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Professor Heaven Crawley (FAcSS)

Chair in International Migration, CTPSR

My Research Vision

The primary inspiration for my research are migrants themselves: what motivates and drives people to move; how they cope with and adjust to the social, economic and cultural changes with which migration is associated; the processes through which migrants maintain existing relationships and build new ones; the ways in which their experiences and identities are understood and interpreted in immigration policies and procedures and in political and public debates on migration, in the UK and elsewhere. I am driven by a desire to ensure that migration debates and policies are informed by research evidence rather than anecdote, for all our sakes.


Professor Heaven Crawley joined the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations in September 2014 and leads research on Migration and Human Security.

Educated at the Universities of Sussex (1989-1994) and Oxford (1995-1999), Heaven has more than 20 years' experience of undertaking research on international migration in a wide range of institutional settings (government, voluntary sector, national and international organisations, academia). She was previously head of asylum and migration research at the UK Home Office (2000-2), Associate Director at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) (2002-4) and managed an international research consultancy (2004-6) before returning to academia to establish the Centre for Migration Policy Research at Swansea University (2006-14). Her breadth of experience working with a wide range of stakeholders and with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers mean that Heaven is widely regarded as one of the leading experts on UK asylum and migration policy and practice. Heaven has served as a specialist adviser to the Home Affairs Committee and Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) on three separate occasions. She is a patron of the Baobab Centre for Young Survivors in Exile and Asylum Justice and a Trustee of Migrant Voice.

In 2012 Heaven was conferred the title of Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) in recognition of her contribution to the social sciences and to evidence-based policy making.



  • TibetXChange: empowering young Tibetans in North Eastern India: TibetXChange provides a unique opportunity for young Tibetans from Sikkim in North Eastern India to spend time in the UK meeting with young people, community leaders, politicians, policy makers and the public in order to develop their confidence, skills and capacity as community leaders and to raise awareness about the political situation in Tibet.
  • Evaluation of guardianship for separated asylum seeking children in Scotland: A formative evaluation of the Scottish Guardianship Service, delivered in partnership between the Aberlour Childcare Trust and Scottish Refugee Council, which has supported more than 100 unaccompanied young people going through the asylum system, some of whom are victims of trafficking. The evaluation provided an opportunity to observe the model for Guardianship that has been established in Scotland and to make recommendations both for the service in Scotland and for an appropriate model of support for separated asylum seeking children more generally
  • European network of cities for local integration policies for migrants (CLIP): CLIP is a network of 30 European cities working together to support the social and economic integration of migrants. By encouraging the structured sharing of experiences through the medium of separate city reports and workshops covering four research modules, the network enables local authorities to learn from each other and to deliver a more effective integration policy. This research included work in five European cities for two of these research modules: intercultural policies and intergroup relations and ethnic entrepreneurship
  • Understanding and changing public attitudes to migration: There is evidence of increasingly negative public attitudes towards asylum and immigration issues in the UK. This review aims to assist those working in the migration sector (and beyond) to better understand the dynamics of attitude formation. These include not only factors relating to an individual (his or her psychological makeup, political values and ideology and social-demographic attributes) but also the social, economic and demographic context within which an individual lives (i.e. factors associated with locality) and the socio-economic and political imperatives of local and central government. 
  • Chance or choice? Understanding why asylum seekers come to the UK: There is considerable interest among policy makers in the UK and elsewhere in the decision making of asylum seekers and the factors affecting the place in which they claim asylum. This research, commissioned by The Refugee Council, the decisions made by asylum seekers who come to the UK and explores the extent to which these decisions are a reflection of chance or choice. It builds upon the growing, but as yet still limited body of evidence about the ‘choices’ that individuals are (or are not) able to exert over the country in which they will seek asylum, and the factors that might contribute to the decision making process. 
  • Refugees living in Wales: a survey of skills, experiences and barriers to inclusion: This survey of refugees living in Wales represents a pragmatic response to the lack of information available to inform policy and practice in relation to refugee integration and issues of community cohesion in Wales. The survey was devised in consultation with policy makers and practitioners and is located within the framework for thinking about integration developed by Ager and Strang (2004)
  • Coping with destitution: survival and livelihood strategies of refused asylum seekers living in the UK: Coping with Destitution uncovers how the hundreds of thousands of refused asylum seekers currently living in the UK, with no access to legitimate means of securing a livelihood, survive on a day-to-day and longer-term basis. The strategies adopted by destitute asylum are analysed within a sustainable livelihoods framework, to ensure a systematic understanding of the different types of resources to which asylum seekers do – and do not – have access, and the impact this has on their lives. 
  • When is a child not a child? Asylum, age disputes and the process of age assessment: Every year thousands of individuals who arrive in the UK and claim asylum as separated children are age disputed and treated as adults. This research examines the reasons why age is disputed, current policy and procedures for the assessment of age by local authorities, and the implications of age disputes for separated children seeking asylum in the UK.
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Chair in International Migration

Building: IV5, Technology Park
Room: Top Floor
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