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The Childhood, Law & Policy Network (CLPN)

Dr Lena Opfermann


Senior Lecturer in Applied Social Studies, University of Bedfordshire, United Kingdom



I am Senior Lecturer in Applied Social Studies at University of Bedfordshire where I coordinate an MA in International Social Welfare and teach on Forced Migration and Humanitarian Aid. I have a background in refugee protection and advocacy and have worked with NGOs and the UNHCR in Southern Africa and South America. I have written about the experiences of undocumented young migrants in South Africa, theatre-based research methods, research ethics and on urban regeneration in South Africa. My research sits at the intersection of (forced) migration, policy and cultural studies. I am interested in exploring how the lived realities of (forced) migrants, including children and young people, can be researched in an ethical way and how we can use our insights to improve policy making and ultimately enhance the wellbeing of diverse communities. My work draws on art and activism as tools and objects of study.



Opfermann, L. S. (2022): Ethics as a moral duty: Proposing an integrated ethics framework for migration research. Journal of Human Rights Practice.

Opfermann, Lena S. (2020): Walking in Jozi: Guided Tours, Insecurity and Urban Regeneration in Inner City Johannesburg. Global Policy, Special Issue on Precarity, Mobility and the City. DOI:

Opfermann, Lena S. (2019): Language, Trust and Transformation: Exploring Theatre as a Research Method with Migrant Youth. International Journal of Social Research Methodology. DOI:

Opfermann, Lena S. (2019): ‘If you can’t beat them, be them!’ – Everyday Experiences and ‘Performative Agency’ among Undocumented Migrant Youth in South Africa, Children’s Geographies. DOI:

Opfermann, Lena S. (2015): “Testing the ‘triple imperative’: A drama-based exploration of migrant children’s views”, Transnational Social Review, 5 (3), 224-240, DOI:


(Forced) migration, child migration, theatre-based research, research ethics, critical humanitarianism
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