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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

Cathrine Brun is Director of the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP) in the School of Architecture at Oxford Brookes University. Previously she was Professor of Human Geography and Director of Research and Director of the Norwegian Researcher School for Geography at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

She has worked for 20 years on forced migration as a result of conflict and disasters. Currently she is working particularly on humanitarianism in protracted displacement and chronic crises and with housing for forced migrants. Much of her work has been in urban contexts and in camps. As a human geographer, she is interested in how, in chronic crises and displacement, the relationships between people and places change due to displacement, with a view to understanding the relationships between displaced and their hosts and notions of housing and home. Her work often emphasises how people who experience crises deal with adversity – especially how they strategise and manoeuvre in the course of encounters with institutions and regimes.

Cathrine’s work has also engaged with the ethics and politics of humanitarianism, the experiences and practices of humanitarians, and the unintended consequences of humanitarian categories and labelling practices, particularly in the context of long-term conflict and displacement. Temporal and spatial dimensions of both forced migration and humanitarianism are cross-cutting themes in her work.

Collaborating with colleagues, organisations and citizen groups in Sri Lanka, Georgia and more recently Malawi, she has developed innovatory methods for ethnographic fieldwork, participatory action research and real time research. She is interested in how such methodological insights may contribute to improving knowledge production, particularly among humanitarian organisations.

Podcast

Listen to the podcast of this seminar here >>