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UNHCR housing units in Diavata camp, Greece © UNHCR/Roland Schoenbauer
UNHCR housing units in Diavata camp, Greece

RSC Public Seminar Series, Michaelmas term

Emergency Shelter and Forced Migration

Series convened by Tom Scott-Smith and Mark E. Breeze

This interdisciplinary seminar series examines the nature and challenges of emergency shelter in the context of forced migration. What are the key issues in the design and provision of shelters? What does better shelter mean and how can we get there? How can political dynamics be managed in the organization of camps and urban areas? What lessons emerge from over forty years practical work in the shelter sector? The speakers in this series include academics and practitioners from the fields of architecture, planning, anthropology, humanitarianism, and design.

The seminar series complements the forthcoming issue of Forced Migration Review on Emergency Shelter, to be published in 2017.

About the speaker

Dr Irit Katz is an architect and a researcher. She recently completed her PhD at the Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge as a Girton College Scholar, affiliated to the Centre for Urban Conflicts Research. Her PhD research examines camps in Israel-Palestine as a spatio-political instrument used in order to achieve political objectives, and she currently studies the camps created along Europe's migration routes.

Irit obtained her BArch degree (Cum Laude) in Architecture from Bezalel Academy for Art and Design, Jerusalem, and her MA (Magna Cum Laude) in Hermeneutics and Cultural Studies from Bar Ilan University. She has worked as an architect in Tel Aviv from 2002-2006 and in London from 2006-2011, specializing in urban planning and housing schemes.

Irit’s research centres on the spatial, geopolitical and social aspects of camps, from their emergence in the 19th century to their current global proliferation. She examines how camps, whether employed by colonial, national and global powers as instruments of control, or constructed ad hoc by displaced populations as makeshift spaces of refuge, are used as versatile mechanisms by which modern societies and territories are administered, negotiated and reorganised.