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Psychosocial Sciences


University of East London Open Learning Initiative (OLIve)

About the course

University of East London is offering a 10-week course for refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. The aim of the course is to introduce refugees and asylum seekers to Higher Education. The course offers an opportunity for students to find out what skills and knowledge are needed in order to apply for and succeed in HE in the UK and provides information about pathways and opportunities. The course offers modules and workshops in English language and academic writing, research skills, academic tutoring and introduction to academic discussions.

A certificate of attendance is available for all who attend the offered workshops. Please note that this is not an accredited programme and does not give students an automatic access to other UEL courses.

How to Apply:

To register, please fill in the application form and email it to

The OLive 3 course is now underway.  Applications for the Spring Olive course starting on the 14 April 2018 are now open. Please fill in the application form and email it to

Important dates

Registration now closes on Saturday, 7th April, 2018.

Offers of places to be confirmed during the week of Monday, 9th April 2018.

Course dates: the course runs for 10 Saturdays, beginning Saturday, 14 April 2018 until Saturday, 16 June 2018.

For all enquiries, please contact Aura Lounasmaa on or Paul Dudman on:


The OLIve course is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme together with University of East London's Civic Engagement Fund and organised in partnership with the Central European University in Budapest, University of Vienna and the European Network Against Racism (ENAR).

Links to partner programs:

Civic engagement

As part of the OLIve initiative, we applied to the University of East London (UEL) New Scholars and Civic Engagement Fund for additional funding to help support the ongoing sucess of the OLIve Course.  In order to achieve this success, UEL student volunteers have a very big part to play.  If you are interested in volunteering and contributing towards our OLIve Course, please download the further details on Information for OLive Volunteers.  You may also contact Aura Lounasmaa and Paul Dudman for further information.

Our first successful Civic Engagement bid for OLive was to help create the online Information Hub and to facilitate engagement of UEL students at all levels in the undertaking of the project. Our successful application was entitled, “Supporting Refugees into Higher Education: A Research Hub for London”, and is being led by Dr Aura Lounasmaa, lecturer in the UEL School of Social Sciences and Paul Dudman, the archivist responsible for the Refugee Council Archive at UEL.

The aim of this project was to support the OLIve Initiative to start a refugee access to HE programme within UEL. The University is currently partnering in an Erasmus+ funded programme with the Central European University in Budapest and others to provide access to higher education for refugees and asylum seekers. This includes a series of five courses of 10-week Saturday workshops, beginning in April 2017. The aim of this project first and foremost will be to create an online Research Hub in London for refugees and migrants. This will act as an online hub for refugees and asylum seekers living in the UK and provide peer reviewed, current and relevant materials for refugees and asylum seekers who wish to seek higher education opportunities within the UK.

Further details of UEL’s Civic Engagement Programme can be found on the Civic Engagement page.



The aim of this project first and foremost will be to support the work of these weekend courses by developing a Research Hub in London for refugees and migrants. This will act as an online hub for refugees and asylum seekers living in the UK and provide peer reviewed; current and relevant materials for refugees and asylum seekers who wish to seek higher education opportunities within the UK. Examples of the kind of materials the portal may include are a directory of Open Access Journal and free to access academics resources for refugees; details of Higher Education Scholarships and Funding opportunities; News; and training resources (e.g. English Language). We also hope this will act as a space to bring current higher education students and refugees together as a hub to exchange knowledge, experience, narratives and information. The portal will also aim to bring together teaching resources utilised as part of the Olive programme to enable refugees too be able to continue to access these resources once they have attended the workshops. The development of this additional facility (the research hub) will help strengthen and deepen UEL as an institution with string academic and resource capacities in the area of refugee and force displacement and civic engagement more generally.

Refugee Council Archive at UEL

Refugee Council Archive at UEL

Archives have a very important role to play in documenting our history and heritage, preserving our memories; recording our testimonies and reinforcing identity creation. How can we document the history of migration within our archives?

The Archive contains materials on refugees in all parts of the world, with special emphasis on Britain. It was originally housed at the Refugee Council, the lead organization in Britain on refugee issues. For over 30 years the Refugee Council collected official and unofficial reports, books and journals, newsletters, conference proceedings, research documents, field reports, informal data, and working papers. It also developed an extensive library of press cuttings. In addition to this Special Collection, the Archive also contains archival material recording the history of the Refugee Council as an organisation.


The University of East London’s Library at Docklands has been the home of the Refugee Council Archive for over a decade. According to the Archives Hub database, there are several other archives documenting refugee lives which co-exist in London and beyond. Questions arise as to who accesses these archives? Are refugee archives well-represented in relation to the preservation of lived experience of refugees and migrants? If not, why is this? Who get excluded from refugee-archives, and in what ways? How could we improve access to refugee research archives?

Initial research that we have undertaken has indicated that archives which detail issues pertaining to migration and refugee issues within the UK are potentially scattered between a number of different archival institutions. One of the projects we would like to undertake in order to further develop and enhance the Living Refugee Archive will be an archive mapping project which we hope will eventually lead to the beginning of a more comprehensive overview of the range and types of archival collections that exist which can help to reflect the voices recorded within this collections to a wider audience.

Our aim will be to incorporate both traditional physical collections and to map these in combination with newer forms of archival collections, including community archives, born digital archival collections, oral-history recordings and multimedia collections.

Please also explore our Living Refugee Archive website for further details on the civic work we have been undertaking with the Archives. You can also find out more about Refugee Studies.

Further details on the Archives held at UEL, please visit the UEL Archives Website or follow us on Twitter at @ArchivesUEL and @refugee_archive.

Get involved

If you have any enquiries or would like to get in touch with us, please contact either Dr. Aura Lounasmaa or Paul Dudman on


OLIve in the News

Olive in the news

In this section of the Resource Hub, our aim is provide access to an online archive of news stories and related resources for the forthcoming UEL OLIve course for refugees and asylum seekers.

News Coverage

University of East London – UEL to offer pioneering EU-funded course for refugees and asylum seekers .

University of East London – UEL shortlisted for Guardian University Awards for pioneering Calais Jungle course .

The Independent – London university offers free course just for refugees and asylum seekers . By Rachel Pells .

East London Lines – Free university courses offered to refugees and asylum seekers. By Natasha Chisabingo .

London Stock Exchange – CEU Receives EUR440,000 Erasmus + Grant For University Preparation Program for Refugees .

Newham Recorder – University of East London launches course for refugees . By Sophie Morton.

University Herald – London University To Launch Free Course For Refugees And Asylum Seekers . By Emily Marks .

The Pie News – HE prep course for refugees expands to UK’s UEL . By Natalie Marsh .

OLIve Partner Resources

Central European University (CEU): OLIve – the Open Learning Initiative Facebook page .

OLIve Blog and Social Media

Please do connect with us via Social Media either on Facebook or Twitter. If you have any news, resources or feedback that you would like to share on our OLIve course please do get in touch:

University of East London OLIve Facebook Group -

UEL OLIve Twitter Account and Hashtag: @Olive_UEL and #UELOLIve

We also have a blog crated by students as part of this project where we hope to provide regular updates and reflections on our work as the project develops. Further details of the blog can be found online here:

OLIve Staff

Our staff include:

Our Staff

Programme Staff:


  • English Teacher, Jan Harriman.
  • English Teacher, Francine Merry.
  • English Teacher, Yasmin Aktar.