Producing Urban Asylum

This project investigates the politics of urban asylum in contemporary Britain.

A row of terraced housing

In 2009, the UK Home Office 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 endeavour 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.