The project investigates the politics of urban asylum in contemporary Britain. In 2009, the UK Border Agency announced moves to increase the private provision of dispersal accommodation for asylum seekers and to halt contracts with local authorities. Such a move effectively ends the provision of public housing to asylum seekers in a number of British cities.
This project is the first endeavor to examine the impacts of this policy shift. The project aims to explore how four urban authorities are responding to these changes and how subsequent negotiations between urban authorities, the Home Office, private accommodation providers and asylum support groups affect the lives of those seeking sanctuary. The multi-sited research is centred upon four cities with significant dispersal numbers; Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Sunderland. In each city a multi-method approach will involve: archival and media research; interviews with key figures in the refugee sector and local authorities; a public forum for stories of asylum; focus groups with asylum seekers; and observation of asylum activism. The research will be disseminated in a range of forms, including academic publications, policy briefing documents and a series of podcasts. All of these output resources will be available on this website here.
This website forms an archive of the project and a resource for those interested in asylum issues in cities. Here you will find details of the work underway in each of the four cities studied, and ongoing details of the findings and outputs of the project. The podcasts section will contain brief outlines of key findings as the project develops, and the blog section will contain updates on the latest news from the project and on issues of asylum and forced migration.