Deena Dajani

Senior researcher, Human Settlements

Deena Dajani's picture
Telephone: +44 (0)20 3463 7399
Languages: English, Arabic (fluent), Swahili (basic)

Deena has conducted ethnographic and participatory research with refugee and migrant populations in East Africa, Europe and the Middle East, and worked on multi-disciplinary projects building partnerships with civil society to work towards more inclusive urban spaces.

Deena is a researcher on the GCRF-ESRC project ‘Protracted displacement in an urban world’, a large-scale comparative study examining wellbeing and livelihoods in cities and camps in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Jordan and Kenya.

She is co-investigator on the British Academy project ‘Rethinking humanitarian aid for refugees as investment in urban water and sanitation’, a multidisciplinary project that brings together engineers and social scientists to investigate water technologies alongside the social relationships around water, including gender relationships and refugee-host relationships.

Deena is also co-investigator on an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project ‘Living in difference and in common: urban refugees and convivial cultures in Kenya’ that combines ethnographic research and film to document displaced people and civic actors’ practices and contributions to convivial culture in urban centres.


Ethnographic and participatory research; borders, migration and citizenship; building partnerships with civil society; inclusive urban spaces.

Before IIED

  • Postdoctoral researcher on 'Praxis: arts and humanities for global development” at the University of Leeds (2019-20)
  • Postdoctoral researcher on “Digital makings in the city of refuge” at LSE (2018-19)
  • Consultant on joint project between The Open University, UNWomen and WFP in Al-Zaatari and Al-Azraq refugee camps in Jordan (2018)


  • PhD in social sciences, Loughborough University

Current work

Wellbeing in contexts of displacement; conviviality in migrant cities; water, gender and refugee-host relationships.