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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Creative connections in pandemic times: digital spaces of care and solidarity with refugees and people seeking asylum Seminar

26 May 2022
Via Teams

Event details

Geography & Environmental Science Seminar

It is widely acknowledged that the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the marginalisation and deprivation of refugees/asylum seekers in the UK, exposing an urgent need to engage with their experiences and develop sustainable practices of welcome and care in an environment that was already hostile. Meanwhile, researchers and practitioners have increasingly embraced arts-based, collaborative methods in research with refugees/asylum seekers, drawing attention to the ways in which it can enhance a sense of belonging and improve the mental wellbeing of refugees/asylum seekers, as well as offering alternative narratives and spaces to the exclusionary logic of state-bound immigration policies. This paper critically reflects on collaborative project carried out with refugee organisations, Stories & Supper and Phosphoros Theatre, during the Covid-19 lockdown in Spring/Summer 2020. The project involved digital storytelling, drama and poetry workshops with refugees, asylum seekers and local residents in Waltham Forest and the co-production of two digitally published and performed pieces. Engaging with wider scholarly and policy debates on welcome, care and the temporalities of uncertainty for refugees/asylum seekers, alongside debates surrounding the benefits and limitations of arts-based methodologies, this paper considers the potential offered by these digital creative activities for providing alternative narratives and spaces for inclusion, welcome and care against a backdrop of hostility and exclusion. It also examines the ethical and practical questions and challenges that such engagements expose.  

Speaker Information

Dr Olivia Sheringham – Lecturer, Department of Geography, Birkbeck University of London

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