Supporting refugees and asylum seekers

As a City of Sanctuary, Sheffield has a history of providing a welcome and hospitality for refugees and asylum seekers.

We're proud to be part of this in our role as a University of Sanctuary.

Events and highlights


Inspirational academics

Tim Herrick is a Senior University Teacher in the School of Education at the University of Sheffield. Tim is a Senate Award Fellow and a CILASS Fellow.

Here he talks about his inspiration for teaching and his work with people from asylum seeker backgrounds.


Edmund de WaalFetched Home by Edmund de Waal

Award-winning artist, writer and Sheffield alumnus Edward de Waal has gifted the University a piece of art in response to our work to welcome staff and students from around the world, including those seeking refuge and asylum.

Watch on YouTube

An interview with Edmund de Waal

In this feature on Edmund de Waal we learn about Edmund de Waal's family history and his practice as an artist and a writer. You can also watch his lecture: On the eve of departure: homelessness, exile and art.


Migrants in the cityMigrants in the City conference on iTunes U

Rapid urbanisation is radically changing the economic, financial, social, and ecological landscape of our planet. It has been identified as the single greatest development challenge and opportunity for the 21st century.

International migration has been, is and will continue to be a key route both shaping and being shaped by urbanisation.

This international conference provides a forum for the examination of key questions related to contemporary international migration in the context of urban development, residential segregation and diversity.

Comment and research

Comment and research

Woman with childCOMMENT

Do refugees understand the Bible better than us?

3 February 2017 Dr Casey Strine, Lecturer in Ancient Near Eastern History and Literature at the University of Sheffield, explains how the texts we call the Bible come from communities who experienced marginalisation in various ways.


Alan Kurdi a year on: How an image transformed the debate on immigration

1 September 2016 Since photographs of drowned refugee Alan Kurdi became headline news last year, discussion about refugees and migrants has increased on Twitter by almost 400 per cent.

Visual Social Media Lab: How an image transformed the debate on immigrationOur Visual Social Media Lab has produced independent research for charity Oxfam highlighting the impact the heartbreaking images of the three-year old refugee have had on social media a year on from his death. The analysis found a rise in interest in the refugee issue on Twitter, with four times as many tweets on the subject than in the year before.

See also:

Aylan Kurdi: How a single image transformed the debate on immigration


Back Where You Came From exhibitionRefugees – an authority on the world's best selling book

22 June 2016 In this comment piece Dr Casey Strine shares his research on the book of Genesis, which he discussed at the Migration Matters festival in June as part of Refugee Week 2016.

Casey is Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Sheffield’s Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies.



What our staff and students are already doing


From Somalia to Sheffield: Abdi's story

Abdi-Aziz Suleiman came to the UK and to Sheffield as a child as an asylum seeker from Somalia. As President of our Students' Union he co-founded our #WeAreInternational campaign with the Vice-Chancellor.

Why I'm proud to be a 'bad migrant'

Abdi reflects on society’s idea of a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ migrant and why we shouldn’t allow anyone to convince us not to have empathy. Posted on the New Statesman.

Sheffield skylineA PLACE OF SANCTUARY

Sheffield – a city and university of sanctuary

As a City of Sanctuary, Sheffield has a history of providing a welcome and hospitality for refugees and asylum seekers. We're proud to be part of this in our role as a University of Sanctuary.

We have staff, students and alumni who were refugees and our academic staff work with refugees in the city. We're associated with Cara, an organisation that helps academics in immediate danger, those forced into exile, and many who choose to remain in their home countries despite the serious risks they face.

Sheffield Walk for RefugeesSCHOLARSHIPS FOR STUDENTS

Asylum seeker students find sanctuary in Sheffield

Six new students who are asylum seekers from around the world have found sanctuary in Sheffield this year, thanks to scholarships provided by the University of Sheffield.


Supporting at-risk academics and refugee students

We're a university with a long-standing tradition of welcoming refugees as academics and students. The Sheffield walk for refugees in 2016 was a chance to celebrate our proud heritage and show solidarity with those that are still in danger.

One of the founding ideas of a university is that it welcomes talent from around the world. This video presents a few of the stories and testimonies of refugee scholars and students at the University of Sheffield.

Campaigns and support for students

Campaigns and support for students


The government must do more for refugees

Professor Andrew Geddes from our Department of Politics is among a number of leading academics to sign a letter urging the British government to urgently change its approach to the European refugee and migrant crisis.


We are international

We launched our We are international campaign to ensure that the contribution of international students to our economy and culture is recognised.


Support for asylum seekers

We're committed to supporting students who have sought asylum in the UK through scholarships, services and a dedicated asylum seeker contact.

Asylum Seeker Scholarships

These scholarships will be available for students studying undergraduate degrees or postgraduate masters courses. Our aim is to support students under the government’s resettlement programme or who are recent arrivals in the UK.

Help for current students affected by the refugee crisis

Our Students' Union Advice Centre is here to help you during your academic studies, and can also provide advice on issues such as finance and housing, asylum and working in the UK.


Back where you came from

For Refugee Week 2015, University academic Dr Casey Strine and artist/art therapist Emilie Taylor worked with asylum seekers and refugees in Sheffield to create an art exhibition reflecting on their experiences of seeking sanctuary in the city.

Find out more