her book International Migration and Social Theory (2012, Palgrave) which won the CHOICE outstanding academic title award.

K CollinsDr Katherine Collins is the research associate on the project. Her primary responsibility is the design and organisation of the citizens’ panel where UK citizens from around the EU27 can feed into the project on a rolling basis. In this role, she works closely with our citizens’ panellists.

She brings to the team her particular expertise in the creative and critical practices involved in the writing of obscure and marginalised lives and particularly methodological innovations in practices of participatory writing. She is also a Visiting Scholar at the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing, where she co-ordinates the Life-Writing as Inquiry research strand, and is undertaking a prosopographical survey of British expatriate communities in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, funded by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.



Chantelle Lewis also joins the team as a researcher. Her role includes the examination of when and how UK citizens living abroad are represented and discussed in parliamentary proceedings. She will also be working to increase the representation of ethnic minorities on our citizens’ panel.

Chantelle is a PhD candidate in the Sociology department at Goldsmiths, where she is researching mixedness in British monocultures. She holds a BA in Sociology from Loughborough University and an MA in Culture, Ethnicity and Diaspora from Birkbeck.  She comes to the project having recently completed a research placement at the British Library on the institution’s lack of inclusion of writers and activists of colour.

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Mike Danby also joins the team as the project research intern. He will be conducting primary research about what Brexit means to UK citizens living in and around Granada—with a particular focus on people under the age of 35—and blogging about his experience of moving to Spain.

He is a recent graduate in BA Sociology from Goldsmiths. Having lived previously in Spain, teaching English he has just moved to Granada, Andalusia.