Cathrine Brun


Name: Cathrine Brun

Profile Introduction:

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.

She has worked for 20 years on forced migration as a result of conflict and disasters. Currently she is working particularly on humanitarianism in protracted displacement and chronic crises and with housing for forced migrants. Much of her work has been in urban contexts and in camps. As a human geographer, she is interested in how, in chronic crises and displacement, the relationships between people and places change due to displacement, with a view to understanding the relationships between displaced and their hosts and notions of housing and home. Her work often emphasises how people who experience crises deal with adversity – especially how they strategise and manoeuvre in the course of encounters with institutions and regimes.

Her work has also engaged with 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 in her work.

Collaborating with colleagues, organisations and citizen groups in Sri Lanka, Georgia and more recently Malawi, she has developed innovatory methods for ethnographic fieldwork, participatory action research and real time research. She is interested in how such methodological insights may contribute to improving knowledge production, particularly among humanitarian organisations.

Selected publications:

Books and edited journals

  • Brun, C. and A.H. Fábos (eds.) (2015) Making Home in Limbo? Domestic Practices and the Meaning of Home. Special issue Refuge vol 31, no. 1.
  • Brun, C., P. Blaikie and M. Jones (eds.) (2014) Alternative Development: Unravelling Marginalization, Voicing Change. Ashgate, Farnham.
  • Brun, C. And T. Jazeel (eds.) (2009) Spatialising politics. Culture and geography in postcolonial Sri Lanka. Sage, New Delhi.
  • Brun, C. (2008) Finding a place. Local integration and protracted displacement in Sri Lanka. Social Scientists’ Association, Colombo. (monograph)

Journal articles

  • Brun, C. Dwelling in the temporary: the involuntary mobility of displaced Georgians in rented accommodation. Cultural Studies. Special issue on (Im)mobilities of Dwelling, edited by L. Meier and S. Frank. (in press)
  • Brun, C. and A.H. Fábos (2015) Homemaking in limbo? A conceptual framework. Refuge 31(1): 5–18.
  • Brun, C. (2015) Home as a critical value: From shelter to home in Georgia. Refuge 31(1): 43 – 54.
  • Brun, C. (2015) Active waiting and changing hopes. Toward a time perspective on protracted displacement. Social Analysis 59(1): 19–37. Special issue on Conflict, mobility and uncertainty edited by C. Horst and K. Grabska.
  • Azmi, F., C. Brun and R. Lund C. (2013) Young people’s everyday politics in post-conflict Sri Lanka. Space and Polity 17(1): 106–122.
  • Attanapola, C., C. Brun and R. Lund (2013) Working gender after crisis: partnerships and disconnections in Sri Lanka after the Indian Ocean tsunami. Gender, Place and Culture 20(1): 70-86.
  • Brun, C. and N. Van Hear (2012) Between the local and the diasporic: the shifting centre of gravity in war-torn Sri Lanka’s transnational politics. Contemporary South Asia 20(1): 61–75.
  • Refstie, H. and C. Brun (2012) Towards Transformative Participation: Collaborative Research with ‘Urban IDPs’in Uganda. Journal of Refugee Studies 25(2): 239–256.
  • Brun, C. (2010) Hospitality: becoming ‘IDPs’ and ‘hosts’ in protracted displacement, Journal of Refugee Studies 23(3): 337–355.
  • Brun, C. and R. Lund (2010) Real Time Research: Decolonising practices or just another spectacle of researcher-practitioner collaboration. Development in Practice 20(7): 812–826.
Cathrine Brun


School of Architecture

Oxford Brookes University
Headington Campus
Gipsy Lane
Oxford, OX3 0BP