School of Social and Political Science

Dr Georgia Cole

Job Title

Chancellor's Fellow


Georgia Cole is currently a Chancellor's Fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences. Her research focuses on the alternatives that people pursue to formal asylum pathways and on pluralising geographies of refuge to account for diverse sites of protection and respite. She works primarily with Eritrean refugees and migrants in Eritrea, East Africa and the Gulf States, where she is trying to understand the historical and contemporary role of Gulf actors in global systems of displacement and humanitarianism. More broadly, she is interested in exploring how displaced populations access durable solutions and how international and domestic politics affects this, and on displacement dynamics within the Horn of Africa. 

At Edinburgh, she is involved in projects including the Mastercard Foundation-funded blended bridging programme for refugee and host community learners in Uganda, which is being designed and implemented in partnership with the Refugee Law Project and the American University of Beirut. She is also working on a project with the Mixed Migration Centre of the Danish Refugee Council to design a longitudinal survey tool to capture how decision-making evolves among mixed migrants in North and East Africa. 

Prior to this, Georgia was a Research Fellow at the Margaret Anstee Centre for Global Studies at Newnham College, Cambridge, and the Joyce Pearce Junior Research Fellow at the Refugee Studies Centre in Oxford. She completed a DPhil in International Development at the University of Oxford. She is currently the Book Review Editor for Journal of Refugee Studies, and has served on the editorial board for the Journal of Eritrean Studies. Alongside academic publications, she has written for outlets including The GuardianThe EconomistThe Independent, The Conversation and Open Democracy.

Her teaching has spanned doctoral, graduate and undergraduate courses, covering a range of courses in geography, development studies, refugee studies, social work and social science research methods. She currently convenes the BSc in Social Work Dissertation Course and co-convenes the graduate Analysing Qualitative Data course in SPS, and is designing a first year course on key Study Skills. 

She is currently accepting PhD students.

Research interests

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Cole G. Non-signatory donor States and UNHCR: Questions of funding and influence. Forced Migration Review. 2021 Jul 1;(67):56-59.
Mosley J, Wanni N, Nigatu Y, Wasuge M, Hamaizia A, Cole G et al. Turkey and the Gulf States in the Horn of Africa: Fluctuating dynamics of engagement, investment and influence. Rift Valley Institute, 2021. 80 p.
Cole G. Policy Regions and Migration Routes: Where is the (Mis)alignment? In A Roadmap for Advocacy, Policy Development, and Programming: Protection in Mixed Movements along the Central and Western Mediterranean Routes 2021. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 2021. p. 98-101
Cole G. Sampling on the dependent variable: An Achille's heel of research on displacement? Journal of Refugee Studies. 2021 Feb 24. feaa123.
Cole G. Pluralising geographies of refuge. Progress in Human Geography. 2021 Feb 1;45(1):88-110.
Cole G. Choiceless Departures and Involuntary Immobility: Forced Migration from the Gulf States To Africa. International Refugee Rights Initiative, 2020. 18 p. (Rights in Exile Policy Paper Series).
Cole G. ‘Find the gap’: Strategic oversights and inactions in Uganda’s asylum procedures. Afriche e Orienti. 2020;XXII(I):48-70.
Cole G. Working with ‘stayee’ communities: learning from Eritrea. Forced Migration Review. 2019 Oct;62.
Cole G. Avoiding refugee status and alternatives to asylum. University of Oxford: Refugee Studies Centre. 2019 Sep 30. (Research in Brief).
Cole G. Systemic ambivalence in authoritarian contexts: The case of opinion formation in Eritrea. Political Geography. 2019 Aug 1;73:28-37.
Cole G. “But if locals are poorer than you, how would you justify additional help?”: Rethinking the purpose of sensitive interview questions. Refugee Survey Quarterly. 2018 Jul 17;37(3):328-352.
Cole G. Questioning the value of ‘refugee’ status and its primary vanguard: The case of Eritreans in Uganda. University of Oxford: Refugee Studies Centre. 2018 May 31. (Working Paper Series).
Cole G. Beyond labelling: Rethinking the role and value of the refugee ‘label’ through semiotics. Journal of Refugee Studies. 2018 Mar 31;31(1):1–21.
Cole G. The international community’s role in Eritrea’s postliberation phase of exception. In Woldemikael TM, editor, Postliberation Eritrea. Indiana University Press. 2018. p. 238-270
Cole G. How friends become foes: Exploring the role of documents in shaping UNHCR’s behaviour. Third World Quarterly. 2018;39(8):1491-1507.
Fiddian-Qasmiyeh E, Lewis C, Cole G. ‘Faithing’ Gender and Responses to Violence in Refugee Communities: Insights from the Sahrawi Refugee Camps and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Buckley-Zistel S, Krause U, editors, Gender, Violence, Refugees. Vol. 37. Berghahn Books. 2017. (Forced Migration).
Cole G. The role of semiotics in connecting the spaces, words and embodied experiences of refugee politics. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 2017 Jun 30;42(2):303-316.
Cole G. Negotiating durable solutions for refugees: A critical space for semiotic analysis. International Journal for the Semiotics of Law. 2016 Mar;29(1):9–27.
Cole G. Can Refugee Cessation be seen as a proxy for the end of state fragility? Forced Migration Review. 2013 May 31;43:1-2.