IDS played host to Sussex academics and advocates undertaking research and supporting refugees and asylum seekers for an evening of discussion, debate and calls to action. The event was a chance for those who research and those who advocate for refugees to come together, to explore linkages between these two worlds, to share ideas and best practice and to look at ways they can inform and support one another.
The evening was co-hosted by the Lewes Organisation in Support of Refugees and Asylum Seekers (LOSRAS), a local group of advocates who aim to promote the welfare of refugees and asylum seekers in and beyond the Lewes District by raising awareness, providing practical help, responding to local issues as they arise as well as advocating to improve the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.
Academics and advocates from across Sussex
Speakers from the IDS, University of Brighton, University of Sussex, and Voices in Exile completed the panel. Voices in Exile is another local group who work with refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants with no recourse to public funds in the South of England. They offer practical and legal support including generalist advice and specialist immigration casework for those who would otherwise be unable to access justice.
Dolf te Lintelo, an academic at IDS, presented some of his most recent work on Syrian refugee communities in Lebanon and Jorden as well as touching on the more recent ‘The Displacement, Placemaking and Wellbeing in the City’ project and how research that is being carried out in these projects can inform our understanding of the structures, dynamics and processes through which people who are displaced succeed or fail to become part of cities they have relocated too.
Linking these larger overseas projects back to the local, speakers Mark Doidge, Senior Research Fellow University of Brighton and Elisa Sandri, graduate students at the University of Sussex, both spoke of their experiences volunteering with The Hummingbird Project. This charity provides aid and solidarity to refugee and unaccompanied minors who flee from conflict and aim to settle in East Sussex. Elisa Sandri in particular gave moving testimony of her experiences volunteering in the ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais.
The evenings discussion was one in a series of events that are being held across Sussex in the build up to World Refugee day June 20th. From the 5-9th July there is a planned Walk In Solidarity with Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Detainees organised by Refugee Tales. This is a 5 day walk across Sussex starting in Brighton with talks and workshops held in the evenings.