Essex has a proud and radical tradition of providing sanctuary for academics and young people, and is committed to making the University a welcoming and safe place for refugees and asylum seekers.
We are an official University of Sanctuary, after being awarded the status in December 2020. This recognises our commitment to promoting a culture of welcome, safety and inclusion across our campuses and their wider communities.
"The Essex Student Action for Refugees group has transformed the lives of some of our most vulnerable and isolated women."
Our award-winning THINK! debate series is a cornerstone of the Essex Education, debating critical issues of the day - three events have focused on refugees and immigration.
Our researchers are highlighting the challenges faced by asylum seekers and refugees through their academic work, and they are involved in activities and initiatives in many different areas.
Read our research case study about how we're helping to improve the lives of refugees around the world.
The longstanding work of Professor Renos Papadopoulos, Director of the Centre for Trauma, Asylum, and Refugees, has placed refugee care at the heart of Essex.
ProfessorDepartment of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex
The Centre for Migration Studies, provides a home for cross-disciplinary dialogue on migration studies, and is leading on research and initiatives to improve the lives of refugees. The centre is led by Director Dr Renee Luthra, an expert in international migration, and Deputy Director Dr Carlos Gigoux Gramegna, who is working on a project that examines the role of social organisations in the social integration of refugees.
Senior LecturerDepartment of Sociology, University of Essex
LecturerDepartment of Sociology, University of Essex
Professor Geoff Gilbert specialises in international refugee, humanitarian and human rights law, and is a member off Essex’s Human Rights Centre, which is pioneering the theory and practice of human rights from the local to the global
ProfessorSchool of Law, University of Essex
Dr Chris Nicholson has been working with the charity Refugee Action Colchester, along with Dr Zibiah Loakthar and MA Refugee Care students on placement there. They set up the Essex Refugee Mental Health Enabling Network, and won a bid through The Refugee Council from The Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) that will support mental health and wellbeing provision for local refugees and unaccompanied children. It also enables the charity to employ the clinical staff they need. Chris’s contribution gains £25,000 to support the charity in becoming a Therapeutic Community.
Senior LecturerDepartment of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex
Lecturer MA/PhD Refugee CareDepartment of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies , University of Essex
Research by Dr Paul Hanel, from our Department of Psychology, Malina Beier, and Professor Uwe Wolfradt has formed the basis of a manuscript currently under review. The work, titled: The Role of Own and Perceived Human Values in the Acculturation of Refugees focuses on the importance of understanding how, as increasing numbers of people are displaced from their homes, they integrate into new, temporary homes. As part of the research, Dr Hanel and colleagues tested the role of human values in acculturation (assimilation to a different culture) strategies, in a sample of 215 refugees from Arabic speaking countries living in Germany. Contrary to predictions, perceptions of Germans’ values were mainly unrelated with acculturation. The full manuscript is anticipated to be published in a scientific peer-review journal by mid-2021.
LecturerDepartment of Psychology, University of Essex
Dr Daniela Pinezzi’s work examines how non-governmental actors are responding to the ongoing ‘refugee crisis’. In a recent project (July, 2019) she examined the challenges and opportunities faced by Refugee Action Colchester, in developing systems and processes aimed at improving the lives and prospects of asylum seekers and refugees. As part of the project, Dr Pianezzi prepared a three-year business plan for the charity in collaboration with EBS colleague Professor Shahzad Uddin.
Our teaching addresses issues relating to migration and sanctuary seekers at all levels, in both courses and modules.
The University of Essex is committed to inclusivity and prides itself on offering a transformative education to people from a diverse range of different backgrounds and countries. We want as many applicants as possible to have the opportunity to study with us and recognise that many forced migrants may not have access to qualification documentation to evidence their previous academic or English language qualifications. If you are in this position and you do not have access to some or all of your qualification documents, please contact the relevant Admissions Office to discuss how we can support you to make an application to the University of Essex.
Students with UK refugee status, or dependants of UK refugees, may be eligible for a refugee bursary of up to £1,000 if studying full time, or up to £500 if studying part time.
We are offering two Sanctuary Scholarships to support students who are refugees or seeking asylum to study for a Postgraduate Taught (PGT) Masters with us in 2022-23. The scholarships will be awarded to new students who meet the criteria of UK asylum status or discretionary or limited leave to remain as a result of an asylum application – and who have already received an academic offer to study at the University.
The University’s student wellbeing and inclusivity service provides a professional and proactive guidance service, within a healthy and inclusive environment, to help our students to fulfil their potential. The team's accessibility and wellbeing manager, is a dedicated member of staff and the main point of contact for sanctuary students.
If you would like to get in touch and find out more about our financial and wellbeing support for refugee students please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2019 our Centre for Migration Studies was involved with a number of community arts projects that saw more than 350 people mark Refugee Week.