This podcast forms part of the ‘Moving People’ feature, which explores the ways in which people on the move are labelled, remembered, and constrained. The series offers a historical understanding of present-day structures of asylum and immigration.

How can historians best document, preserve, and make accessible the voices and artifacts of refugee and migration experience? What kinds of materials would such a collection involve? How can archives respond, ethically and practically, to the challenge of conserving materials from under-represented communities whose lives remain so politicized and whose experiences raise such thorny issues of nationalism, immigration, identity and belonging? In this episode of the History Workshop podcast, Ria Kapoor speaks to four historians and archivists who are grappling with those questions: Paul Dudman; Heather Faulkner; Mezna Qato, and Peter Gatrell.

Doctor with interpreter prescribing for refugees, 1917-18. Wikimedia Commons

Produced by Marybeth Hamilton

Paul and Peter suggest the following readings for anyone interested in learning more:

Dudman, Paul V. (2019). `Oral History and Collective Memory: Documenting Refugee Voices and the Challenges of Archival Representation.’ Atlanti +, 29(2), pp. 33-43. Maribor: The International Institute for Archival Science of Trieste and Maribor. Available at:

Dudman, Paul V and Hashem, Rumana (2018). `Supporting Asylum Seekers and Refugees for Two Decades: Initiatives by the University of East London and Refugee Council Archive’, Refugee History. Available at:

Dudman, Paul V. (2017). `Digital Archives of Refugee History: Resources, Challenges and Opportunities’, Refugee History. Available at:

Hashem, Rumana and Dudman, Paul V. (2016) ‘Paradoxical narratives of transcultural encounters of the “other”: Civic engagement with refugees and migrants in London’, Transnational Social Review, 6(1-2), pp. 192-199. doi:  10.1080/21931674.2016.1186376

“BLM and the Berlin Wall”, available at – some reflections on Cold War divisions, the idea of ‘freedom’ and the persisting rifts in US society, specifically racial discrimination

“What Defines an Archive? Ask a Jewel Thief”, available at – can it be that difficult to track down a war criminal?

“Cold War Archives in the Third World”, available at – where do we go to find out about the Cold War? Not necessarily Moscow and Washington …

“Why Are Countless Palestinian Photos and Films Buried in Israeli Archives?”, available at – material seized by Israeli forces in Lebanon in 1982

Nick Underwood, ‘Following the Archives: Migrating Documents and their Changing Meanings’, available at

David Anderson, ‘Guilty secrets: deceit, denial, and the discovery of Kenya’s ‘migrated archive”, History Workshop Journal, 80, no. 1 (2015), 142-60

Jean Allman, ‘Phantoms of the archive: Kwame Nkrumah, a Nazi pilot named Hanna, and the contingencies of postcolonial history writing’, American Historical Review, 118, no. 1 (2013), 104-29.

*Correction to the podcast: Heather Faulkner is responsible not for the “UNHCR Records and Access team”, but for the Research and Access team within the Records and Archives Section of UNHCR.





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