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£130,000 British Academy/Wolfson Fellowship awarded to Birkbeck academic

Dr Olivia Sheringham is one of seven exceptional early career researchers in the UK to be awarded the Fellowship.

Dr Olivia Sheringham
Dr Olivia Sheringham

Birkbeck academic Dr Olivia Sheringham, Lecturer in Geography and Social Justice, has been awarded a British Academy/Wolfson Fellowship, which aims to support high-quality research in the Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy/Environment (SHAPE) disciplines across the UK. 

The successful Fellows are scholars who show outstanding talent in both research and public engagement and will communicate their research to a global audience.  

Dr Olivia Sheringham’s collaborative and multi-disciplinary project, Home-city spaces of care: networks of solidarity and belonging for refugees and asylum seekers in London, will produce innovative conceptual and methodological tools to understand and document forced migrants’ ‘home-city spaces of care (for example charities, places of worship, friendships and urban green spaces), and the barriers they encounter when accessing and creating them.  

Dr Sheringham’s research will explore the role of care and solidarity in the lives of people seeking asylum, in a policy environment characterised by an absence of care. In her project summary, she writes: A decade into the hostile environment and with a deepening cost-of-living crisis, refugees and people seeking asylum are still facing inhumane asylum procedures, open-ended periods of illegality, threats of deportation, the loss of residency rights and protracted periods of living in limbo. Yet within these contexts, they are building ‘homes’ and networks of care that are vital for their own lives and the societies in which they live. Working with refugee and asylum-seeker participants and two arts-based refugee charities, my research will produce urgently needed knowledge and resources for researchers, civic-organisations, and policymakers to challenge and mitigate the effects of the repressive migration system and foster solidarity and belonging. 

Worth up to £130,000 across three years, the British Academy/Wolfson Fellowships provide researchers with time away from some of their normal teaching and administrative duties to pursue outstanding research, along with funding for public engagement work and travel.  

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