Information Centre about Asylum and Refugees (ICAR) Archive

In January 2015, we were contacted by colleagues at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton who had just received their latest deposit of archival records from The Runnymede Trust.  As part of this deposit, were the records of ICAR: the Information Centre about Asylum and Refugees.  The UEL Archives were contacted to see if we would be interested in this collection as it focused primarily on asylum and refugee issues, at the expense of the wider race relations material incorporated within the Runnymede Trust  Archive.

After a period of negotiation between UEL, Runnymede and ICAR, an agreement was reached whereby UEL Archives staff would come and assess the ICAR Archive to determine how much of the collection was of significant archival value to be added to the refugee archive collections housed with the UEL Docklands Library.  UEL Archives staff subsequently visited the ICAR Archive, which was contained within 50 plus large archival boxes, and listed the materials which were considered to be of archival value and highlighted those materials which were considered not to be of suitable historical or evidential value to be kept for long term preservation within the Archive.

As a consequence, 26 boxes of archival material from the ICAR collection have now been highlighted for transfer to the UEL Archives and we hope to make final confirmation of the transfer during June 2015.

The Information Centre about Asylum and Refugees was founded by Kirsteen Tait in 2000 as an academic research and information organisation. The ICAR mission statement stated that, “ICAR aims to encourage understanding, public debate and policy making about Asylum and Refugees in the UK, grounded in accurate and  academically sourced information.”  Originally based at King’s College London, ICAR subsequently moved to share the offices of The Runnymede Trust.  ICAR existed for a little over a decade but due to a decline in funding eventually ceased operation and their archive of materials subsequently became a part of The Runnymede Trust collection.

The ICAR website is still in operation at and we hope to be in a position to Archive this too as part of our civic engagement project.