Skip Content

Hostile Environments: Policies, Stories, Responses

This project explores the environments faced by people who have been displaced and are seeking asylum in the UK, Italy, Canada and the USA

The purpose of this project is to investigate the structures and effects of different hostile environments faced by people who have been displaced and are seeking asylum. Focusing on the UK, Italy, Canada and the USA, the research will explore three key questions: How is the environment rendered hostile? What is the effect of that hostility on individuals? What work is being done by civil society to counter or ameliorate the hostility and its effects? In addressing these questions, the project will consider the importance of individual stories in understandings of hostile environments: how such stories are systematically occluded and how the sharing of stories enables change. By drawing out
similarities and differences across jurisdictions, this research will determine the degree to which hostile environments constitute a continuous international space. Through its comparative approach, it will arrive at urgently needed proposals for changes in national and international asylum practice.

Principal Investigator: Professor David Herd, University of Kent

Project part of

Tackling the UK's International Challenges

The projects funded under this programme aim to bring new research ideas and methods to bear on understanding the UK’s international challenges – past, current and future.


We foster international collaboration in the humanities and social sciences, and promote the sharing of international perspectives on global challenges.