Dr Sana Murrani, Associate Professor in Spatial Practice, is an experimental architect focused on the imaginative negotiations of spatial practices and social justice. She is founder of the Justice and Imagination in Global Displacement research collective and the Displacement Studies Research Network that collaborate with displaced communities and inform policy and practice.

Empowering displaced people on a global platform

Sana’s Displacement Studies Research Network uniquely works at the intersection of displacement, heritage and creativity to enhance the impact and power of the communities’ creative agency, culture, heritage and well-being. The network has members from all over the world with expertise from literature to urban mapping, disaster risk management to psychology and much in between. The initiative is dedicated to partnerships that collaborate with displaced communities and work to respond to and inform policy and practice.

Sana is now evolving the network into the Justice and Imagination in Global Displacement Research Collective, uniting disciplines such as architecture, art practice and psychology, criminology and global literature, to embed imagination and creativity in research practices involving displaced communities for a person-centred approach that prioritises co-design and lived experiences.


Thought leadership

Stay at home. Is it really that simple?

‘Stay at home’ – a phrase that has almost become a mantra for many over the past year. However, over 79 million people worldwide are currently displaced, with many forced to leave their homes because of war, civil unrest, or in the aftermath of natural disasters. When you no longer reside in the place you had called home, what meaning does ‘home’ take on?  Read more about the meaning of home

Mapping memories to recover and reclaim heritage

Sana’s expertise is in the area of architecture and design spanning the impacts of transient conditions of war, conflict and displacement, and how communities respond creatively to their built environment and practices of home-making. In collaboration with the British Red Cross and funded by the European Cultural Foundation, ‘Creative Recovery: Mapping Refugees’ Memories of Home, as Heritage’ is co-produced creative research with refugees from multiple countries living in the South West UK. The refugees shared their experiences and recollections and created a selection of exhibits, visual material, digital maps and models that went on public display.


The person behind the pioneer

What is home? What does home mean to you?

Read more about Dr Sana Murrani

People who are subjected to traumatic events where they had to adopt a different way of navigating their world and environment, tend to become more spatially aware and cognitively spatially intelligent.

I’m interested in learning how people at times of war and conflict improvised spaces in their environment for protection and how these lessons could aid new ways of thinking for the humanitarian fields of architecture and design. We should recognise and celebrate these spatial responses as forms of resilience in people more often.

Dr Sana Murrani


Plymouth Pioneers: sustainable earth researchers

Voice of a sustainable earth

Our research addresses and responds to the global challenges facing communities as a result of climate change and unsustainable practices to improve our understanding of the environment, its changes and impacts. We continue to build innovative partnerships with industry and government, and use the University’s research expertise to engage with a range of challenges, from the low carbon agenda to water quality and food security in the developing world.

Our researchers have shown that future rainfall could outweigh current climate predictions and identified how to enhance manufactured soils to become more sustainable. We are working with communities around the world to respond to challenges around air, water, energy and food security, including Tanzania, South Africa, Peru, the European Alps and the Arctic.

Sustainable Earth Institute