The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Dr Giovanna Astolfo awarded funding for the research project 'Reframing Arrival infrastructures’

25 January 2024

Dr Camillo Boano, Dr Harriet Allsopp and IRDR's Estella Carpi have received AHRC funding for the project ‘Reframing Arrival infrastructures’, led by Dr Giovanna Astolfo.

Emergency tents

The new project 'Reframing Arrival infrastructures' aims to reframe the paradigm of forced migrants’ arrival as a policy framework and discursive realm. Taking the idea of unfolding crisis as background, the project will develop around different research strands. The project aims to achieve the following: 

  • Investigate how refugees’ action and agency are shaped by and shape the infrastructure of arrival in different locations
  • Examine specific housing choices and dwelling strategies that occur under conditions of constraint within the humanitarian systems of care
  • Understand how different spaces of refusal or acceptance, care and repair, can be opened up to go beyond binary approaches of power/resistance, or humanitarian myths of self-reliance and resilience

Within the entangled crisis, in this post-covid, post-Brexit, post-Arab spring context – how do forced migrants from sub-Saharan Africa in the UK or Italy navigate their way through hostile or lack of housing? How do Ukrainian care workers in Italy live the home when this is both a place of work, exploitation and safety? How do Syrian families in London cope with the cost of living crisis, gentrification and eviction? How do migrants and refugees make housing choices in Istanbul, and how do they respond to local governance encouraging refugee presence in specific suburbs?

These are few of the questions that the project will examine in Italy, UK and Turkey, paying attention to how refugees navigate housing precarity and belonging at the nexus of inclusion/exclusion generated by multiple overlapping crises. 

In Italy, the project will engage with ‘Interstitial spaces of inhabitation: imperfect trajectories in the urban space’, by examining different accommodation/housing including: 

  • Shelters for the unhoused operated by NGOs with limited state support
  • State-led diffused hospitality operated by NGOs
  • Makeshift solutions by refugees with support from activists and NGOs

In the UK, the project will examine ‘Austerity, arrival and dwelling strategies.’ Using the concepts of displaceability, deportability and evictability in relation to arrival regimes, in Hastings and London, the project will explore how ‘home’ and homelessness are lived. The project will also try to decontextualise these notions from common associations with shelter to allow for a wider understanding of different practices of dwelling, the street and territories as a home. Similarly to Italy, the project will engage with shelters, diffused hospitality and makeshift solutions. 

In Turkey, the project will assess 'Trajectories of displacement and housing choices of refugees in response to governmental policies' and as a result of their own displacement trajectories. In particular, the project will evaluate individual housing histories, pull and push factors for multiple relocation (e.g earthquakes, migration policies, cost of housing, kinship networks) and type of house tenancy (from rented to owned property to makeshift solutions). 
In all these locations, the project will take 'a more-than-relational approach' (Fiddian 2016) to be able to recognise the role that forced migrants play as housing seekers and providers.
'Reframing Arrival Infrastructures' is one of the eighteen collaborative projects that will contribute to research excellence across the arts and humanities through an ongoing collaboration between UKRI, AHRC and DFG. Read more on the UKRI website.