Durham University

School of Government & International Affairs

Staff Profile

Dr Lena S Opfermann, PhD (York), MA (Uppsala)

Teaching Fellow in Post-Conflict Reconstruction in the School of Government and International Affairs
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 45657
Room number: IM209, Al-Qasimi Building

Contact Dr Lena S Opfermann (email at lena.s.opfermann@durham.ac.uk)


I joined Durham University in September 2017 as MSc Programme Director at the Durham Global Security Institute (DGSI) and Teaching Fellow in Post-Conflict Reconstruction. Prior to this I was based at the Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York (UK), and held an EUSA_ID Fellowship at the University of the Western Cape (South Africa). My PhD explored the experiences of unaccompanied and undocumented migrant children in Cape Town through a theatre-based methodology. This research paid particular attention to questions around the ethics and politics of arts-based research in (forced) migration studies.

I hold a Master degree in International Humanitarian Action from the University of Uppsala (Sweden) and a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Sciences from the European University Viadrina (Germany). I have spent periods of study and research at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá (Colombia), the Universidad de Deusto in Bilbao (Spain) and the University of Cape Town (South Africa).

I also have several years of professional experience in human rights advocacy, humanitarian assistance and refugee protection acquired through working with NGOs and the UNHCR in Angola, Ecuador, South Africa and Portugal.

I am teaching and convening modules in the following programmes:

MSc Defence, Development and Diplomacy and MSc Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding 

My office hours (2017/18) are Wednesday 14.00 – 15.00 & Thursday 12.00 – 13.00

Research Interests

  • Forced and undocumented migration
  • Child migration
  • Critical humanitarianism
  • Peacebuilding
  • Theatre-based research
  • Xenophobia
  • Regional focus: Southern and Central Africa; Colombia


Conference Paper

Journal Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

  • Opfermann, Lena Sophia (2016). "Just show them that we have feelings." – Reflections on the representation of migrant children's stories.

Contact Details

T: +44 (0) 191 334 5742

F: +44 (0) 191 334 5661