Refugee relief during the First World War: Belgian refugees in Birmingham (1914-1919)

PhD student: Jolien De Vuyst
Summary: The First World War started a worldwide unprecedented stream of refugees. The refugee experience, as well as the impact of the refugee relief on their wellbeing during and its effect after the war, remains generally absent in research. This research accepts that challenge and wants to map the refugees experiences, its interaction with refugee relief in particular, with a layered methodology and a triangulation of source material. The city of Birmingham lends itself to researching the refugee relief at a local level where human interventions are perceptible at their greatest power. Moreover, the Birmingham Archives and Heritage Service has an extensive archive containing many data about the refugees. To this day, the impact of the ‘Great War’ is still noticeable: the refugee relief was a catalyst for the transition of charity to social work, as well as a turning point in which the initial outlines of the refugee policy and human rights were drawn, making this research a current topic.
PhD in Social Work
Promoter(s): Angelo Van Gorp, Kevin Myers (School Of Education, University Of Birmingham)
Starting date: April 2015