In early December we were delighted to welcome back our Scottish steering group for the Drawing Together project. The steering group is made up of academics, practitioners and policy professionals from many of the key organisations working to support refugees. We also have our fantastic ambassadors as part of the group, as well as our old friend Catrin Evans, who has recently joined the Citizens Theatre, but is delighted to keep involved in the project in some way.
Sadly, having to meet online rather than in person, we nonetheless had a great discussion about the work of the project to-date, as well as began to consider the potential policy impact of Drawing Together. Whilst as a research team, we are not at the stages of considering our research findings yet, we can still consider the concept of ‘relational wellbeing’ against the existing policy landscape, both in Scotland, the wider UK and internationally.
In Scotland, we’re very proud to be chosen as one of the three Drawing Together countries. Scotland is often viewed as having a progressive policy framework for refugee integration, and, in Glasgow in particular, there is a strong voluntary and community sector that supports refugees. We will consider the efficacy of this policy landscape, and in particular study the New Scots Integration Strategy 2018-22 against the Drawing Together relational wellbeing framework.
This desire to integrate refugees can sometimes feel at odds with the UK policy landscape, where recently the UK Government passed the Nationality and Borders Bill, which has been criticised by the Scottish Refugee Council and others for its intention to criminalise people who arrive in the UK by ‘unofficial routes’.
Thinking internationally, we will also look to analyse the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and how its articles meaningfully support the integration of refugees.
Our steering group will be key to helping us navigate these waters and ensure that Drawing Together can have a lasting impact on refugee policy.