Accessibility statement

The book of refugees: a multilingual record of memories, dreams and aspirations of refugees in the UK

Woman staring at destroyed buildings


The experiences and aspirations of refugees living in the UK remain largely unknown to the communities that host them. Before and during their long journey to safety, refugees often experience traumas that may affect their physical and mental health long after the events. Being forced to flee, they have left so many precious things and dear ones behind. However, they come here with memories and stories.

Project aims

This project aims at creating a window through which we are given access to these memories and stories summed up in a few words. These can be words of wisdom, which refugees take as a way of life, poems they wrote, brief reflections on their experiences, as well as works of art like calligraphy and drawings. The main objective of this project is to create a bridge between refugees and the community in which they live and to fight racism and hate with knowledge, dialogue and understanding.

Call for stories

The project leaders are calling for contributions from refugees anywhere in the UK. Contributions may be named or remain anonymous. Explicit consent is required to publish the contributions on the project website and can be given via the google form used for submissions (Tell your story tab). A selection of the contributions may be published in hard copy, Contributors will be able to withdraw their consent up until the book is published, but not after this point. To withdraw your consent, please contact the project leaders at and

Contact details and contributions will be stored in a secure drive accessed only by the project leaders via their University of York account. Unpublished data (including contact details) will be destroyed after completion of the project. Once the book is published, the selected contributions (anonymous and named) will be accessible to anyone who purchases the book. Contact details will be used only for project-related administrative purposes.

Contributions will be published under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND). This licence allows others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

For further information about how the University will use and protect your personal information, please see the University's General Privacy Notice.

If you have a story to share, please submit through our online form. Your experience could be shared as words of wisdom, which you as a refugee take as a way of life, poems you have written, brief reflections on your experiences, or as works of art such as calligraphy or drawings.

Tell us your story

Project leaders

  1. Dr Ahmed Khaleel - Associate Lecturer in Arabic, human rights activist, translator and poet, member of the board of trustees at York City of Sanctuary since 2017 and currently Chair of York City of Sanctuary.
  2. Dr Lucia Aiello - Senior Lecturer in Italian, Department of Language and Linguistic Science, co-editor of the Journal of Literature and Trauma Studies.

Project partners

  1. University of York Sanctuary 
  2. York City of Sanctuary