The Sanctuary University scheme is relatively new, but is growing rapidly, with universities across the country, from Winchester in the south to Edinburgh in the north enjoying Sanctuary University status. The scheme aims:
‘to inspire and support universities to develop a culture and a practice of welcome within their own institutions, in their wider communities, and across the Higher Education sector in the UK’.
I attended the Sanctuary Universities Conference hosted
by York St John last week.
The conference programme was an exciting mix of practitioner experience, research and students sharing their work and experiences. It was really moving to hear from students about the impact the Sanctuary awards had had on their lives, and great to see their talent and hard work on display as student members of the steering group co-chaired the event. Representatives of NGOs such as RefuAid and CARA shared their work on supporting refugee access to Higher Education.
Unfortunately Edge Hill is not a member of this supportive network, but all universities can access their resources, and the network continues to welcome new members.
Maddy Robinson of STAR (Student Action for Refugees) will be speaking about the work of this national NGO, formed by students, which now makes up a national network. She will be discussing the diverse voluntary work carried out by students across the UK, and their influential campaign work including changing universities’ policies for HE Access.
Edge Hill was one of of the first universities to offer fee waivers for students unable to continue their studies due to their refugee status: STAR campaigns to ensure that access is supported and improved, reflecting the demands of students that their university is a place where everyone is welcome, and equality matters.
Find out how you can get involved at 1pm 22nd May E19 (FoE Lakeside)
With thanks for the support of I4P
What is STAR?
STAR is a national charity of 27,000 students welcoming refugees to the UK. Together we:
Volunteer at local refugee projects
Campaign to improve the lives of refugees
Educate people about refugees and asylum
STAR is made up of 46 groups at universities and colleges across the UK and a national team which co-ordinates and supports the groups. STAR groups are students’ union societies which are affiliated to the charity. The charity is governed by STAR’s Board of Trustees, elected annually by the students themselves.
Guest post by Agnieszka Martynowicz and Agnieszka Radziwinowiczówna.Agnieszka M. is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Edge Hill University. Her research interests include migration(s), criminal justice and human rights, in particular in the context of imprisonment and immigration detention. Her current research focuses on deportations of Polish citizens after their contact with the criminal justice system. Agnieszka R. is a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the University of Wolverhampton, where she is undertaking a two-year research project ‘Brexit and Deportations: Towards a Comprehensive and Transnational Understanding of a New System Targeting EU Citizens’ (BRAD).
The Brexit Referendum of 23rd June 2016 became one of the most defining moments in British politics and social life in at least a generation. Achieving an overall majority of 51.9%, the supporters of the UK leaving the European Union (EU) secured a narrow victory. The UK Government started the exit process at the end of March 2017, developing a host of new policies and legislation to enable the ‘disentangling’ of UK’s current ties with the EU. This includes pursuing a goal of ending the freedom of movement (FOM) for EU citizens into the UK on (or soon after) the exit date.
Action for Refugees was formed as a grouping of academics, support staff and students at Edge Hill University who felt a common need to respond to the plight of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK and abroad.
The initial spark was created by a presentation given by members of staff in the Faculty of Education on their work as volunteers in the Calais Jungle. This prompted a multi-faceted response that included fund-raising, volunteering, curriculum developments and knowledge sharing and transfer events. Perhaps most importantly, the group engaged on a number of levels with refugees, asylum seekers and organisations working to support them.
We aim to promote a multi-faceted, positive, response to the refugee crisis that results in a greater understanding of and practical support for those involved.
Our intended outcomes are to:
Share relevant research.
Increase knowledge and understanding of the refugee crisis.
Provide practical support to refugees, asylum seekers and those agencies working with them.
Ensure that all teacher-training graduates from the Faculty of Education are better able to meet the learning requirements of refugees.
To learn from the experiences, skills and knowledge of refugees and asylum seekers.
We are very keen to ensure that the development of the group is led by the priorities of those directly involved. It is important to us that the group is open to refugees and asylum seekers as well as representatives from the wide range of organisations working to support them.
Prof John Diamond writes…
Prof John Diamond
The work colleagues – staff and students – are undertaking across both the Faculty of Education and the wider University to support refugee and asylum seekers and the various NGO support groups that exist here in the North West of England are a very real and practical example of how skills, knowledge and ideas can be shared and the effect of which can be transformative.
More events, calls for papers, new research and other information related to work with refugees that we think should be shared.
Documentaryabout seeking asylum in the UK and the detention process.
A Qualitative Research Symposium ‘Understanding Migration’ is to be held on the 12th April at UEA, designed to be as accessible and interactive as possible for interdisciplinary staff and PGR students working in migration research. For more information see their website.
British Academy funded research into urban refugees’ experiences in the Global South reports in their new blog.
Learning resources designed to facilitate an exploration of LGBT and migrant lives and, more generally, an engagement with issues of equality and diversity, are now available to download from ‘Intimate Migrations’:
We’ve started this blog to act as a port of information for what has rapidly become a rather large group of staff and students committed to ‘Action for Refugees’.
Check out the ‘about’ page to find out how ‘Action for Refugees’ began, look at the ‘volunteering’ page to see current opportunities to get involved in the local community, and we will be posting news about the group’s meeting and planned activities here on the blog pages.
If you can’t find the information you need, please get in touch with us at A4R@edgehill.ac.uk and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.