Professor Cathrine Brun

Director of CENDEP

School of Architecture

Cathrine Brun


Cathrine is Director of the Centre for Development and Emergenc Practice (CENDEP). CENDEP is an imultidisciplinary centre under School of Architecture that brings together aid workers, academics, professionals and practitioners to develop practice-oriented appraoches in disaster risk reduction and response, chronic poverty, building urban resilience, conflict transformation, refugee studies and torture prevention. 

Cathrine came to the post as Director of CENDEP in October 2015 from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) where she was Professor of Human Geography and Director of Research and Director of the Norwegian Researcher School for Geography.

Areas of expertise

  • Forced migration
  • Protracted displacement
  • Housing and home
  • Ethics and philosophy of humanitarianism
  • Urban spaces
  • Young people

Teaching and supervision

Modules taught

I am responsible for the PhD programme in Architecture where we offer academic PhD, PhD by design and PhD by practice. I give lecture on a number of our modules in our online Masters on Development and Emeregncy Practice (DEP) and our fully online masters in Humanitarian Action and Peacebuilding (HAP):  

  • DEVP 7022 Dissertation (DEP)
  • DEVP 7018 Independent study (HAP)
  • DEVP 7012 Humanitarian and peacebuilding programmes in urban conflict (HAP) 

Research Students

Name Thesis title Completed
Sherin Al shaikhahmed Leadership of youth with disabilities in the context of Humanitarian-Development Nexus Active
Fatima Hashmi Understanding forms and processes of stigmatisation and populations’ responses: A multi-site case study of ethnic minority groups in Pakistan and Colombia. Active
Grace Khawams Assessing job readiness among Lebanese and Palestinian refugee youth with intellectual disabilities in Lebanon: An Action Research Framework Active
Kate McAuliff Deaf Refugees in Jordan and Lebanon: a conceptual framework of agency and double displacement Active
Oscar Natividad Puig The role of multi-scalar networks in participatory urban interventions addressing socio-spatial inequality: an actor- network perspective Active
Aleyda Valdes Displacement due to gang violence in Latin America Active
Tobias Vokuhl Built back better? Exploring end-user perceptions of Economic, Symbolic, Cultural and Social capitals gained or lost in Nepal Government grant qualifying post-earthquake reconstruction housing. Active


My work concentrates on forced migration as a result of conflict and disasters. My current work concerns humanitarianism in protracted displacement and chronic crises, housing and home for forced migrants, self-recovery as well as young persons. Much of my work has been in urban contexts and in camps. As a human geographer, I am interested in how, in chronic crises and displacement, the relationships between people and places change due to displacement. 

I also research the ethics and politics of humanitarianism, the experiences and practices of humanitarians, and the unintended consequences of humanitarian categories and labelling practices, particularly in the context of long-term conflict and displacement. Temporal and spatial dimensions of both forced migration and humanitarianism are cross-cutting themes.

Collaborating with colleagues, organisations and citizen groups in Sri Lanka, Georgia, Uganda, Malawi, Lebanon and Jordan I have developed innovatory methods for ethnographic fieldwork, participatory action research and real time research. I am particularly interested in how such methodological insights may contribute to improving knowledge production, particularly among humanitarian organisations and policy makers.

Research grants and awards

Holding Aid Accountable: Relational Humanitarianism in Protracted Crisis (AidAccount).

  • Date: 2020 – 2023; Funder: Research Council of Norway:
  • Status: I am Co-I on the project.
  • Co-researchers: Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) (Project owner); Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Makerere University; Rako Research and Communication Centre in Hargeisa, Somaliland; Centre for Migration Research and Development in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Effects of Externalisation: EU Migration Management in Africa and the Middle East.

  • Date: Oct 2020 – Sept 2024; Funder: NORDFORSK: Joint Nordic-UK research programme on Integration and Migration:
  • Status: I am Co-I on the project.
  • Co-Researchers: Christian Michelsen Institute (project owner), Danish Institute for International Studies, University of Manchester.

Self-recovery housing for development: scaling up crisis preparedness and humanitarian shelter response.

  • Date: Nov 2019 – Sept 2021; Funder: EPSRC/GCRF (EP/T015160/1):
  • Status: I am PI on the project with  Charles Parrack
  • Co-researchers: CARE UK International, Catholic Relief Services, Habitat for Humanity, IFRC, Overseas Development Institute (we have secured 3 additional months through COVID funding for this project)

Title: From education to employment? Trajectories of young people in Lebanon’s refugee crisis.

  • Date: Dec 2018 – Oct 2021; Funder: ESRC/GCRF (ES/S004742/1)
  • Status: I am PI on the project woth Maha Shuayb (CLS),
  • Co-researchers: Centre for Lebanese Studies, Lebanese American University (We have secured 6 extra month of COVID funding for this project)

Towards employment? Youth trajectories in Jordan and Lebanon’s refugee crisis.

  • Date: 2019 – 2021; Funder: International Development Research Centre (IDRC) (109043-001)
  • Status: I am Co-PI on the project with Maha Shuayb.
  • Co-researchers: The Centre for Lebanese Studies, Lebanese American University (project owner)


Projects as Principal Investigator, or Lead Academic if project is led by another Institution

  • Effects of Externalisation: EU Migration Governance in Africa and the Middle East (led by Chr Michelsen Institute (CMI)) (01/10/2020 - 31/12/2024), funded by: NordForsk, funding amount received by Brookes: £129,303


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Professional information


Selected invited talks and keynotes:

  • (2020) Education in Emergencies 20 years on. Panel debate organised by the Centre for Lebanese Studies, Beirut 15th December 2020.
  • (2019) Research collaborations with nongovernmental organisations and civil society: the spectacle continues or a potential for decolonising research? Invited talk, Danish Institute of International Studies, Copenhagen, 22.10.2019
  • (2019) Understanding protracted displacement through the dwelling Invited talk for City Debates 2019 on ‘Urban Recovery(s): Intersecting Displacement and Reconstruction’, American University of Beirut, 1-3 April 2019.
  • (2018) Refugees as City Makers. Invited intervention at launch of report, American University of Beirut, September 2019.
  • (2018) Revisiting the relationship between people and place in refugee studies. Keynote for the International conference on Conflict and Migration in the Middle East. Institute of Migration Studies with the L’institut Français du Proche-Orient 4th to 6th June 2018
  • (2018) Shelter in flux: the temporality of dwelling in crises. Invited Keynote, International conference Homeless Dwelling: Devastating and Discrete Disaster. Perspectives on societal domiciles and habitation in everyday life. University of Bremen and the Mariann Steegmann Institute. Bremen, 3rd to 6th May 2017.
  • (2017) Humanitarianism in a different key? Principled pragmatism for long term refugee crises. Invited talk, Department of Geography seminar series, UCL, 28.11.2017
  • (2017) Integration by Internally Displaced Persons. Lessons learnt from international examples. Keynote at Council of Europe National Forum: 3 years of displacement: challenges and good practices of IDPs integration. Kyiv, 19-20 October, 2017.
  • (2017) The case for an ethics of care in humanitarianism’s inbetween spaces. Invited talk. Seminar series of the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex, 16th October.
  • (2017) Mobility, informality and the material. Conceiving home in protracted displacement. Keynote at the International Conference on Homing, University of Trento, Italy, June 5th and 6th, 2017.

Further details

Selected research reports, papers, blogposts and op-eds