Eastern Arc Sanctuary Network

The Eastern Arc Sanctuary Network (ESN) exists to explore ways in which we can work together to create an ‘arc of sanctuary’. We seek to provide an avenue through which our staff and students can create a stable, open and creative environment for our sanctuary scholars, researchers at risk and all those affected by issues of sanctuary to learn from and support each other.


Our region has been forged by movement and migration, and has offered sanctuary for millennia. From the Dutch and Huguenot refugees of the 1600s to the Belgians in the First World War, the Kindertransport that disembarked at Harwich, the Kitchener Camps at Richborough, and the Empire Windrush docking at Tilbury, the Eastern Arc region has been the point of arrival and home for many migrants, displaced persons and others seeking sanctuary. 

With the meeting of different cultures comes opportunity, but also challenge. Our history demonstrates both the prosperity that comes with migration, and the resistance and unrest that can result. 

We seek to foster the former and help to address the latter. Three of our four members are already Universities of Sanctuary, with Kent currently working to gain accreditation. Through this they work to make their institutions places of safety, solidarity and empowerment for people seeking sanctuary. Such an approach aligns with the radical foundational principles of social justice that all four universities share.

Our focus on sanctuary will build on existing areas of research and activity taking place within our universities, such as the Sussex Centre for Migration Research, the Migration Research Network (UEA), the Human Rights Centre (HRC), the Centre for Migration Studies and the Centre for Trauma, Asylum and Refugees (CTAR) (Essex). 

To find out more about our work, and to take part in events going on across Eastern Arc, click below.