Dr Hannah Lewis

Dr Hannah Lewis, Vice Chancellor’s Fellow, Department of Sociological Studies

Hannah joined the University of Sheffield in November 2015 as a Vice Chancellor’s Fellow. Hannah is interested in understanding how immigration policies shape everyday lives. Her recent work has centred on concepts of precarity and contingency and how the social and legal status of migrants creates insecurities that can increase susceptibility to poverty, exclusion and forced labour.

IMG_1575 Hannah Lewis

Hannah was previously in the School of Geography, University of Leeds where she worked with Louise Waite and Stuart Hodkinson, along with Peter Dwyer (University of York) on the ESRC-funded project, Precarious Lives about experiences of forced labour among refugees and asylum seekers in England. The project continued their work on UK immigration policy and forced labour for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Precarious Lives was developed into a knowledge exchange Platform on Forced Labour and Asylum which worked with nine civil society partners to produce a guide, posters and postcards to raise awareness of forced labour indicators.

This work built on her diverse research experience as a research consultant which included investigating various aspects of refugee integration, regional migration research, housing access, third country national integration, and volunteering. She first encountered experiences of forced labour among people seeking asylum in the UK when conducting research for the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust Inquiry into the Destitution of Asylum Seekers.

Her new ESRC-funded project, with Gwyneth Lonergan (University of Sheffield), Louise Waite and Emma Tomalin (University of Leeds), is about ‘Understanding the Role of Faith Based Organisations in Anti-Trafficking’. The 2.5 year project starting in April 2017 will extend her interest in welfare pluralism and responses to ‘modern day slavery’.

A second stream of research will investigate the rise of permanent temporariness among hitherto more secure groups of migrants in the UK, Australia and Canada. This will continue her ongoing interest in how multi-dimensional freedom and unfreedom enable or inhibit processes of integration and multiculturalism.

Hannah is part of the Sheffield team involved in the White Rose Collaborative Fund ‘Europe, Migration and the New Politics of and (In)security’ seminar series and is collaborating with colleagues in the Faculty of Social Sciences on work around regional experiences of Brexit and migration. Hannah is a Trustee of Leeds Refugee Forum, a forum of refugee community organisations, where she enjoys attempting to apply learnings on community cohesion, integration and political engagement of refugees in a community development setting.


Some relevant articles

Waite, L. and Lewis, H. (2017) Precarious irregular migrants and their sharing economies: a spectrum of transactional laboring experiences. Annals of the American Association of Geographers.

Lewis, H. and Waite, L. (2015) Asylum, immigration restrictions and exploitation: hyper-precarity as a lens for understanding and tackling forced labour. Anti-Trafficking Review, 5

Lewis, H. (2014) Music, dancing and clothing as belonging and freedom among people seeking asylum in the UKJournal of Leisure Studies, 34(1):42-58

Lewis, H., Dwyer, P., Hodkinson, S. and Waite, L. (2014) Hyper-precarious lives: migrants, work and forced labour in the Global NorthProgress in Human Geography. 39(5): 580-600

Lewis, H. and Craig, G. (2013) ‘Multiculturalism is never talked about’: from multiculturalism to community cohesion at the local level in EnglandPolicy & Politics. 42(1): 21-38.

Lewis, H. (2010) Community moments: integration and transnationalism at ‘refugee’ parties and eventsJournal of Refugee Studies 23 (4): 571-588



Waite, L., Craig, G., Lewis, H. and Skrivankova, K. (2015) Vulnerability, exploitation and migrants. Insecure work in a globalised economy. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Lewis, H., Dwyer, P., Hodkinson, S. and Waite, L. (2014) Precarious lives. Forced labour, exploitation and asylum. Bristol: Policy Press.

Some relevant book chapters

Lewis, H. 2016 Negotiating anonymity, informed consent and ‘illegality’: researching forced labour experiences among refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. In Siegel, Dina and de Wildt, Roos (eds.) Ethical concerns in research on human trafficking. London: Springer

Craig, G. and Lewis, H. (2014) ‘Multiculturalism or assimilation and social exclusion: ethnic minorities in the United Kingdom’ in Global perspectives on the politics of multiculturalism in the 21st century, B’Beri, B.E. and Mansouri, F. (eds.). London and New York: Routledge.

Long, J., Hylton, K., Lewis, H., Spracklan, K. and Ratna, A. (2011) ‘Space for inclusion? The construction of sport and leisure spaces as places for migrant communities’ in Ratna, A. and Lashua, B. (eds.) Community and inclusion in leisure research and sport development. LSA Volume no. 114. Brighton: Leisure Studies Association

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