The University of Winchester is a University of Sanctuary, welcoming and supporting refugees and asylum seekers. Read the latest news from our dynamic UoS team below and explore the University of Sanctuary webpage.

2024 News and Events

World Refugee Week 2024, 17-24 June

The theme for WRF24 is Our Home and the Network will host the following events:

17 June: Webinar on Inclusive Higher Education, details TBC.

19 June, 10.00 - 10.30: Online Assembly for KS2/KS3 learners

Be part of an interactive Creative Assembly based on the theme of ‘Our Home’, with poet and word artist Majid Dhana. Schools registering to attend will receive an accompanying activity pack. The Assembly is part of the Refugee Education Conference, see below.

Please register your interest by following this link

19 June, 9.45 - 16.00: Refugee Education Conference (Schools, Colleges and Universities), University of Winchester and online

The University of Winchester is inviting colleagues from primary, secondary, further and higher education to join us at the University of Winchester for a day exploring refugee education. Join us for a day full of opportunities to develop your knowledge and understanding of refugee education. Learn from the experiences of other educators and learners, develop professional contacts, and find out more about becoming a place of sanctuary for refugees and asylum seekers.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided. The conference closes at 16.00 but there will be an option to stay on until 17.00 and join the newly established Hampshire Sanctuary Education Forum.

Please note: some sessions will be available to join online.

Please register by following this link

Hampshire Universities Together (HUT) Sanctuary Week 2024, 4-8 March

Hampshire Universities Together (HUT) is a collaboration between the four Hampshire universities (Winchester, Solent, Southampton and Portsmouth) on the important role of HE institutions in regional civic engagement. With all three cities being Cities of Sanctuary and the four HEIs University of Sanctuary, the Sanctuary element is one of the HUT's main activity strands.

Hampshire Universities Together (HUT) FE & HE Practitioners Supporting Sanctuary online forum, 4 March 2024

This was an opportunity for teaching and support staff in Further and Higher Education settings to meet online, discuss and share their experiences of supporting refugees and asylum seekers in their colleges and universities. A chance to hear best practice and share challenges in a safe and supportive environment. 

Volunteering and Careers in Sanctuary Online Webinar, 7 March

An online webinar to find out more about volunteering with refugees and asylum seekers at home and abroad, alongside hearing from those who have made a career in this sector. The session was open to staff and students from Hampshire colleges and universities.

Migration: why it matters, 20 March

A hybrid panel discussion by four leading modern historians focussing on the UK's response to recent migration, organised by the University's Modern History Research Centre.

2023 News and Events

World Refugee Week 2023

The theme of Refugee Week 2023 was Compassion. Our events explored what compassion looks like in action, and the role education and the arts can play in this.

On 21 June 2023, the University of Winchester's Sanctuary Network was delighted to hold its inaugural conference, with the theme of Compassion in Education. The day featured workshops and networking for learners (from Yr 5 to post-16), teachers and educators interested in welcoming people who are seeking sanctuary. Speakers included representatives from the International Rescue Committee, Cities of Sanctuary UK and Refugee Education UK.

On 24 June, the University of Winchester Music Centre collaborated with Winchester Cathedral and Winchester City of Sanctuary for ‘Sing for Sanctuary’, an immersive arts experience uniting communities from Winchester, Hampshire and beyond to celebrate our common humanity through music and the arts.

Find out more about Sing for Sanctuary

May 2023 news

Sanctuary Award scholarship awardee contributes to Red Cross report on digital exclusion for asylum seekers

A recent graduate who was helped by the University of Winchester’s Sanctuary programme has played a key role in producing a new report aimed at aiding asylum seekers. Sohaib Hafeez has written the foreword to a new report from the Red Cross on the problem of digital exclusion for people seeking asylum in England. He was also one of the researchers for the report, titled Offline and Isolated. It looks at the challenges faced by people coming to this country who cannot use the internet because they cannot afford a mobile phone or a computer, have no access to broadband, lack the necessary digital skills or simply cannot speak English. Sohaib has personal experience of this situation as he and his family had to flee from political war in Pakistan when he was 11. Sohaib was a recipient of the Sanctuary Award scholarship as part of Winchester’s role as a University of Sanctuary; he studied BSc Psychology and then completed a Master’s in Criminology in 2022.

Read the full story

2022 news and events

Dec. 2022 news

University gains University of Sanctuary reaccreditation for support of refugees and asylum seekers

The University of Winchester has been reaccredited as a University of Sanctuary in recognition of its ongoing successful initiatives to welcome refugees and asylum seekers and support them in Higher Education study. Read the full press release.

Professor Sarah Greer holds the University of Sanctuary award

(l to r): Dr Wayne Veck, Reader in Education and Pathway Leader Education Studies (Special and Inclusive Education); Elizabeth Flint, Chair and Founder of Winchester City of Sanctuary; Professor Sarah Greer, Vice-Chancellor, and Sarah Harder-Collins, Head of Widening Participation and Success.

Refugee Week events and activities

Ukrainian Sanctuary scholarships

In response to the situation in Ukraine and a growing population of Ukrainians joining us locally, the University has launched 5 new Sanctuary Scholarships for those impacted by the war in Ukraine. In addition to the UK government support, the scholarships will provide students with a fee-waiver and £1000 cash bursary. Applications are now closed. Find out more about the scheme.

Art installation ‘Open Sanctuary’ (28 May – 28 June, West Downs Gallery)

A striking art installation was created in the University's West Downs Gallery during 2022, with visitors invited to work closely with the artists to create a new sculptural work representing sanctuary. In a series of workshops led by artists Fiamma Colonna Montagu and Sam Selwyn Bazeley, staff, students and members of the public created hundreds of ceramic balls using natural clays, which were fired and added to a large circular armature to slowly build the sculpture. The circle of totems creates a protective boundary around a space that can be used for meditation and contemplation of what sanctuary means. Find out more about Open Sanctuary.

Beyond Our Shores: Schools of Sanctuary Mini-Conference (21st June)

We welcomed staff and young people from local schools and colleges to join us to explore how we can become places of Sanctuary in our classrooms and communities. The event was open to both current Schools of Sanctuary and schools interested in learning more about how they can create a culture of welcome and inclusion for refugees and people seeking asylum.

A crisis that should never be repeated? A talk by Daniel Trilling (21st June, online talk)

In the past year, two refugee movements have provoked very different reactions from European governments. When thousands of people tried to flee Afghanistan as the Taliban took over the country in August 2021, the immediate response of many political leaders was to vow that there would be no repeat of the crisis at Europe's borders in 2015. Some commentators have even seen this hardening of attitudes as a dress rehearsal for the response to a potentially greater number of people displaced by climate change in the coming years. By contrast, the millions of people displaced from Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022 have been met with a striking openness elsewhere in Europe, even from governments that had previously set themselves against refugees. What does this tell us about the way the west is likely to respond to displacement in future - and what might the alternatives be?

Daniel Trilling is a journalist and author based in London who writes for the Guardian, London Review of Books and others about migration, nationalism and human rights. His work has been shortlisted for the 2022 Orwell Prize for journalism and his most recent book, Lights in the Distance: Exile and Refuge at the Borders of Europe, was shortlisted for the 2019 Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing.

University of Sanctuary Family Fun Day (Saturday 25th June 11am-3pm)

We are excited to be hosting our annual Family Fun Day from 11.00am - 3.00pm. This event, held in partnership with Winchester City of Sanctuary, is for local families currently or recently seeking sanctuary in the UK, see further details here. If you would like to volunteer or get involved please email

Image top: a refugee camp with 14,000 refugees waiting for aid. Image: Dutch Aid Organisations Collective (Flickr)