Architectures of Displacement

This project explores the lived experience of temporary accommodation for refugees in the Middle East and Europe. Led by Dr. Tom Scott-Smith at the Refugee Studies Centre, it brings together experts in forced displacement, archaeology, anthropology, and architecture to study refugee shelter across six countries. The project is a partnership with the Pitt Rivers Museum and has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the UK.


The project has four main aims: First, to produce an inventory that records and categorizes the diverse range of emergency accommodation in situations of forced migration. Second, to produce detailed portraits of emergency shelter through ethnographic writing, photographic essays and film. Third, to assess the social, cultural, political and legal implications of different emergency shelters. And fourth, to inform the design of successful policies on shelter and displacement through discussion with humanitarian and governmental agencies.


To achieve these aims, the project will conduct multi-sited fieldwork throughout 2017 and early 2018 in order to capture the full range of emergency accommodation generated by the Syrian refugee crisis. Research will take place in six countries: Jordan, Lebanon, Greece, Italy, Germany and France, with sites in these countries capturing the most creative and diverse range of accommodation types.