Snigdha Asirvatham

Postgraduate Research Student
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
 Snigdha Asirvatham



I am an Indian-based PhD student specialising in Refugee Care within the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Essex. My academic journey in this field commenced in 2019, inspired by my hands-on experience with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in New Delhi, India. Working directly with refugees in India, I was struck by the significant gaps in research and a profound personal passion to delve deeper into the lives and resilience of these communities. This led me to pursue my PhD, focusing on a subject that is not only academically stimulating but also close to my heart. My thesis, titled "Exploring Community Resilience, Social Capital, and Adversity Activated Development in the Context of Urban Refugee Communities in New Delhi, India," delves into the lived experiences of 12 refugees and asylum-seekers. Contrasting traditional trauma-focused narratives, my research employs semi-structured interviews and a hybrid thematic analysis to unravel the complexities of social capital and adversity-activated development (AAD) in building community resilience. This study not only highlights the importance of social networks in resource navigation and support but also showcases how adversity can foster positive growth and resilience. Through a multi-layered approach, my research aims to bridge theoretical and practical gaps, offering fresh insights for policy and future research, particularly in understanding the roles of social capital and AAD in enhancing resilience and well-being among urban refugees. I am keen to connect with fellow researchers and practitioners who share an interest in refugee care, community resilience, and the psychosocial dynamics of displaced populations. My goal is to contribute meaningfully to the field, advocating for culturally attuned, holistic approaches to address the unique challenges faced by urban refugees.


  • BA Pychology - Sociology University of Delhi (2013)

  • MSc Clinical PSychology University of Bangalore (2015)

Research and professional activities


Exploring Community Resilience, Social Capital and Adversity Activated Development in the context of urban refugee communities in New Delhi, India.

My thesis investigates the community resilience and social capital of urban refugees in New Delhi, India, through the experiences of refugees and asylum-seekers. It explores how social capital and adversity-activated development contribute to community resilience, challenging traditional trauma-focused narratives and offering new insights into the roles of social networks and adversity in fostering growth and well-being among refugees.

Supervisor: Renos Papadopoulus , Zibiah Loakthar



Colchester Campus