Networks and Events
Creating Research Impact
During my PhD, I organised events aimed to build a bridge between academics, practitioners and forced migrants. I also wished to keep my connection to the field of language studies and joined COST Action IS1306 New Speakers in A Multilingual Europe. With their support and additional training, I was able to organise several academic events and panels.
Action Research with Refugees in Kuala Lumpur
As part of a series of 4 short web sessions related to Sustainability Dialogues, I organised Action Research with Refugees in Kuala Lumpur web event.
Here I reconnected with my participants to discuss what participation and action research means for them. We discussed how researchers and practitioners may be able to be more inclusive. After the dialogue, we had a Q&A from other practitioners in the field of sustainability more generally.
In the video, we have hidden the images of the people who spoke about their experiences of asylum. For this reason, there is no visual from the actual session in the recording only the slides of the talk and a photovoice I previously conducted in the Netherlands. The photovoice was initially exhibited as Valorising Voices, as part of a wider COST New Speakers Conference in Coimbra University, Portugal. The refugees chose the images that best represented different aspects of their lives.
The outcome of this dialogue was to stress community inclusion in all aspects of research: allowing space for making decisions and taking initiative in what might best impact their lives.
Ultimately, we returned to notions of participation and inclusive when connecting with refugee voices.
Muhammad Noor of Rohingya Project
13th February 2020
I independently hosted a workshop to support a former participant from my PhD fieldwork. Muhammad Noor is the leader of the Rohingya Project, which uses concepts of digital identity to create an online financial empowerment platform for stateless Rohingya.
The workshop aimed to create a space for collaboration and focus discussions on practical outcomes and building partnerships between the Rohingya Project and academic institutions & researchers, NGOs and legal clinics.
The sessions were divided into the projects conducted by the Rohingya Project
Session 1: Rohingya Memory & Archiving
Session 2: Rohingya Statelessness & Digital Identity
Session 3: Rohingya (Social) Enterprise
Refugees as Development Actors; in their own Voices
In May 2018 I organised, 'Refugees as Development Actors; in their own voices’ hosted by the Make it Right Movement at Brickfields Asia College, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. This event featured refugee-only panel discussions and connected forced migrants to civil society organisations.
This event was aimed to complete my action research project by providing a platform for the participants to engage with civil society members and show the impact of their work. The members of the audience were from high profile NGOs and further educational institutions. Some of those who participated in my research went on to create a joint refugee and civil society platform to inform policy and wider social debate.
In September 2017 at the COST Action IS1306 conference New Speakers in A Multilingual Europe: Policies and Practices in Coimbra University, Portugal, I organised two events: Exhibition and Academic Panel
1. Valorising Voices; Refugee Lives and Voices Exhibition
I collaborated with a refugee and undocumented migrants in the Netherlands to document their lives. I organised a professional photographer to give a photography training workshop, found funding through COST Action IS1306 and resources in terms of a team required for this project.
I supported Wij Zijn Hier (We Are Here), Amsterdam - a group of rejected asylum seekers who collected photos from their recent protests, food sharing events and daily life. A local Dutch journalist also contributed her work on undocumented youth in Amsterdam.
I worked closely with The Afghan Community Centre (ACC) to write consent forms and connect with their community for the exhibition. They collected photos and videos for the exhibition. I organised a way for the head of a Somali community college to contribute a short talk via video/Skype on research methods and refugee inclusion.
2. Valorising Voices; Stakeholder and Academic Panel
Both events I facilitated through refugee-led projects, panels and round table discussions. Practitioners and academics responded to questions and situations posited by refugee keynote speakers who highlighted issues from their practice and experience. I facilitated a number of refugees and community NGOs to participate in the panel through engaging with them beforehand to understand their needs, organising the panel as an open dialogue and ensuring questions and topics that were inclusive. We were joined by Urban Refugees and by Photovoice
Research Impact in Action; Refugees, New Speakers and Global Law
On the 23rd and 24th March 2017, I organised and hosted a conference attended by approximately 50 academics and stakeholders (refugees and NGOs) titled Research Impact in Action; Refugees, New Speakers and Global Law at Tilburg University, Netherlands.
We had mixed panels of refugees, practitioners and academics which all aimed to highlight forced migrant experiences and encourage reflective practice. We wanted to connect forced migrant voices to impact policy and practice and consider how we as researchers are a part of the process of valorising those voices. In the evening we held a conference meal organised by a local Syrian refugee who was starting up his own catering company.
Roundtable on Migration and Asylum
Between the 11th – 13th May 2016 I co-ordinated and hosted the Network Round Table on “Migration and Asylum” organised by myself and Dr Cassie Smith-Christmas at the COST Action IS1306 New Speakers Whole Action Conference in Hamburg, Germany.
This event initiated my interest in the events listed above, and in further collaborating between academics from different fields and with those active in civil society and policymaking. The roundtable was attended by 50 people. At the end of the roundtable, I wrote a follow-up blog - migration and asylum and Brexit.
I am interested in creating events that allow for marginalised or often overlooked persons to present or find a platform to demonstrate their projects, ideas or skills.
Events formats also can be made more participatory. This does not mean making big changes. Event formats can be changed to find spaces that allow for genuine participation, responsive and impactful dialogue.
Events I have organised have included workshops and panels that allow for dialogue between academic, practitioners and forced migrant actors. These events aim for greater diversity also can lead to collaboration and potentially new and innovative projects in research or development.
Adding further impact-focused breakout groups both during an event and online can increase visibility and communication of the events ideas and discussions. I am interested in promoting research communication on both virtual conferences as well as interactive participatory in-person conferences.
The Living Refugee Archive (LRA) is home to a growing collection of resources relating to refugees and forced migration. The Living Refugee Archive was established as a portal to help facilitate access to digital archive materials and existing archival collections including the Refugee Council Archive at the University of East London.
I support their work through my collaboration on the e-journal Displaced Voices, as editor.
Prior to my PhD, I started to participate in a socio-linguistics network; COST Action IS1306 New Speakers in A Multilingual Europe. I was interested in language due to my experience as a teacher and wished to continue learning about socio-linguistics. I joined conferences related to language issues, training at the PhD level, taking part in management discussions to organise conferences and organised my own events within the network.
My PhD is a part of the European Doctorate in Law and Development programme. In addition to many other achievements, this project has created a network of researchers and a community of development scholars and practitioners interested in law, development and social change. EDOLAD provided in-depth training related to PhD empirical research in Law. I have engaged with my colleagues in training and collaborated on other projects such as a special issue.
At the end of my MSSc, I took part in a Grundtvig funded training in 'Working with Refugees and Asylum seekers'. As an outcome of that training, I started a Jiscmail to keep the participants connected and to continue to expand our knowledge on migration and asylum. Later I found several volunteers to support and expand the idea to include Facebook and Twitter. Now the Facebook group is the most active with over 4000 members - scholars, practitioners and refugees. We share news and information for conferences and events. The volunteers have also supported several of the events I organised related to refugees. This was a crash course in virtual team project management.