The Crucible Centre for Human Rights Research undertakes consultancy and enterprise activities to advance human rights and citizen education across various platforms. Our current projects include the following:

Utrecht Refugee Launchpad

Dr Caroline Oliver of the Department of Social Sciences at Roehampton University has received news she is part of a consortium bid led by Utrecht City Council receiving funding totalling €2.87m from the EU (ERDF) Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) programme. The UIA is designed to provide urban areas throughout Europe with resources to test new and unproven solutions to solve urban challenges. The funding was awarded to the city as one of 17 successful bids from European cities following a highly competitive process.

The Utrecht Refugee Launchpad is an initiative which aims to build an inclusive approach in the city to facilitate the integration of asylum seekers from day one. Working with a range of partners including NGOS, SMEs and Universities, Utrecht city council has opened a new centre based on a shared living concept which brings local young people and asylum seekers to live together. Roehampton University is to be involved in evaluating this innovative reception facility, which seeks to be a hub from where social networks between newcomers and locals can be established and developed. Various activities will encourage newcomers to participate and build relationships with those from the locality, generating solutions to improve living in the centre, neighbourhood and city. Participants, both asylum-seekers and local young people will be offered training courses in English language, entrepreneurship and international business. This training, combined with the support of expert coaching and opportunities to connect locally and incubate new business ideas, participants will be supported as they develop future-proof skills that will be of benefit to them whether in the Netherlands or elsewhere, thereby encouraging the repair of broken narratives and/or halting the negative spiral created by the usual approach to reception.

Dr Oliver was involved in the bid and will lead the evaluation and research activities into this initiative, working with Dr Sarah Spencer at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at Oxford University. She will recruit a researcher to be based in Utrecht, working in collaboration to produce an independent evaluation of the outcomes of this bold solution to the problem of a limiting and ineffective approach to refugee integration. The initiative aims to overcome both the uncertainty and enforced passivity of current approaches to reception for asylum seekers as well as the way in which reception can often be perceived as a negative experience for locals who themselves face problems of unemployment and a sense of competition for scarce resources.

Caroline will oversee the evaluation using a Theory of Change approach which recognises the importance of context and the contributions of multiple actors for understanding the interaction of the programme and its effects. The evaluation facilitates stakeholders to identify their own understanding of the steps taken to reach their goal, identifying the specific outcomes needed and then testing them through the research. Rather than being methods-driven, the evaluation is being developed in response to the programme theory; however it is expected that the research will use mixed methods, including a neighbourhood survey and interviews with participants to garner insight into changes in participants and local inhabitants’ social capital, skills and self-efficacy. Caroline will be working with the Global Exchange in Migration and Diversity at COMPAS, which will provide oversight of the evaluation through managing an international advisory board and leading the learning exchange and dissemination of lessons learned from the process.

Duration: 3 years
City of Utrecht
Socius Living (SME)
School of Economics (USE) and Centre for Entrepreneurship (UtrechtCE) University of Utrecht
People’s University of Utrecht (English language division)
Social Impact Factory (NGO)
Dutch Council for Refugees (NGO)
University of Oxford


The project aims to create a more inclusive approach to asylum-seeker reception that benefits locals as much as asylum-seekers and generates future-proof skills and capabilities. Many cities across Europe will be interested to see how the initiative works, and learn from the city’s experiment. The evaluation will provide a key resource for cities to understand how this programme has worked in this setting, and understand the mechanisms and processes that might be needed if it were to be replicated elsewhere.

News and Media


The Netherlands




Asylum and Refugees



     HEART Project - Promoting Human Rights Education in the Balkans



Research Themes:

The centre focuses its research on five principal themes:

  1. Human Rights Education
  2. The Sociology of War, Genocide and global conflict and studies in post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation
  3. Globalisation, Social Theory and the Sociology of Human Rights
  4. Gender Violence, Hate Crime and Victim's and Prisoners' Rights
  5. Migration and Multiculturalism

Work with us!

Crucible Centre for Human Rights Research is interested in collaborating and working with others in the advancement of human rights education.

If you are interested in working with us, please contact the Centre's director Dr Darren O'Byrne, 020 8392 3706.

Follow us!