Welcome to the UEA University of Sanctuary website.
UEA is a University of Sanctuary, an accreditation given to universities that show an ongoing commitment to creating a welcoming culture of inclusivity and awareness.
UEA is proud to welcome people seeking sanctuary (asylum seekers and refugees) into their community, recognising the wealth of experience and knowledge they bring.
The Universities of Sanctuary initiative currently engages with sanctuary seekers, and the wider university and local community in multiple activities. These include learning and teaching, student support, delivery of events such as UEA Refugee week, research projects, partnerships with community organisations and through the UEA scholarship programme.
Overcoming Divisions in Students’ Learning Experiences: Insights from the Work on a New UEA Teaching & Learning Toolkit
Tuesday 21st June, 1.30-2.30pm
Online event, via Blackboard
Refugee Week 2022 deals with the theme of “healing”, and the relevance of “community, mutual care, … the human ability to start again … [and the] overcoming [of] political divisions”. These values tally with the objectives of Higher Education initiatives that seek to overcome divisions in students’ learning experiences based on issues of gender, ethnic, national or socio-economic identity.
In this public lecture, we will reflect on the different forms that such Higher Education initiatives can take, ranging from efforts to decolonize reading lists, through the creation of open discussion forums, to critical assessment exercises which analyse the relevance of staff and student positionality. Drawing on research for a new Teaching & Learning Toolkit at the University of East Anglia, we highlight two key challenges when trying to overcome divisions in students’ learning experiences: 1) the multiple meanings that terms such as “decolonization”, “inclusivity” and “equality” can take; and 2) limited exchange about how different disciplines engage with these terms in their teaching and learning structures. We invite audience members to share their views on what a Teaching & Learning Toolkit could and should achieve.
The event is open to all, with no pre-booking required.
Let’s Just Talk about Teaching: Sources of Inequality and Opportunities for Healing
Thursday 23rd June 2022, 12-1.30pm
Online event, via Blackboard
An Online Conversation Event between UEA Students and Staff
as part of Refugee Week 2022
In this informal conversation between UEA students and staff, we will talk about different sources of inequality and opportunities for healing in Higher Education classroom settings. Key themes to be explored include:
what we mean with “inclusive”, “decolonised”, “anti-racist”, “culturally sensitive” and/or “diverse” learning resources, and how the type of learning resource may affect students’ learning;
how structural patterns of (gender, ethnic, national or socio-economic) inequalities may influence classroom dynamics; and
why methods of feedback and assessment matter in the exercise and experience of power in Higher Education.
As an informal conversation, there will be no pre-defined script for any of the aforementioned themes. Instead, the event is envisioned as an open exchange of ideas and perspectives between UEA students and staff. The conversation will be facilitated by a team of UEA researchers, who are currently working on a new UEA Teaching and Learning Toolkit. In line with the themes of the informal conversation, the Toolkit seeks to enhance our understanding of power dynamics in teaching and learning structures at UEA, and to reduce disparities in these dynamics that may be based on issues of gender, ethnic, national or socio-economic identity. The event is open to all, with no pre-booking required.
The University of Sanctuary Steering Group
The UEA University of Sanctuary initiative is run by a university-wide steering group, consisting of over 40 members of staff and students. Within the steering group some of the core team members include:
Sophie North (Lecturer in Health Sciences) Sophie is the Academic Lead for the UEA University of Sanctuary initiative.
Madeleine Dutton (School of International Development) Madi is the Sanctuary Liaison Officer.
Peter Courridge (Finance, Planning and Governance) Peter is the University of Sanctuary Finance Lead, as part of his role, Peter manages the Sanctuary Scholarships and the UoS budget.
Ulrike Theuerkauf (School of International Development) Ulrike is the University of Sanctuary Equality and Diversity Liaison. Ulrike was the Academic Lead for the initiative from 2018-July 2020 and continues to be a core member.
Liz Ferguson(Admissions, Recruitment & Marketing) Liz takes the lead on managing the outreach work of the initiative, which includes promoting the Sanctuary Scholarships, running events and organising campus tours for potential sanctuary students.
Tara Welsh (Admissions, Recruitment & Marketing) is the University of Sanctuary Admissions Support Lead.
Deirdre Medler (School of Education & Lifelong Learning) Collaborative work to date has supported the development of ‘Norfolk Welcomes’ – a day of action to support education related to forced migration and progress towards developing a culture of welcome for those seeking sanctuary in the county’s schools.
Richard Bowater (School of Biological Sciences) Richard is the Associate Dean for Employability in the Faculty of Sciences and can offer advice and support for sanctuary seekers that are keen to engage with science subjects.
Claire Cuminatto (School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication) Claire is the Associate Dean for Employability in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and can offer advice and support for sanctuary seekers that are keen to engage with Humanities subjects.
Karen Blackney (Admissions, Recruitment & Marketing) Karen represents the initiative at senior management level, ensuring the work of the steering group is visible at relevant central committees and events.
Anna Robinson-Pant (School of Education & Lifelong Learning) Anna was the University of Sanctuary Academic Lead from June 2020-May 2021. Anna continues to play a key role in the development of the initiative.
Lindsay Howard (INTO and School of Education & Lifelong Learning) Lindsay is the University of Sanctuary English Language Support Lead. Lindsay also represents the work of the initiative at the Norwich Integration Partnership meetings.
Esther Priyadharshini (School of Education & Lifelong Learning) Esther is the University of Sanctuary representative on the UEA Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee.
UEA Sanctuary Students
UEA sanctuary students form a core part of our university of sanctuary team. They contribute to many of our projects and activities and together we work to consider what a culture of welcome can look like. Here are a couple of quotes from our sanctuary student group.
“It was just a dream for me to study at UEA as I did not have the right to apply for Finance. As an asylum seeker, the sanctuary scholarship was my only chance, and I had no other possibility to get a higher education.” Sanctuary Scholar, 2021
"The University of Sanctuary team has given me countless support. They made me feel at home in a place where I was alone and foreign. I can't thank the University of Sanctuary team enough for all of these." Sanctuary Scholar, 2021
The Universities of Sanctuary initiative grew out of the City of Sanctuary movement. City of Sanctuary is a non-governmental movement which promotes action to foster greater inclusion and integration in the UK, with a key focus on supporting refugees and asylum seekers. It holds the vision that ‘our nations will be welcoming places of safety for all and proud to offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution’. Succeeding in this vision requires us to promote greater understanding and recognition of the ways in which people seeking sanctuary enrich society.
There are currently more than 70 cities and towns across the UK actively involved in the movement, including Norwich which joined in September 2016. Norwich City of Sanctuary is a coalition of local refugee support groups and community representatives. UEA is actively engaged with the Norwich City of Sanctuary steering group.
City of Sanctuary have created a University of Sanctuary resource pack which is available to view here.
The Schools of Sanctuary initiative celebrates the good practice of schools who welcome asylum seeking and refugee families into their school community and foster a culture of welcome and inclusion for all.
We are proud to have supported the work of the Norwich Schools of Sanctuary initiative since 2017.
UEA has been a proud member of CARA since 2019. CARA provides urgently-needed help to academics in immediate danger, those forced into exile, and many who choose to work on in their home countries despite serious risks. CARA also supports higher education institutions whose work is at risk or compromised.
Through CARA, UEA hosts placements for its at-risk academic members. For further information, please go to: www.cara.ngo