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About the seminar

When the London Design Museum awarded ‘Design of the Year’ to the IKEA refugee shelter last month, the resulting attention strayed once again to the complete, prefabricated unit. Drawing on recent fieldwork in Vienna, this presentation explores a more modest but potentially more successful series of architectural interventions that have been pioneered in the Austrian capital over the past twelve months. Grouped under the heading of ‘social furniture’, these interventions use mundane, everyday items to transform empty office space and circumvent existing employment restrictions for asylum seekers. After explaining the central idea, the seminar will evaluate the strengths and limitations of the model and place it in the context of Viennese urban planning.

COMPAS Seminar Series, Thursdays, Hilary Term 2017

Migration and Urban Transformation: boundaries in an age of resentment

Convened by: Urban Transformations

About the speaker

Tom Scott-Smith is Associate Professor of Refugee Studies and Forced Migration, fellow of St. Cross College Oxford, and Course Director for the MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration. He holds an M.Phil and D.Phil from the University of Oxford, an M.Sc from the University of London, and an M.A from the University of Edinburgh. He was previously Lecturer at the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies at the University of Bristol and Senior Scholar at Lincoln College, Oxford. Before coming to academia, Tom worked as a development practitioner concerned with the education sector in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Tom specializes in the ethnographic and historical study of humanitarian relief and its impact on the lives of refugees. He is currently finishing a five-year project on humanitarian nutrition, whose results will appear in a monograph entitled On an Empty Stomach: the Humanitarian Approach to Hunger. He is also working on a new project, Architectures of Displacement, exploring the lived experience of temporary accommodation for refugees in the Middle East and Europe. His work has appeared in a number of peer-reviewed scholarly journals including Third World Quarterly, the Journal of Refugee Studies, Refugee Survey Quarterly and Disasters.

Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture

The Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture is held in Trinity term. It is named after Professor Elizabeth Colson, a renowned anthropologist.

Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture

The Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture is named in honour of Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, the founding Director of the Refugee Studies Centre. It is held each year in Michaelmas term.

Public Seminar Series

Each term the RSC holds a series of public seminars, held on Wednesday evenings at Queen Elizabeth House. Click here for details of forthcoming seminars.

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Forthcoming events

A celebration of the life of David Turton

Saturday, 20 July 2024, 2pm to 3pm @ The Crypt Cafe, St Peters Church, Northchurch Terrace, London N1 4DA