Emergency shelter

What strategies and techniques are used to shelter the forcibly displaced? What assumptions are these based upon? What are their effects? This research examines humanitarian shelter from three distinctive angles.

First, through the study of material culture: this project examines shelters, site designs, and remnants of informal housing in order to understand humanitarian techniques and the vernacular practices of people on the move.

Second, through ethnographic enquiry: the project uses interviews and participant observation to understand how people live in emergency shelters, how they transform the spaces they inhabit, and how they adapt their everyday lives.

Third, through historical analysis: the project examines archives and oral histories in order to understand how approaches to emergency shelter have evolved, how they have remained the same, and how they reflect ideological pressures and socio-political constraints.

Tom Scott-Smith
Associate Professor of Refugee Studies and Forced Migration