Dr Evan Easton-Calabria

Senior Research Officer

Evan Easton-Calabria is a researcher at the Refugee Studies Centre focusing on refugee livelihoods, self-reliance, and local governance, and a Junior Research Fellow in Social Sciences at Wadham College, Oxford.

She is Principal Investigator of the RSC research project, ‘Responses to Crisis Migration in Uganda and Ethiopia: Researching the role of local actors in secondary cities’, funded through the Cities Alliance/UNOPS, and a John Fell Fund grant, ‘Digital Livelihoods for Refugees? Exploring pathways to the new world of work in Nairobi and Tel Aviv’. She is also lead editor of the Refugee Studies Centre’s research dissemination platform Rethinking Refuge. Previously she worked on the Refugee Economies Programme's research project on refugee-led social protection.

Her work with refugees began in Kampala, Uganda, in 2011 and has led her to research historical and contemporary refugee self-reliance assistance. Recent work traces the changes and continuities of refugee self-reliance assistance and refugees’ involvement with development since the 1920s. In 2015 she was Principle Investigator for the National Geographic Early Career Grant project ‘Innovation and the Art of Self-Reliance: Artistic Livelihoods of Kampalan Refugees’ and in 2015-2016 for the research project ‘Researching Refugee-Run Micro-Finance’ funded by the Humanitarian Innovation Fund.

While living in Uganda, she co-founded a grassroots organisation with refugees in Kampala that provides livelihoods training and support to urban refugees. Through academic research and piloting grassroots self-reliance projects with refugee communities in Kampala, she aims for her work to contribute to Refugee Studies and inform contemporary refugee policy on livelihoods and self-reliance. She holds a Masters and Doctorate in International Development from the University of Oxford.

In the media
Rethinking refuge
The Global Governed? Refugees as Providers of Protection and Assistance
  • Undergraduate tutor (various colleges), University of Oxford (Self-designed courses: Stepping Back and Moving Onwards: History and Forced Migration; Dilemmas of Development: An Introduction to Development Studies)
  • MSc Facilitator, Research Methods Course, MSc ‘Refugee and Forced Migration Studies’
  • Teaching credentials: DLT (in progress), PLTO, CELTA

Research Students supervised

Journal articles and special issues

Easton-Calabria, Evan (2015) 'From Bottom-Up to Top-Down: The ‘Pre-History’ of Refugee Livelihoods Assistance from 1919–1979', Journal of Refugee Studies 28 (3) 412-36
Easton-Calabria, Evan (with W Allen) (2014) 'Developing Ethical Approaches to Data and Civil Society: From Availability to Accessibility', Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research 28 (1) 52-62

Working papers

Easton-Calabria, Evan (with J Kaplan) (2016) 'Militaries and Humanitarian Innovation: Opportunities and Risks', Refugee Studies Centre Working Paper No 113 Oxford: University of Oxford
Easton-Calabria, Evan (2016) 'Micro-finance in Refugee Contexts: current scholarship and research gaps', Refugee Studies Centre Working Paper No 116 Oxford: University of Oxford
Easton-Calabria, Evan (2016) '"Refugees asked to fish for themselves”: The Role of Livelihoods Trainings for Kampala’s Urban Refugees', UNHCR New Issues in Refugee Research Working Paper No 277 Geneva: UNHCR

Other publications

Easton-Calabria, Evan (with P Lucci, D Mansour-Ille, C Cummings) (2016) '‘Arrival Cities’: Internal Migration, Jobs and the Sustainable Development Goals', Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Policy Brief London: ODI
Easton-Calabria, Evan (2016) 'From Participation to Partnership: Refugee-Run Organisations as Important Actors in Development', Forced Migration Review Issue 52 72-4
Easton-Calabria, Evan (with R Hakiza) (2016) '(Loan) Cycles of Innovation: Researching Refugee-Run Micro-Finance ', Humanitarian Exchange Magazine Issue 66
Easton-Calabria, Evan (with J Kaplan ) (2016) 'Military Actors and the Humanitarian Innovation Ecosystem: Questions, Risks, and Opportunities', Humanitarian Exchange Magazine Issue 66
Easton-Calabria, Evan (with J Kaplan) (2015) 'Military Medical Innovation and the Ebola Response: A Unique Space for Humanitarian Civil-Military Engagement', Humanitarian Exchange Magazine Issue 64
Easton-Calabria, Evan (2014) 'Innovation and refugee livelihoods: a historical perspective', Forced Migration Review, Innovation Supplement Issue 47
21 September, 2020
New article co-authored by Alexander Betts and Evan Easton-Calabria explores provision of assistance by refugees
17 April, 2020
New special issue co-edited by Evan Easton-Calabria examines refugee self-reliance
07 April, 2020
New RSC book analyses how refugees can act as providers of social protection
28 June, 2019
RSC launch new Rethinking Refuge platform
11 May, 2018
New article by Evan Easton-Calabria and Naohiko Omata critiques refugee 'self-reliance'
28 Apr, 2020
'Why refugees are an asset in the fight against coronavirus'. Alexander Betts, Evan Easton-Calabria and Kate Pincock write for the Conversation on the how the work of refugee-led organisations is now more relevant than ever to respond to the consequences of COVID-19
28 Mar, 2019
'"Self-reliance" for refugees? Badly handled it can make matters worse'. Evan Easton-Calabria writes for The Conversation
09 Aug, 2016
'Microfinance: Startup Seed Funding for Refugees'. Naohiko Omata and Evan Easton-Calabria write for Refugees Deeply
03 Aug, 2015
'The art of self-reliance: stories from the refugees who stay'. Evan Easton-Calabria writes for openDemocracy
Research interests:

Refugee studies (emphasis on refugee livelihoods and self-reliance); international development; 20th century history (particularly relating to refugees); humanitarianism; military humanitarianism; humanitarian innovation; social protection.