Ethical positioning in co-constructing narrative spaces with refugee-storytellers in the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp Cigdem Esin & Aura Lounasmaa

Based on the article:  Esin, C. and Lounasmaa, A., 2020. Narrative and ethical (in) action: creating spaces of resistance with refugee-storytellers in the Calais ‘Jungle’camp.   International Journal of Social Research Methodology, pp.1-13.

Between November 2015 and September 2016, under the University of EastLondon civic engagement and impact schemes, the authors, together with Corinne Squire, colleagues and students who volunteered their time, ran overlapping projects with the refugee residents of the ‘Jungle’, the unrecognised refugee camp in Calais. The aim of the projects was to encourage refugee participants to tell their life stories using multiple modalities, and to consider their education in their new countries. The space of the projects based on ethical hesitancy enabled the team to co-construct a relational field. The argument of the broader paper is that it was within this relational space refugee storytellers resisted and/or challenged the mainstream refugee narratives, whilst giving rise to ethically important questions.

The work included a short, accredited university course called Life Stories, which consisted of photography and visual storytelling workshops, film-making sessions, workshops on opportunities in higher education in Europe and a co-authored book, entitled ‘Voices from the ‘Jungle’.

There has been an increase in the number of educational and research projects as the populations flee the countries of conflict and violence to move to safer countries of the world. All these projects have been part of the endeavor which aims to understand the conditions of refugees and/or support them in their journeys. For example, Sanyal (2017) analyses photography and videos from the Calais ‘Jungle’ with a view to understanding the biopolitics of resistance which includes an interplay between humanitarian action and the refugee as a ’body to be managed’ (p. 5).

The projects that the authors drew on the paper were included into this collective effort. When the team started the projects in the Calais ‘Jungle’, it was a response to an ethical demand, which arose from their political responsibility and obligation towards one another, as Butler (2016) puts it. When displaced populations walked their way to reach a safer place and lives, the authors and the team made an ethical decision to be in solidarity with some of the refugees, to help them to channel their resources into an embodied and embedded practice.

The projects were neither framed as research nor research impact but as an instance of public engagement. The engagement provided a framework for work shaped by solidarity, and to secure ongoing support beyond a one-off intervention. The discussion and questions in the broader paper have been informed by the authors’ reflections as facilitators in the projects. They were aware of the public scrutiny that the refugee participants were subjected to, and the limits of narratives, being personal or public. The projects were not categorised as research, yet, the authors believed that their work with narratives and refugee communities had influenced their position in the space.

Throughout the project sessions, the authors collaborated with the refugee participants, they kept asking questions to explore the narrative practices that refugee participants built up to make sense of their lives, and to connect them to their present and imagined future. The narratives produced by the participants themselves are all available publicly, and where they are not, the authors have granted the team the permission to use them.

The authors positioned themselves as facilitators of the projects rather than ‘experts’, imposing good/right decisions about the lives of refugee-participants.In terms of their ethical position, ‘they have drawn on the work of Kofoed and Staunæs (2015), who deploy hesitancy as an ethical strategy. According to Kofoed and Staunæs (2015) in zones of high intensity, there are moments when researchers are required to intervene to do what is right. Ethical hesitancy may be a useful strategy in those instances. They describe hesitancy as ‘a momentary suspension of action due to an embodied sense of thoughtfulness and engaged capability of interrupting one’s own immediate incentives to response and enact embedded normativities and judgements’ (p.25)’ (Esin &Lounasmaa, 2020, online)

Hesitancy as an ethical position enabled the facilitators in the projects to consider their long-term contribution to the development of a solution without rapid intervention. In the context of the Calais ‘Jungle’, the collaboration included taking up an ethical position without falling into the trap of making the ‘right’ decision from a privileged position.

Some of the participatory projects:

A short course in the Calais ‘Jungle’. The course was called Life Stories. It offered five credits at level 3 in Social Sciences for those who attended three teaching sessions and completed assessment in the form of their own life story. The assessment could be completed by writing a life story, through oral presentation, a recording, a visual life story or through combination of these. Translation was also facilitated, where possible, for some who wished to complete the assessment in a different language. University studies could have not been a reality for some of the participants even though they were able to seek asylum in Europe later. However, the classes provided an emotional support for the participants by encouraging to think of their lives beyond the material needs of the camp.

Participatory photography workshops. The workshops were organized as a part of the Life Histories course. They were led by photographers Gideon Mendel and Crispin Hughes. They were both experienced in participatory community photography, worked with residents to create visual narratives of their lives, particularly of their lives in the camp.

According to Gomez and Vannini (2017), working with photography has three functions in work with migrants. These are: using photography can enable participants to control of what they can share visually; photographs can open up the space of interaction between facilitators and participants; and making photographs can enable participant to consider complex emotions in context, beyond the power imbalances surrounding their lives. The rationale from a more narrative perspective was to provide emancipatory possibilities for participants to tell their stories (Squire et al., 2014, p. 43), in transnational, transcultural and multilingual contexts (O’Neill, 2008), where life stories are ever relational and never singular.

Teaching and workshops ran in makeshift classrooms, in the schools of the camp, the Jungle Books library, in tents, where was available, sometimes one to one, other times with groups.

The participants told stories about their lives at home and in the camp; their journeys; their difficulties and friendships in the ‘Jungle’; their attempts to cross the border to reach Britain. They introduced the camp to the team. Their families and members of the ‘Jungle’ community became part of the conversations. The authors told participants about their lives in and before London, their own journeys; they answered the questions on the educational system in Britain, with the fear of giving the participants false hope on a positive future life in Europe. The conversation continued over tea and food in the camp.

Life narratives

O’Neill and Harindranath (2006) point out an interesting fact about narratives gathered in participatory projects. That is their potential to reconstitute the boundaries of citizenship for communities of displaced people. Migration researchers (see Doná, 2007; Erel, Reynolds, & Kaptani, 2017; Gomez & Vannini, 2017; Holgate et al., 2012) have been aiming to increase the participation in the processes and to examine power imbalances in their work.

The projects that the authors draw on in the paper, explore the possibility of creating a participatory space; to challenge the exclusive practices through the production of biographical narratives. Using a multimodal methodology allowed the use of different forms, such as visual and verbal stories, social mediaposts, poetry or other types of written narratives. Multimodality helped to work in a multilingual and multicultural field.

Refugees were usually asked to tell about particular parts of their lives and journeys, as their narratives become part of the claims for safety, citizenship and human rights. If the biographical narratives respond to legal claims, the content and structure become more strict (see Millibank, 2009 for a detailed argument). In the Calais projects, the goal was to constitute a space in which storytellers told biographical narratives in a powerful context that marginalize (if not exclude) displaced populations.

What does it mean for the refugee-storytellers to tell their personal narratives? Narratives are political projects themselves (Meretoja, 2018). Meanings are constructed as each individual encounter leads to new stories. The potential in narrative practices make it possible to re-constitute the narrative. In this way, each biographical narrative becomes a political project to reveal social injustice, to mobilise solidarity and transformation.

The interconnections between personal and communal narratives should also be considered as part of the political world, how storytellers and hearers make sense of that world (Andrews, 2014, p. 85). Examining the interrelation between micro ad macro narratives enhances the ability to scrutinize narratives as political practices that are constructed within a network of power relations.

In addition to offering tools for the refugee storytellers to re-build the sphere of politics related to migration and displacement, biographical narratives could provide storytellers with resources to re-construct meanings as individuals and communities. Additionally, the micro narratives could be functional to reveal the levels of power relations that form them (see Tamboukou, 2003, pp. 94–102). The personal stories may be the ‘technologies of resistance’, tools for storytellers to move between the constraining reality of their lives and the dream of limitless freedom, at times, forming precarious positions in between.

Forging narratives of resistance

Majid Adin – finding beauty

When the refugee storytellers created narratives in the camp, the conditions were complicated. The Calais ‘Jungle’ was an unrecognized refugee camp. The legal and political frameworks set limits to its refugee residents’ right to citizenship and human rights. The same frameworks shaped the interaction through projects and the way personal narratives were shared.

The ‘Jungle’s reputation at the time meant that many participants felt constrained to tell their families that they lived in the camp. These storytellers created visual narratives about a nice new life in France rather than exposing the camp conditions and project a version of the self. That produced a contradiction to think about.

You will see one of the two shorts extracts by Majid Adin that the authors used in the broader paper below. The narrative was constituted during Majid’s participation in the ‘Displaces’ photography project. It is available online*. The narrative formed across modalities (written and visual) allowed the authors to read parts of the narratives together. Majid’s narrative was one of the frequent responses to the living conditions of the ‘Jungle’– one highlighting the humanity of the camp’s residents. Majid spent several months in the ‘Jungle’ and participated in various projects, producing arts and working with art-based groups. Majid’s narrative portrayed the shared material space and its meaning to him.

Mani

‘This was beautiful for me. The main street in the Jungle. I pass this way a lot, some thousand times. This area for us has not a very good feeling, not good memories. We all have dreams and wishes. 99% of us don’t want to be here. But sometimes in a place you hate you can find something interesting and beautiful. I find a beauty in this place.’

Majid Adin*

In his narrative, Majid links his hate for the material conditions of the camp to his dreams for the future. Majid does not romanticise or deliver an unrealistic narrative about the living conditions or his emotions. Instead, he crafts his narrative as a path for resistance, between the unbearable materiality of his present and his desire for a better future. Other participants who wanted to show beauty in the ‘Jungle’ often spoke about the community building that was taking place and the offers of help and hospitality that made the ‘Jungle’ beautiful. The community spirit of the ‘Jungle’ was also more than a narrative of resistance to some. Majid’s search for beauty seeks to change that narrative and hence the authors’ views of both the ‘Jungle’ and its inhabitants.’ (Esin & Lounasmaa, 2020, online)

Life narratives make sense within the local complexity of social relations. Why does Majid’s narrative seeking beauty of the camp have the potential of resistance? Riessman’s (2000) study of the destigmatizing practices of South Indian women in reaction to childlessness was useful to understand the form of resistance embedded in Majid’sstory. Riessman discusses more subtle aspects of resistance rather than considering it as changing social structures of gender and patriarchy.

Similarly, as in Majid’s narrative, there were narratives that counter the reputation of the camp as a place of violence, reassuring their families and building their claims for citizenship. The narrative itself should be examined as a technology of resistance that emerged within the relational space of such non-invasive projects.

Ethical questions, reflections

Being facilitators in such projects necessitated deploying an ethical position beyond the baseline of ‘do no harm’. Being in solidarity with refugee residents (participants), framing the work as education and participatory storytelling opened up the space to all possible outcomes, or indeed none at all. Not engaging with institutional ethics for the “Jungle’ projects does not mean that they are not helpful while researching vulnerable populations. The point within the context was that the residents in the ‘Jungle’ should not be turned into objects of knowledge. The objective was to explore ways in which participants could benefit from the work more directly. The authors deployed ethical positions to participate in a dialogue with storytellers and audiences, and to recognize the limitations of the work.

Levels of confidentiality and privacy were not the same for the facilitators and participants at all times although there were negotiations on different levels. In telling visual narratives, the participant-storytellers were in a position to use digital cameras and edit their story with the photographers. There were disagreements on some of the compositions. While the storytellers wanted to tell their stories as they wished to, the facilitators were concerned about the anonymity of visual narratives. They did not want to risk anything about the asylum seeking process for the participants, or they were alarmed about the violence that may come from various communities. The photographers and facilitators respected participants’ decision, where possible, if storytellers chose to post the same pictures on social media despite being aware of the potential harms.

Ethical questions throughout the process were asked. Gender, class and language differences shaped the interaction, power inequalities formed the hierarchies in relationships. English was the language of power while it was the main medium to communicate at times. At other times, another language shared by the participants took over. The forms of interaction and the use of time and space were negotiated in varied ways. For the facilitators, times of day were determined by daylight hours, when it was safe for them to stay in the camp, and Eurostar timetables. For most of the participants, times and spaces were framed by nightly trips to the port to ‘try’ for England, availability of food and supplies. The reality of police presence in the camp remained as a problem for all residents.

The commitment to ethical hesitancy (Kofoed & Staunæs, 2015), engaging in a ‘slow practice’ that resisted the urge to jump into action did not immune any of the facilitators from making decisions that were ethically questionable. Yet, all decisions included dialogue. Hesitancy as an ethical principle was also useful to examine interaction and moments of storytelling. What made narratives as political projects, which were linked to the relations of the practice; who told the story, under which circumstances it was told, and who heard it were the questions asked at the moments of hesitancy.

Among all of the complexities, the authors of the paper believe that the projects provide an important contribution to understanding ethical issues in work with refugee narratives, which can be, or at least become social action. They suggest that practitioners/researchers working with refugees and migrants could utilise ethical hesitancy as a principle to collaborate with the project participants in the development of long-term transformations.

Notes

*Source: Displaces- Photography narratives project with the residents of theCalais camp https://educatingwithoutborders.wordpress.com/displaces-a-projectby-gideon-mendel-and-calais-jungle-residents

References

Andrews, M. (2014). Narrative imagination and everyday life. Oxford: Oxford

University Press.

Butler, J. (2016). Frames of war: When is life grievable? London: Verso.

Calais writers. (2017). Voices from the ‘Jungle’: Stories from the Calais refugee

camp. London: Pluto Press.

Doná, G. (2007). The microphysics of participation in refugee research. Journal

of Refugee Studies, 20(2), 210–229.

Erel, U., Reynolds, T., & Kaptani, E. (2017). Participatory theatre for

transformative social research. Qualitative Research, 17(3), 302–312.

Holgate, J., Keles, J., & Kumarappan, L. (2012). Visualizing “community”: An

experiment in participatory photography among Kurdish Diasporic workers in

London. The Sociological Review, 60(2), 312–332.

Kofoed, J., & Staunæs, D. (2015). Hesitancy as ethics. Reconceptualizing

Educational Research Methodology, 6(2). Retrieved from

https://journals.hioa.no/index.php/rerm/article/view/1559

Meretoja, H. (2018). The ethics of storytelling: narrative hermeneutics, history,

and the possible. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Millibank, J. (2009). ‘The ring of truth’: A case study of credibility assessment in

particular social group refugee determinations. International Journal of

Refugee Law, 21(1), 1–33.

O’Neill, M., & Harindranath, R. (2006). Theorising narratives of exile and

belonging: The importance of biography and ethno-mimesis in” understanding”

asylum. Qualitative Sociology Review, 2(1), 39–53.

O’Neill, M. (2008). Transnational refugees: The transformative role of art? [53

paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social

Research, 9(2), Art. 59. Retrieved from http://nbnresolving.

de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0802590

Riessman, C. K. (2000). Stigma and everyday resistance practices: Childless

women in South India. Gender & Society, 14(1), 111–135.

Sanyal, D. (2017). Calais’s “Jungle”: Refugees, Biopolitics, and the Arts of

Resistance. Representations, Summer 2017 (139) 1-33.

Squire, C., Davis, M., Esin, C., Andrews, M., Harrison, B., Lars-Christer, H., &

Hyden, M. (2014). What is narrative research? London: Bloomsbury.

Tamboukou, M. (2013). A genealogical approach to narratives. In M. Andrews, C. Squire, & M. Tamboukou (Eds.), Doing Narrative Research. London: Sage. 88–107.

Book launch, ‘Children framing childhoods’, 27.4.20

Luttrell book launch-1  CANCELLED _- We hope to reschedule next year

Monday 27th April, 5 – 6:30 pm

Thomas Coram Research Unit, Library (first floor)

 27-28 Woburn Square, Bloomsbury,        

 London WC1H OAA

Visit website for the book:  http://www.childrenframingchildhoods.com

Wendy Luttrell, Graduate Center, City University of New York,

will discuss her new book, Children framing childhoods, in conversation with: 

         Shirin Rai, University of Warwick, Director, 

         Warwick Interdisciplinary Research Centre for International Development       

Rachel Thomson, University of Sussex, 

Director, Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth 

Sevasti-Melissa Nolas, Goldsmiths, 

Co-director Childhood Publics Research Programme

  

A RECEPTION WILL FOLLOW
 
 
 

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

Children Framing Childhoods: Working-Class Kids’ Visions of Care by Wendy Luttrell provides a unique window into the diverse lives, aspirations and experiences of working-class children in Massachusetts, US.  

 

Urban educational research, practice, and policy is preoccupied with problems, brokenness, stigma, and blame. As a result, too many people are unable to recognize the capacities and desires of children and youth growing up in working-class communities. 

 

This book offers an alternative angle of vision—animated by young people’s own photographs, videos, and perspectives over time. It shows how a racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse community of young people in Worcester, MA used cameras at different ages (10, 12, 16 and 18) to capture and value the centrality of care in their lives, homes, and classrooms. 

 

Luttrell’s immersive, creative, and layered analysis of the young people’s images and narratives boldly refutes biased assumptions about working-class childhoods and re-envisions schools as inclusive, imaginative, and care-ful spaces. With an accompanying website featuring additional digital resources (childrenframingchildhoods.com), this book challenges us to see differently and, thus, set our sights on a better future. 

 


 

“This book challenges the deficit models of working-class children by asking them to tell us what is important to know about school and home…offers hope for the future.” Mary Romero, President of the American Sociological Association 

 

“Luttrell’s elegant visual ethnography of home and school brings forward the caring work of immigrant families, teachers, and young students themselves. Her innovative “collaborative seeing” methodology challenges deficit perceptions of urban schooling and offers a vision of education with caring at its core.” Marjorie DeVault, Syracuse University 

 

“This book takes us on an intimate journey across time and images, claiming space for children’s carework.” Lauren J Silver, Rutgers University-Camden 

To Think Is To Experiment, 2020: Rescheduled as online event

Call for Papers:  This event will now be held online over a shorter period

To Think is To Experiment

Postgraduate Research Day at the Centre for Narrative Research

29th April, 2020, 10 am – 4 pm, University of East London, University Square, Stratford, Room US1.01

The Centre for Narrative Research (CNR) at UEL is hosting To Think is to Experiment, the annual Postgraduate Research Conference, on the 29th April, 2020.

This is a call for papers for all qualitative postgraduate researchers who work with personal narratives in the field of ‘social justice’. Participants can contribute to the discussion with a short presentation (10-15 minutes long) or a poster. Please send an abstract (150-200 words) to Corinne Squire c.squire@uel.ac.uk by 6th March 2020. Applicants will hear back from us by 20th March 2020.

We invite papers to discuss any part of methodology from gathering personal narratives focusing on participants’ experiences to the analysis of narratives, discussing and reflecting on the methodological decisions of researchers, including the ethical ones. We are interested in both broader qualitative approaches to narratives and specific narrative methods.

The event has been hosting interesting discussions by postgraduate researchers on every aspect of working with narratives since 2002. This year, we are particularly interested in the interconnection between personal narratives, including the researchers’, and grand narratives surrounding ‘social justice’ all over the world.

The previous programmes and abstracts of To Think is To Experiment can be viewed on this link https://www.uel.ac.uk/research/centre-for-narrative-research/to-think-is-to-experiment

We look forward to having constructive conversations together on the day.

Cigdem Esin, Aura Lounasmaa, Molly Andrews, Corinne Squire

Using dialogical/performance analysis to assess the suitability and acceptability of social isolation and loneliness interventions for older minoritised people living in the UK, Brenda Hayanga, UCL Institute of Education.

 

Slides from the seminar: Hayanga TCRU CNR graduate seminar series

Tuesday 4th February 2020, 5– 6.30pm

Library, Thomas Coram Research Unit, 27 – 28 Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AA

All welcome, particularly graduate students.

 Storytelling is first of all a way of speaking by a storyteller to an audience in a social situation – in a word, a performance (Langellier, 1989:249). People narrate their stories for a variety of reasons. For some, stories are a way to relay information. For others, stories are also an act of self-presentation. They allow people to, for example, construct who they are and perform their identity. In this study, I adopt a performance approach to personal narratives. I re-use qualitative data and draw upon narrative analysis to assess whether interventions for social isolation and loneliness are suitable and acceptable for older people from minoritised ethnic groups living in the UK. Specifically, I use dialogic/performance analysis to identify how participants use various narration styles and linguistic performance features to present and position themselves. This approach to narrative analysis can reveal participants’ attitudes and enables insight into what participants may deem appropriate, suitable, and/or acceptable. By attending to the broader cultural, historical, and social context, I explore whether these performances conform to, or resist canonical narratives. In doing so, I assess the transferability of the findings to other older, minoritised people.

This study is the fourth phase of an iterative mixed-methods study, which aims to investigate the effectiveness and suitability of social isolation and loneliness interventions for older minoritised people living in the UK. It follows on from the third phase, where I conducted a systematic review of social isolation and loneliness interventions for older people. For this analysis, I draw upon qualitative data from the second phase, where I conducted in-depth interviews with older minoritised people. The debates surrounding re-use of qualitative are discussed, as are the strengths and limitations of dialogic/performance analysis to assess the suitability and appropriateness of social isolation and loneliness interventions for this population. Not only does this study contribute to the sparse research in this area, but it also illustrates the advantages and feasibility of using narrative analysis in mixed methods research designs.

Brenda Hayanga: I am a PhD student based at UCL Institute of Education, Department of Social Science. My research straddles two fields; social gerontology and race/ethnicity studies. My main research interests are diversity in ageing, intersectionality, generalisability, mixed methods and evidence-based policy and practice.

For further details, please contact Corinne Squire at c.squire@uel.ac.uk or Brenda Hayanga, Thomas Coram Research Unit graduate partner, brenda.hayanga.14@ucl.ac.uk . Details are also on the CNR blog https://centrefornarrativeresearch.wordpress.com and the CNR website

The development of emerging plurisexual identities across three generations of sexual minority individuals, Marc Svensson, UCL

Slides from the seminar: Svensson CNR-TCRU graduate seminar, Svensson, January 2020

Tuesday 21st January 2020, 5– 6.30 pm

Library, Thomas Coram Research Unit, 27 – 28 Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AA

 

All welcome, particularly graduate students.

Abstract: This paper is looking at 31 individuals across three generations, from a large nationwide US study called the Generation Study (http://www.generations-study.com), identifying with a plurisexual emerging sexual identity, namely queer or pansexual. Semi-structured interviews have been carried out and the data analysed to identify minority stress factors and resilience resources impacting this specific sexual minority group, influencing their (mental) health outcomes.

 

Marc Svensson: As a social psychologist, my research interests centres around improving mental health and the general well-being of minority and marginalised groups. My research focuses on understanding and analysing minority identity formation in its social context, and its subsequent role in mental health outcomes. I am currently completing my PhD at UCL (University College London) where I am researching young people with a non-binary sexual identity (pansexual and queer) as well as bisexual individuals, as these groups report even lower general wellbeing and suffer from more mental health issues than their gay and lesbian peers within the sexual minority community.

I am also the co-founder of a tech start-up called Helsa. Helsa is a digital platform for LGBTQ+ people to learn about their own mental health and match them with the right support for their specific needs.

 

For further details, please contact Corinne Squire at c.squire@uel.ac.uk or Brenda Hayanga, Thomas Coram Research Unit graduate partner, brenda.hayanga.14@ucl.ac.uk . Details are also on the CNR blog https://centrefornarrativeresearch.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/cnr-tcru-october-graduate-seminar-emily-le-roux-rutledge-public-narratives-as-symbolic-resources-for-gender-and-development/ and the CNR website

December TCRU-CNR seminar: ‘Narrated city’

View slides from the seminar here: Rostami, TCRU-CNR graduate seminar December 2019

‘Narrated City’: Using a narrative-ethnographic-grounded approach in urban design studies. A case study from Yazd, Iran

Fatemeh Rostami, University of East London

Tuesday 17th December 2019, 5– 7pm

Library, Thomas Coram Research Unit, 27 – 28 Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AA

All welcome, particularly graduate students.

‘Narrated City’ discusses the outcome of PhD research in the realm of urban design studies. The paper explores how an urban place is related to and imagined by its inhabitants, using Yazd, a traditional Iranian desert city, as a case study. The overall aim of this research was to contribute a new urban methodology in which the social fabrics of cities are truly involved in future urban studies and developments. There is an ongoing discussion amongst Iranian designers and government regarding contemporary urban issues of traditional cities that arise due to the lack of an efficient and accepted urban methodology. Regarding this matter, some research has been done analysing the physical fabrics of the cities.  However, there is a lack of social involvement in that work, for which this research attempts to compensate. To do so, a combination of four inductive social methodologies – case study, grounded theory, ethnography, narrative – was used to analyse the city at different levels, from that of the individual to that of the city itself. The city of Yazd was chosen for this investigation because of its diverse urban morphology composed of historic, old, and new fabrics, which provided opportunities to listen to the voices of residents living in older and contemporary urban places. From each part of the city, a neighbourhood was chosen to be studied in detail. More than 400 residents of these areas participated through interviewing and completing questionnaires. The researcher lived within each community in order to study the place ethnographically. The research findings, the outcome of the combined four inductive social methodologies, show that each area is dominated by a certain circumstance, while there are socio-cultural inter-relationships amongst these areas indicating that residents require the existence of all areas. To hear residents’ opinions regarding the research findings, a public seminar was organized in Yazd. The seminar showed that local inhabitants and professionals, as well as local authorities, agreed with the findings. This research contributes a new urban methodology entitled the ‘narrative- ethnographic-grounded approach’ for the future urban planning and design of traditional Iranian cities.

Fatemeh Rostami is an Iranian native currently living in London. She has recently completed her PhD in architecture (urban design). Presently, she is auditing urban theory and design classes in order to enhance her knowledge of teaching skills. She enjoys travelling and researching so that she can learn more about various local cultures and urban places.

 

For further details, please contact Corinne Squire at c.squire@uel.ac.uk or Carolina Guttierez Munoz, Thomas Coram Research Unit graduate partner, carolina.gutierrez.16@ucl.ac.uk . Details are also on the CNR blog https://centrefornarrativeresearch.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/cnr-tcru-october-graduate-seminar-emily-le-roux-rutledge-public-narratives-as-symbolic-resources-for-gender-and-development/ and the CNR website

TCRU-CNR November 5 2019 seminar: Narratives of fatherhood in family lives in Lahore, Pakistan. Nehaal Bajwa, University of Sussex.

My research, within the field of psycho-social studies, involves six families’ narratives about their everyday lives, fathers’ own biographies and stories from childhood, and observations in these households, as well as personal experiences in Lahore and informal discussions with people on the subject of gender, parenting, family life, and childhood. Central to my approach is a focus on the everyday ‘doing’ of family life (Morgan, 2011) and a belief that families (including fathers) do their best for their children, and have a working (if flexible) concept of what a ‘good childhood’ should look like. Narratives are understood to give fathers’ and families’ everyday practices meaning in the context of their structural environments, both presently and in providing information about the experiences and environments over the life course that inform their contemporary ideas about their family life – Gillis’ ‘families we live by’ (1997). In this paper I will trace space, place, and geography in families’ narratives of their everyday lives to ask what functions ‘space’ performs, or is believed to perform, in shaping practices of fathering, identities, and gendered experiences of family life in Lahore. I will focus on family narratives of ‘[doing it] together’; ‘getting separate’ from or living together with paternal in-laws; the effects that rural life in the village is thought to have on children’s development; the home as environment; gendered space and women’s and girls’ mobility; and the role of the family in mediating the effects of socio-geographical limits.

Gillis, J. R. 1997. A World of Their Own Making: Myth, Ritual, and the Quest for Family Values. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Morgan, D. 2011. Rethinking Family Practices. London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Nehaal Bajwa is a third-year PhD student in the Department of Education at the University of Sussex. Nehaal’s thesis focuses on the narratives and practices of fathering and family life in early childhood in Lahore, a large city in Pakistan.

For further details, please contact Corinne Squire at c.squire@uel.ac.uk or Brenda Hayanga, Thomas Coram Research Unit graduate partner, Brenda.hayanga.14@ucl.ac.uk.

CNR – TCRU: Postgraduate Narrative Research Seminars 2019-2020: UPDATE!         

CNR-TCRU Postgraduate Narrative Research Seminars 2019-2020                        

Organised by the Centre for Narrative Research (CNR), University of East London  

and the Thomas Coram Research Unit (TCRU), UCL Institute of Education                      

All seminars take place at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, 27-28 Woburn Square,

London WC1H 0AA, usually from 5 -6.30pm.

All are welcome, particularly graduate students.

 

October 8: Xu Liu, Sichuan Normal University and UCL Institute of Education, and David Burnett, OCMS College, Oxford. Insider-Outsider: Reflections on cooperative fieldwork in a village in the West of China. *Starting at 5.30pm*

 

November 5: Nehaal Bajwa, University of Sussex. Narratives of fatherhood in family lives in Lahore, Pakistan.

 

December 3: Fatemeh Rostami, UEL. A Place of culture: A narrative-ethnographic-grounded approach for analysing traditional Iranian cities. Case study: Yazd, Iran.

 

February 4: Brenda Hayanga, Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, UCL. The effectiveness and appropriateness of interventions to address social isolation and loneliness in older minoritised people living in the UK. 

 

March 3: Jade Levell, Open University/University of Bournemouth. Competing and changing masculinities in narratives: Findings from research into the life-stories of men who experienced domestic violence in childhood and became involved in gangs.

 

May 5: Jeroen Royal College of Art. We are not ourselves all of the time and we are not all of ourselves at any time: Heteronyms, personas and contemporary art.

 

June 9: Michelle Harewood, University of East London. Speaking without words: silent narratives of Notting Hill Carnival.

 

Seminar details are announced on CNR and TCRU mailing lists two weeks before the seminar date. For more details, please contact Corinne Squire, CNR, c.squire@uel.ac.uk or Brenda Hayanga, Thomas Coram Research Unit graduate partner, brenda.hayanga.14@ucl.ac.uk . Details are also on the CNR blog https://centrefornarrativeresearch.wordpress.com/ and the CNR website

 

Graduate research seminar, TCRU and CNR, 08.10.19

Slides from the seminar:Xu Liu TCRU-CNR postgraduate seminar, October 2019

Insider-Outsider: Reflections on cooperative fieldwork in a village in the West of China

 

Xu Liu, Sichuan Normal University and UCL Institute of Education, and

David Burnett, Sichuan Normal University and OCMS College Oxford.

 

Tuesday 8th October 2019, 5.30 – 7pm

 

Library, Thomas Coram Research Unit, 27 – 28 Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AA

All welcome, particularly graduate students.

 

This presentation is based on reflections and experiences faced during cooperative fieldwork in a village in the south of Sichuan Province, West China by two researchers, one Chinese and the other English. The research has recently been published in a book named after the village, Golden Goose (Palgrave 2019). The researchers explored different aspects of the local culture including government, education, marriage, gender, business, migration, medicine and agriculture. One major theme was how the lives of Chinese peasants have changed during the last 100 years and how this change was understood by the people themselves. The oldest members of the community were not literate and spoke a distinct dialect of Chinese, which required that interviews be translated from the dialect to Mandarin and then to English. This was possible because the Chinese researcher spoke the dialect and was known to the community. We therefore entered the community, one as an ‘insider’ and the other as an ‘outsider’, which had advantages but also some unforeseen difficulties. The narratives of the various individuals were written in a manner that sought to capture the perspective and feelings of each person. Through the research, lessons were learnt about objectivity, integrity, confidentiality and informed consent while undertaking narrative research in intercultural settings.

Xu Liu is an Associate Professor in Education at the Sichuan Normal University in China. She studied for her doctorate at UCL Institute of Education, finishing in 2018. Her research topic was the governance of private universities in China. Xu has published a number of papers in both Chinese and English. She is currently doing post-doctoral research at IOE.

David Burnett gained his PhD from SOAS and has been involved in research projects in social change in Uganda and Ghana. He was invited to be professor of Anthropology at Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu in 2006 where he is now Profesor Emeritus and where he taught Social Anthropology and helped with research projects among the Jiarong Tibetans in Sichuan.  He is the author of several books including Western Civilization: A Study for Chinese Students and Jiarong: Continuity and Change. He retired from SNU in 2013 and now lives in Reading. He continues to supervise PhD students at OCMS college Oxford.

 

For further details, please contact Corinne Squire at c.squire@uel.ac.uk or Carolina Guttierez Munoz, Thomas Coram Research Unit graduate partner, carolina.gutierrez.16@ucl.ac.uk . Details are also on the CNR blog https://centrefornarrativeresearch.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/cnr-tcru-october-graduate-seminar-emily-le-roux-rutledge-public-narratives-as-symbolic-resources-for-gender-and-development/ and the CNR website

CNR – TCRU graduate seminars, 2019-20

CNR-TCRU Postgraduate Narrative Research Seminars, 2019-2020

Organised by Centre for Narrative Research (CNR), University of East London

and Thomas Coram Research Unit (TCRU), UCL Institute of Education

 

All seminars take place at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, 27-28 Woburn Square,

London WC1H 0AA, usually from 5 -6.30pm.

All are welcome, particularly graduate students.

 

October 8: Xu Liu, Sichuan Normal University and UCL Institute of Education, and David Burnett, OCMS College, Oxford. Insider-Outsider: Reflections on cooperative fieldwork in a village in the West of China. *Starting at 5.30pm*

 

November 5: Nehaal Bajwa, University of Sussex. TBA.

 

December 3: Fatemeh Rostami, UEL. Narrated City: Using a narrative-ethnographic-grounded approach in urban design studies. Case study: Yazd, Iran.

 

 

February 4: Brenda Hayanga, Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, UCL. The effectiveness and appropriateness of interventions to address social isolation and loneliness in older minoritised people living in the UK. 

 

March 3: Jade Levell, Open University/University of Bournemouth. Competing and changing masculinities in narratives: Findings from research into the life-stories of men who experienced domestic violence in childhood and became involved in gangs.

 

May 5: Jeroen Royal College of Art. We are not ourselves all of the time and we are not all of ourselves at any time: Heteronyms, personas and contemporary art.

 

June 9: Michelle Harewood, University of East London. Speaking without words: silent narratives of Notting Hill Carnival.

 

Seminar details are announced on CNR and TCRU mailing lists two weeks before the seminar date. For more details, please contact Corinne Squire, CNR, c.squire@uel.ac.uk or Carolina Guttierez Munoz, Thomas Coram Research Unit graduate partner, carolina.gutierrez.16@ucl.ac.uk . Details are also on the CNR blog https://centrefornarrativeresearch.wordpress.com/ and the CNR website