photo of Hannah LewisDr Hannah Lewis

Senior Research Fellow


Hannah Lewis joined the department in 2015 as a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow. Since completing her PhD ‘Interrogating community: dispersed refugees in Leeds’ at the University of Hull she has worked in academic and non-academic research as a consultant for statutory, voluntary and non-profit organisations. Prior to joining Sheffield she was a Research Assistant and Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, and was a Research Fellow at the School of Geography, University of Leeds 2011-2015.


Hannah is interested in understanding how policies shape the daily lives of people who migrate. She has explored how asylum seeker dispersal, the destitution of refused asylum seekers, ‘race’ and multicultural strategies, and immigration status shape community, family, transnational relationships, work and leisure among migrants and people seeking asylum. Her recent work has centred on concepts of precarity and contingency and how the social and legal status of migrants can create insecurities that may increase susceptibility to poverty, exclusion and forced labour.

She recently completed an ESRC-funded study ‘Precarious Lives’ which was the first academic study to focus on experiences of forced labour among people who are refugees or seeking asylum in the UK. Her research interests include community and social relationships, migration and refugee studies; immigration and asylum policy particularly in relation to destitution among refused asylum seekers in the UK; housing, volunteering, multiculturalism; and the ethics and methodologies of research with migrant populations.

Postgraduate supervision

Hannah welcomes enquiries from students considering pursuing doctoral studies in areas related to her specific research interests.

To find out more about our PhD programmes, go to:
Studying for a PhD in Sociology

To apply for a place and for the scholarship, go to:


Publications since 2005

Peer-reviewed articles

Waite L & Lewis H (2017) Precarious Irregular Migrants and Their Sharing Economies: A Spectrum of Transactional Laboring Experiences. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 1-15. View this article in WRRO

Dwyer P, Hodkinson S, Lewis H & Waite L (2016) Socio-legal status and experiences of forced labour among asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, 32(3), 182-198.

Lewis H, Dwyer P, Hodkinson S & Waite L (2015) Hyper-precarious lives: Migrants, work and forced labour in the Global North. Progress in Human Geography, 39(5), 580-600.

Lewis, H. and Waite, L. (2015) Asylum, immigration restrictions and exploitation: hyper-precarity as a lens for understanding and tackling forced labour. Anti-Trafficking Review, 5

Waite, L., Lewis, H., Dwyer, P, and Hodkinson, S. (2015) Precarious Lives: Refugees and Asylum Seekers’ Resistance within Unfree Labouring. ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, 14(2)

Lewis, H. (2014) Music, dancing and clothing as belonging and freedom among people seeking asylum in the UK. Journal of Leisure Studies, 34(1):42-58

Waite, L., Valentine, G. and Lewis, H. (2014) Multiply vulnerable populations: creating a politics of compassion from the ‘capacity to hurt’. Social and Cultural Geography. 15(3): 313-331 DOI:10.1080/14649365.2013.872286

Lewis, H. and Craig, G. (2013) ‘’Multiculturalism is never talked about’: from multiculturalism to community cohesion at the local level in England’, Policy & Politics. 42(1): 21-38. DOI:

Lewis, H., Dwyer, P., Scullion, L. and Waite, L. (2012) ‘From restrictions to the cap: trends in UK migration policy’. Journal of Poverty and Social Justice 20 (1): 87-91

Lewis, H. (2011) ‘Asylum, migration and community, by Maggie O’Neill’. Reviewed in Critical Social Policy 31 (4): 651-653

Lewis, H. (2010) Community moments: integration and transnationalism at ‘refugee’ parties and events. Journal of Refugee Studies 23 (4): 571-588


Waite, L., Craig, G., Lewis, H. and Skrivankova, K. (Eds.) (2015) Vulnerability, exploitation and migrants. Insecure work in a globalised economy. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Lewis, H., Dwyer, P., Hodkinson, S. and Waite, L. (2014) Precarious lives. Forced labour, exploitation and asylum. Bristol: Policy Press.

Book chapters

Scullion, L., Lewis, H., Dwyer, P., Waite, L. (2014) Exploring the link between forced labor and immigration status in the United Kingdom. In Hoang, K. and Parreñas, R. (eds.) Human trafficking reconsidered: rethinking the problem, envisioning new solutions. The International Debate Association: New York, London and Amsterdam.

Craig, G. and Lewis, H. (2014) ‘Multiculturalism or assimilation and social exclusion: ethnic minorities in the United Kingdom’ in Global perspectives on the politics of multiculturalism in the 21st century, B’Beri, B.E. and Mansouri, F. (eds.). London and New York: Routledge.

Lewis, H. (2011) ‘Music, dancing and clothing as belonging and freedom among people seeking asylum in the UK’ in Watson, R. and Harpin, J (eds.) Identities, cultures and voices in leisure, sport and tourism. LSA volume no. 116. Brighton: Leisure Studies Association

Long, J., Hylton, K., Lewis, H., Spracklan, K. and Ratna, A. (2011) ‘Space for inclusion? The construction of sport and leisure spaces as places for migrant communities’ in Ratna, A. and Lashua, B. (eds.) Community and inclusion in leisure research and sport development. LSA Volume no. 114. Brighton: Leisure Studies Association

Research reports

Dwyer, P., Hodkinson, S., Lewis, H., and Waite, L. (2013) Precarious lives: refugees and asylum seekers’ experiences of forced labour, exploitation and asylum. Research report. University of Leeds.

Dwyer, P., Lewis, H., Scullion, L. and Waite, L. (2011) Forced labour and UK immigration policy: status matters? Joseph Rowntree Foundation, York.

Hassan, M., Lewis, H. and Lukes, S. (2010) ‘No Choice Little Voice’: The Somali housing emergency in north and east London. London: Karin Housing Association.

Lewis, H. (2009) Still destitute: a worsening problem for refused asylum seekers. York: Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

Lewis, H. and Craig, G. (2009) Refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Yorkshire and Humber: an overview of recent research. Yorkshire and Humber Regional Review, 19, 1: 23-25.

Lewis, H., Craig, G., Adamson, S. and Wilkinson, M. (2008) Refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Yorkshire and Humber, 1999-2008. A literature review. Leeds: Yorkshire Futures.

Lewis, H. (2007) Destitution in Leeds: the experiences of people seeking asylum and supporting agencies. York: Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

Wilson, R. and Lewis, H. (2006) A part of society. Refugees and asylum seekers volunteering in the UK: a report based on case studies of ten organisations. Leeds: Tandem.

Other publications

Rose N, Stirling S, Ricketts A, Chappel D. (2011) (contributing author) Including migrant populations in Joint Strategic Needs Assessment: a guide. PDF
(Online resource) Regional migration research database (2009)