Click on the names of our contributors below to see their articles, pieces and writings.
Aikaterini Antonopoulou is the Simpson Postdoctoral Fellow in Architecture at The University of Edinburgh, where she also teaches architectural design and theory. Her research examines the role and agency of new technologies and digital cultures in the context of crisis Athens, Greece. From 2015 to 2017 she co-led a Master of Architecture studio on Athens under the theme “Athens_Salvaging Urbanism,” which collectively built up into a design-led research project on the city. She holds a Diploma in Architecture from the School of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens (2006), an MSc in Advanced Architectural Design from the University of Edinburgh (2008), and a PhD in Architecture by Newcastle University (2013).
Professor Alastair Ager FRSE is Director of the Institute for Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Professor of Population and Family Health, Columbia University, and Co-Investigator 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.
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.
Aaron is Interdepartmental Program Assistant at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City and graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. You can follow Aaron on @aaronwsteinberg
Avicennais 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 is the project and communications coordinator for the Refugee Hosts project. He is also completing a PhD at UCL which 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 the Middle East 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 email@example.com
Bayan Itani is a Lebanese writer and researcher. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts from the Lebanese American University (2009) and a Master of Arts in Sociology from the American University of Beirut (2015). Bayan has had several experiences working with refugees around Lebanon, particularly after the outbreak of the Syrian crisis. These include monitoring protection work, overseeing surveying procedures, and conducting communication activities. Bayan’s hobbies are reading and writing; she writes socially themed Arabic short stories for children to fulfil this passion.
Bushra Rehman works as a Protection and Inclusion Coordinator for Islamic Relief Worldwide. She previously worked as a Research & Development Officer at Humanitarian Academy of Development where she developed a keen interest in research relating to humanitarian protection amongst displaced populations, specifically in protection against sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) and disability inclusion in humanitarian response. She has travelled to Jordan, Iraq and Tanzania for research and programmatic work. She has also completed an MSc in Conflict, Security and Development from the University of Birmingham.
Caroline is a Senior Lecturer in Social Research and Policy, School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and Senior Research Associate of the Australian Human Rights Institute. Caroline’s main interests are focused on the links between arts-based research, including storytelling, and policy. She is affiliated with the Forced Migration Research Network (FMRN@UNSW) and Sydney Health Ethics (University of Sydney) and is author of the book, ‘Arts-based methods in refugee research: Creating sanctuary (2019, Springer). For more information about Caroline, click here, or follow her on @CarolineLenette
Charlotte Loris-Rodionoff obtained a PhD in Social Anthropology from UCL (2019) titled “Of Revolutionary Transformations: Life in Displacement at the Syrian-Turkish Border” based on 18 months ethnographic fieldwork in Gaziantep. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher on the Southern Responses to Displacement ERC project and is based in Gaziantep where she has been living since 2015.
Diane al Mehdi recently completed an MSc degree specialising in migration and the Middle East before moving to Turkey were she has been based since 2016. Over the last three years she has been involved with different civil society initiatives and local NGOs working with Syrian people displaced in the country. She is currently a member of the Turkey based Syrian Refugees Protection Network.
Diana is a Syrian-American public health researcher with training in global mental health and humanitarian assistance from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is currently based in Berlin, Germany as a Fulbright research fellow studying how Syrian refugees living in urban cities use their faith to cope with the stressors of displacement and integrating into Western society. With additional support from the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), her project also considers how faith communities throughout Germany collaborate to provide not only immediate aid to meet refugees’ basic needs, but also long-term support and opportunities for integration. She tweets @diana_r7
Dina Zbeidy is a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam, and part of the “Muslim Marriages” project funded by the ERC. Her research focuses on the problematization of marriages among refugees and development organizations in Jordan.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dominika Blachnicka-Ciacek is a visual sociologist and an independent curator. Her research and audio-visual practice focus on the intersections of memory, spatiality, migration and refugeehood in the European and Middle Eastern urban environments. She is a post-doctoral researcher on an AHRC- funded project on the inclusion of refugees in public spaces at the University of Sheffield. Her PhD research and the accompanying collection of documentary films ‘The Chronotopes of Palestine’ (2016) explored modes of remembering and relating to Palestine among different generations of Palestinian refugees in Europe in the context of the ongoing dispossession
Prof Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh is Professor of Migration and Refugee Studies at UCL, and co-Director of the UCL Migration Research Unit. 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.
Ellen is a first year PhD candidate at SOAS, University of London, researching the role of local inter-religious action in humanitarian contexts. Her current research, Building Inter-Communal Trust through Faith Partnerships for Aid Delivery aims to help understand the interplay between partnership with Local Faith Communities (LFCs), in particular local faith leaders and other faith-based organizations, and interfaith engagement that can contribute to social cohesion in complex conflict and post-conflict settings.
Dr 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: email@example.com.
A recent graduate of French and Italian literature, Frances Timberlake is now working as a volunteer for the Refugee Women’s Centre, an organisation providing support for refugee women and minors in northern France. She is currently carrying out a research project into gender-specific needs among the populations of informal camps in the region, with a particular interest in how refugees’ own voices can help to shape support services.
Georgis Sourmelis is an artist living and working in Athens.
Giulia Balestra is project and communications coordinator at REFUNITE, a mobile platform that reconnects separated refugee families. Passionate about the intersection of migration, storytelling and social change, she has worked in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, and in reception centres in Europe. She has a MSc in Medical Anthropology, a postgraduate diploma in Social Innovation Management, and a BA in Cultural Anthropology and Italian Literature.
Biography coming soon
Helen is a Lecturer in the Geography Department at King’s College London where she researches and teaches on migration, and human-environment links and humanitarian responses to disasters. Her work focuses on the non-material dimensions that drive human behaviour, often using place attachment as an analytical framework, in the context of environmental change. Helen has worked on adaptation to climate change at the OECD and UNFCCC and is an IPCC lead author.
Hind Sharif is a graduate of The European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights with an MA in Human Rights and Democracy in the MENA Region. After spending time on a number of research and advocacy initiatives in relation to refugees in the Euro-Mediterranean region, Hind is currently the Communications and Community Coordinator at Migration Policy Group.
Currently based at the University of York as a Senior Lecturer, Dr Janaka Jayawickrama started his career in Sri Lanka in 1994 as a local humanitarian worker. He collaborated with conflict affected Tamil, Sinhala, Muslim and other communities in Sri Lanka to help improve their wellbeing in uncertain and dangerous times. He has played key roles in various humanitarian responses including tsunami responses in Sri Lanka (2004), IDPs in Western Darfur, Sudan (2005), Afghan refugees in Pakistan (2006), refugees in Malawi (2006) and Iraqi refugees in Jordan (2007). Throughout his career Janaka has worked within and between academia and policy and practice in disasters, conflicts and uneven development. Currently, he collaborates with academics, policy makers and community groups in Iraq, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Kenya on various education and project activities related to community wellbeing. His on-going work on community wellbeing seeks to shape future policy and practice on humanitarian and recovery interventions in disasters and conflicts.
Jennifer is Head of the Research and Development Department at the Humanitarian Academy for Development (HAD). Her areas of expertise and interest include gender, political violence, Islam(ism), migration, and development, with a focus on Europe, the Levant and South Asia. Jennifer has previously worked for the University of Warwick and Oxford Brookes University and has carried out research in Lebanon, Jordan and Sri Lanka. Jennifer holds a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick and an MSc in Conflict Studies from the LSE and is a trained Practitioner in Civil Non-Violent Conflict Management. For more information about Jennifer please click here.
Jude Wafai is a Syrian-American anthropologist focused on refugee studies, humanitarian spaces and the Middle East. In 2015, she moved to Lebanon to work as a teacher at a non-formal education center for Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley and later, began her masters in Anthropology at the American University of Beirut. She is currently continuing work on her thesis titled, Education as Future-Making: the Dual Experience of Displaced Syrians, where she analyzes the experience of one Syrian family in Lebanon and their navigation of displacement through the overlap of education systems and participatory approaches to development.
Karen Lauterbach is Associate Professor at the Centre of African Studies, University of Copenhagen. Her primary fields of research include Christianity in Africa, religion, politics and social change and religion, displacement and governance. Her current research focuses on institutional trust in Africa, the spiritual history and topography of urban space, religion and development, religious institutions, and governance and wealth and charismatic Christianity in Africa. You can contact Karen via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kat Eghdamian is a specialist researcher and facilitator on religion, forced migration, and minority rights issues. Her current research explores the relationship between religious identity and experiences of international displacement, with a focus on religious minorities among Syrian refugee populations in the Middle East and Europe. Currently a PhD candidate with an Economic and Social Research Council scholarship at University College London (UCL), Kat also holds a number of research, teaching, and consulting roles with national and international organisations. A graduate of the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford, she is also a qualified barrister and solicitor. Prior to academia, Kat worked in human rights advocacy and research for almost a decade, with a primary focus on freedom of religion and belief issues.
Katharina graduated in International Development Studies (MSc) at the University of Amsterdam. For her thesis project, she undertook five months of fieldwork among humanitarian and development actors in Jordan between 2018 and 2019. Her research focused on how development-oriented approaches to refugee assistance transformed roles and practices of international aid agencies in the country. She can be followed on @Katha_Sophie and contacted at email@example.com.
Katharine T. Weatherhead is a PhD candidate at Queen Mary University of London. Her research, which crosses the disciplines of Law and International Relations, examines the creation of legal knowledge among migrants at migration transit points in the European Union. You can contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @KWeatherhead1.
Kathleen Rutledge is a humanitarian worker and doctoral student with the Institute for Global Health and Development at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. She is studying the religious experience of suffering amongst Muslim populations impacted by violent conflict and displacement and its implications for humanitarian response
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. email@example.com / @kavitaurbanist
Leonie Harsch is a Local Researcher for the Refugee Hosts project conducting fieldwork in Lebanon. She recently received an MSc in Migration Studies with distinction from the University of Oxford and holds a BA in International Literatures and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Tuebingen. Leonie’s research focuses on the underlying narratives of responses to displacement and migration, particularly with regards to refugees from Syria in Lebanon and Europe. She is also interested in the role of faith in such responses and experiences.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
DrLudekStavinoha 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. email@example.com
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 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.
Marchi Vera Espinoza completed her PhD in Geography at the University of Sheffield and is a lecturer in Geography at Queen Mary University. Her research and teaching are focused on the intersection of development, political and social geography, with a specific focus on migration and Latin America. Marcia is particularly interested in the study of migration and refugee dynamics, experiences and governance in Latin America, as well as in other regions of the global South. You can read more about Marcia’s work and her publications on her website.
Michelle Lokot is a PhD candidate at the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS) in London, where she is researching gender roles and (im)mobility among self-settled Syrian refugees living in Jordan. She has worked in international development and humanitarian agencies for over eight years, including longer-term fieldwork in Jordan, Nigeria and Burundi. Michelle’s research interests are gender and development, forced displacement, humanitarian assistance and research methods. She holds a Masters in International and Community Development from Deakin University in Australia (2011), a Bachelor of Laws from Monash University in Australia (2007), and a Bachelor of Arts from Monash University in Australia (2007).
Muhammad Sukarno Kurdi is a drummer and guitarist from Aleppo, Syria. He also works as a chef.
Odile Ammann is a PhD researcher in international law at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. She has worked and written on topics including the interpretation and sources of international law, the relationship between domestic law and international law, and judicial populism. Together with Yousif M. Qasmiyeh, Odile is currently preparing an article bringing together perspectives from law and arts, to explore the role of law in the context of the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
Dr Olivia Wilkinson (@OliviaWilk) is the JLI Director of Research, and 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), UniversitéCatholique 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 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.
Said Azim Karimi is a musician (guitar and violin) from Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. He plans to become a pilot.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah is a graduate of University College London Institute of Education with an MSc in Social Policy and Social Research. Sarah spent some time volunteering in refugee camps in Greece and currently works for an international non-government organization. She is interested in refugee representation, identity re(formulation) and child upbringing. You can contact Sarah on email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. McGuirk is an anthropologist, filmmaker, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. She received her PhD from American University in 2016. Her research focuses on subject formation at the intersections of sexuality, gender, migration, NGOs, and state power. She is currently working on collaborative projects with LGBTQ+ asylum seeker and asylee interlocutors in the United States, using sensorial methodologies developed over the course of her MA study in Visual Anthropology, at the University of Manchester. You can learn more about her work on her website, and follow her on Twitter @s_mcguirk
Sofia Zafeiriou is a musician and computer engineer from Greece
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 email@example.com or on Twitter: @foiaforfree.
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.
Dr 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 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
Tatiana Thieme is a lecturer in Georaphy at University College London, currently working on a research project titled “Temporary migrants or new European citizens? Geographies of integration and responses between camps and the city” in collaboration with Eszter Kovacs and Kavita Ramakrishnan. The project is supported by the British Academy’s Tackling the UK’s International Challenges Programme.
TheophilusKwek recently completed 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.
Tom Western researches music and sound at the University of Edinburgh, UK.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him @synskreds.
Dr. William Monteith is a Lecturer in the School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London. Since 2016, he has been the principal investigator on a project investigating the role of marketplaces in facilitating the integration of displaced populations in Kampala, Uganda. Profile: http://www.geog.qmul.ac.uk/staff/monteithw.html; Email: email@example.com; Twitter: @WillMonteith
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.
Zoë Jordan is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice, Oxford Brookes. Her research looks at hosting practices for urban refugees, exploring household-level practices of sharing accomodation and resources, and the impact of humanitarian assistance on these relationships. Her work focuses on the experiences of Sudanese refugee men in Jordan. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or found on Twitter at @ZoeJordan90.