Blog Contributors

Click on the names of our blog contributors below to see their articles, pieces and writings.

If you are interested in writing a blog, please contact Aydan Greatrick on aydan.greatrick.15@ucl.ac.uk. Guidelines for submissions can be found here.


Alastair Ager:

Professor Alastair Ager is the Co-I on the Refugee Hosts project. He will be leading on the research in Jordan and, along with PI Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, the research in Turkey. Alastair will also lead on investigations into the explicit and implicit roles of faith in responses to and experiences of displacement. He is an expert on health, development and humanitarianism with extensive experience working in and researching the Middle East. Alastair is Director of the Institute for Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh and Professor of Population and Family Health at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. For more on Alatair’s work click here or follow him on @AlastairAger.


Anna Rowlands:

Dr Anna Rowlands is a political theologian at Durham University. She is also the Co-I on the Refugee Hosts project where she will lead on questions relating to the explicit and implicit ways in which faith informs responses to and experiences of displacement. Anna has extensive experience working in the field of migration and asylum in the UK and internationally. For more on Anna’s work click here or follow her on @AnnaRoloands1.


Avicenna Hilfswerk:

Avicenna is an organisation which supports people and institutions in needy countries. In recent years they have offered instrumental support through volunteer networks to Syrian refugees in Europe and the Mediterranean. You can read more about their work here


Aydan Greatrick:

Aydan Greatrick is the project and communications coordinator for the Refugee Hosts project. His research focuses on the roles that gender and sexuality play in determining responses to and engagements with refugees, with particular reference to refugees from Syria in Turkey and Europe. He has a B.A. with honours in history from the University of Cambridge and an M.Sc. in global migration from University College London. You can contact Aydan on @AydanEG or aydan.greatrick.15@ucl.ac.uk


Charlotte Loris-Rodionoff:

Charlotte Loris-Rodionoff is a PhD candidate in social and cultural anthropology at UCL. She has conducted ethnographic fieldwork with Syrians in Southern Turkey between June 2014 and April 2016, where she looks at revolutionary subjectivity and politics, everyday life in exile, and the creation of novel spatio-temporal horizons. Her PhD focuses on the ways in which the disruption created by revolution and exile is lived as a radical personal rupture that plays itself out in each of the core dimensions of Syrians’ life. Her work is part of a research project on comparative anthropologies of revolutionary politics, CARP.


Dominic Davies:

Dominic Davies is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the English Faculty, University of Oxford, where he also completed his DPhil in March 2015. He is the project facilitator for the British Council-US funded network, ‘Divided Cities: Culture, Infrastructure and the Urban Future’, and the convener of the network and seminar series. ’Comics and Graphic Novels: The Politics of Form’, both based at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), University of Oxford. For more on his recent publications and academic history click here. Contact Dominic on dominic.davies@ell.ox.ac.uk


Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh:

Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh is a reader of Human Geography at UCL. She is also the PI of the Refugee Hosts project, where she will lead on research taking place in Lebanon and, along with Co-I Alastair Ager, Turkey. Elena has extensive experience working on and researching asylum and migration, with a specific regional focus on the Middle East and North Africa. Her research interests focus on the intersections of gender and faith in forced migration. Elena also leads the UCL-wide Refuge in a Moving World network. For more on Elena’s work click here or follow her on @RefugeMvngWrld.


Estella Carpi:

Estella Carpi is Research Associate at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit (University College London), and Humanitarian Affairs Advisor at Save the Children-UK. She received her PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Sydney (Australia), with a study on the social response to humanitarian assistance provision in Lebanon. She is presently working on the humanitarian politics of livelihoods in northern Lebanon and southern Turkey. In the past, she worked for a number of research and academic institutions in Abu Dhabi, Beirut, and Cairo, mostly focusing on forced migrations, social welfare, and humanitarian aid provision in the Middle East. She runs a personal blog on www.mabisir.wordpress.com. She can be contacted at: estella.carpi@gmail.com.


Hari Reed:

Biography coming soon


Kavita Ramakrishnan:

Dr. Kavita Ramakrishnan is Lecturer in Geography and International Development at the University of East Anglia. Her current research looks at experiences of precarity and improvisation amongst refugees in Paris. Other ongoing work includes the study of informality and everyday life on the margins in a Delhi resettlement colony. k.ramakrishnan@uea.ac.uk / @kavitaurbanist


Lewis Turner:

Lewis Turner is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS University of London. Lewis’ PhD research explores the place of refugee men and masculinities in the Syria refugee response, and he is simultaneously conducting research about refugees in host state labour markets in the Middle East. He can be contacted at lewis_turner@soas.ac.uk


Ludek Stavinoha:

Dr Ludek Stavinoha is Lecturer in Media and International Development at the University of East Anglia. His current research focuses on EU’s border regime and the mediated networks of solidarity between refugee and volunteer communities in Greece. Before joining the School of International Development at UEA, he taught at the University of Bath andMaastricht University in the Netherlands. l.stavinoha@uea.ac.uk


Lyndsey Stonebridge:

Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge is Refugee Hosts Co-I. She is an expert on modern writing and history, as well as refugee studies. She is Professor of Modern History and Human Rights at UEA. Lyndsey will lead the Refugee Hosts’ creative writing components, through convening both a series of creative writing workshops in the Middle East and a series of translation workshops in the UK with support from our Project Partners PEN International and Stories in Transit. For more on Lyndsey’s work click here or follow her on @LyndseyStonebri.


Marcello Silvestri:

Marcello Silvestri is an internationally renowned artist based in the countryside Maremma region of Italy, whose Mediterranean sea and hills are so prominent in his paintings. His works have been exhibited in Paris at the Salon d’Automne, Palais du Senat, UNESCO, and Institut Catholique; and at the Cirque Royal in Brussels. You can find out more about Marcello’s work by visiting his website.


Olivia Wilkinson:

Olivia Wilkinson (@OliviaWilk) is a research consultant working on issues of religion and culture in humanitarian and development work. She is a graduate of the University of Cambridge (Theology and Religious Studies), Université Catholique de Louvain (NOHA Masters in International Humanitarian Action), and her PhD research was at Trinity College Dublin on secular organisations and local faith communities in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan.


Sadia Kidwai:

Sadia Kidwai is a policy and research analyst at Islamic Relief Worldwide, where she has been developing the organization’s thinking and practice on working with forced migrants and recently authored the report The Rights of Forced Migrants in Islam. Graduating with a B.Sc. Honors in international relations and history from the London School of Economics, Kidwai went on to complete an M.Sc. in violence, conflict, and development from the School of Oriental and African Studies.


Samar Maqusi:

Samar is an architect and urban specialist with 10+ years of experience in international development, including urban planning and development in conflict areas. In 2008, Samar moved to Jordan to work with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), where she still holds the post of Architect/ Physical Planner. Currently, Samar is conducting her PhD studies at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, investigating the spatial politics of the Palestine refugee camps from their inception as scattered relief tents, to the highly dense and urbanized architectural form they have become today. The research focuses on investigating the production of space throughout the 68 years of existence, and the impact on political and spatial negotiations it has provided with the Host Governments, mainly focusing on Jordan and Lebanon. Samar is also involved in documentary filmmaking, spatial installations, and has exhibited her photography in the US. Profile link: http://samarmaqusi.com/ Contact: samarmaqusi@gmail.com


Shelley Angelie Sagaar:

Shelley Angelie Saggar is part of the Communications Team at the Wellcome Collection, a museum that explores the connections between medicine, life and art. She completed her MA in Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds with a focus on indigenous technologies and posthumanism and animal motifs in contemporary refugee writing. Her research interests include postcolonial disaster, food studies and Third and Fourth cinema. You can contact Shelley on s.saggar@wellcome.ac.uk.


Stefana Fogliata:

Stefano Fogliata is a PhD Candidate in Intercultural Humanistic Studies, University of Bergamo. He is also a Visiting Researcher at the Institute of Migration Studies, Lebanese American University. Contact Stefano on stefano.fogliata@gmail.com or on Twitter: @foiaforfree.


Susanna Trotta:

Susanna Trotta completed the UCL MSc Global Migration with distinction in 2016 under the supervision of Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh. Her dissertation on the Humanitarian Corridors initiative has been published by the Migration Research Unit as a working paper. She is currently active as a social worker in asylum seekers facilities in Genoa (Italy) and as a volunteer for Refugees Welcome Italia Onlus, a non-for profit organisation that promotes cohabitation between locals and refugees. Prior to joining UCL, she worked at an asylum seekers centre in Berlin. Her main interests are migration policies and experiences, refugee reception and the role of local faith and non-faith communities.


Tahir Zaman:

Tahir Zaman is currently Senior Teaching Fellow at SOAS University of London. He is primarily interested in matters pertaining to refugee agency and alternative socio-cultural understandings of refuge during times of mass-displacement. His research has explored the social and cultural life-worlds of Iraqi refugees in Damascus and was recently published as a monograph by Palgrave Macmillan in 2016 under the title of ‘Islamic traditions of refuge in the crises of Iraq and Syria’. Tahir has since worked extensively with a leading peace-building and conflict transformation NGO on considering the role of Syrian Diaspora actors in responding to mass displacement and contributing towards peace-building. His current research interest focuses on the intersections of displacement, humanitarianism, and social economy.


Tahmineh Hooshyar Emami:

Tahmineh Hooshyar Emami is an architectural practitioner, activist, speaker and writer. She has graduated from M-Arch at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL and is currently working in architectural research and practice. In her research on ephemeral cities and temporary settlements, she seeks to investigate the spatial implications of refuge in the context of enforced mobility, using critical creative writing and fiction as a tool to explore the transitory European refugee camps, focusing on their liminality and geopolitical position. Tahmineh also works with non-profit design studios to develop playground designs near conflict areas and during her academic studies, designed a theoretical typology of informal educational space in the Jungle refugee camp, Calais. Contact: @TahminehEmami


Theophilus Kwek:

Theophilus Kwek is reading for a MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies at Oxford University. Previously President of the Oxford University Poetry Society, he is now Co-Editor of Oxford Poetry and Chief Executive Assistant at Asymptote.


Ufuk Ozturk:

Ufuk Ozturk is a lecturer in German at the University of Oxford. His current research explores the representation of self in the narrartive structure of classical Sufi poetry, focusing mainly on Persian Sufi poetry. Ufuk is deeply interested in the developments of refugee communities in transition, especially in Turkey, Greece and Germany. He can be contacted at: ufuk.ozturk@hotmail.com, or follow him @synskreds.


Yousif M. Qasmiyeh:

Yousif M. Qasmiyeh is the Refugee Hosts Writer in Residence. He is also a poet and translator who has regularly led literary translation workshops with student English-PEN groups. Yousif will make a number of creative writing contributions throughout the Refugee Hosts project, which you can read by visiting our creative archive. He is a tutor in Arabic at Oxford University. Click here to read more about Yousif and his work.