Scope Policy (Living Refugee Archive and Digital Library)


We hope that the Living Refugee Archive will be beneficial to an audience interested in seeking information within these fields. We will endeavour to try and make the website relevant to academic users including students, researchers, and academics; policy makers; archivists and librarians; members of the media; but perhaps most important of all, we want to try and make the Living Refugee Archive engaging for both community organisations and the local communities they support. We hope this website will be useful as a focal point for information provision and for those who may not have regular access to physical collections.


We would like to make clear at this stage that we are aware of the evolving nature of refugee and migration studies and the concerns that are often raised about the use terminology within these fields. As the University of East London now has a long association with the Refugee Council and their archive whilst also running a postgraduate MA in Refugee Studies, we have decided to go with the `Living Refugee Archive’ name to reflect this connection.

The following are for guidance purposes both for staff and users wishing to utilise the Living Refugee Archive and Digital Library. Where terminology has no clear definition in law or is open to continued debate, we will consider these factors when peer-reviewing the documentation in question.

Asylum Seeker: The Refugee Council `Glossary of terminology relating to asylum seekers and refugees in UK” definition – An asylum seeker is someone who has lodged an application for protection on the basis of the Refugee Convention or Article 3 of the ECHR.

Refugee: The Refugee Council `Glossary of terminology relating to asylum seekers and refugees in UK” definition – A refugee is a person who ‘owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country…’ (Definition quoted from the 1951 Refugee Convention).

Migrant: Within the UK context, there is still debate over the various definitions in use for the term `migrant.’ Please see the online article by Profesor Bridget Anderson and Dr. Scott Blinder on `Who Counts as a Migrant? Definitions and their consequences’ on The Migration Observatory website at the University of Oxford for further information on the current debate.

Forced Migration: We will use the definition as provided by the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM). This states that forced migration is “a general term that refers to the movements of refugees and internally displaced people (people displaced by conflicts) as well as people displaced by natural or environmental disasters, chemical or nuclear disasters, famine, or development projects.”

Geographic, Language and Subject Coverage of the Living Refugee Archive

Criteria for the coverage of materials that may be included within the Living Refugee Archive and digital library will be outlined as followed:
Geographic and Language Criteria

In principle, there are no geographical or language restrictions on the range of materials that may be included within the Living Refugee Archive and digital library.
Subject Criteria

Subject criteria for selecting materials for the Living Refugee Archive and digital library will be based on the specialist cataloguing and classification scheme devised by the Refugee Council for use with the Refugee Council Archive. Full details of these schema are available by contacting us on:

Broad categories of material to be considered will include:

  • Country of origin conditions.
  • Causes of Flight (including persecution, economic conditions, environment, disasters)
  • Migration (including forced migration, immigration, flight by sea).
  • Asylum (immigration law, sanctuary, statelessness, deportation, resettlement)
  • Assistance (including emergency relief, housing, health services, refugee-assisting organizations)
  • Adaptation (including linguistic adaptation, psychology, education, employment).
  • Arts (including exhibitions, visual arts, literature, representation)
  • Communities and Groups (including local communities, religious groups, ethnic and national groups, children, age and gender groups).
  • Organizations (including international and local organizations).
  • Experiences (e.g., cultural testimonies. psychosocial issues, racism, oral history.)
  • Historical materials (including immigration history, historical groups of refugees, archival resources).

Our work with social media tools in recent years has highlighted the need to provide a central resource that can include access to research-led resources and news. As a result, the Living Refugee Archive will aim to provide access the following research materials:

  • Calls for Papers
  • Conferences, Seminars, Workshops and Symposiums
  • Websites and Databases
  • Newly Published Books, Regional and Thematic Publications
  • Research Guides
  • Research Data and Statistics
  • Multimedia Resources (including Podcasts. Videos and Photographs)
  • Archives, Libraries and Special Collections
  • Academic Courses and Research Centres