Ravi KS Kohli
University of Bedfordshire, UK
For many years I have been trying to understand two things. First, what sense people make of their own migration to a new country. Second, on what they say they bring to that country. As a 10 year old I came to the UK with my family. It’s a country with many colours and shadows, it is a good place to give and receive life. In my research with refugee children, the questions I ask are about how they feel alive in their new countries. And how other people in those countries see them as valuable people over time.
Tampere University, Finland
I am originally a primary school teacher, but now I do research with refugee children and youth. In the past, I have done action research with unaccompanied asylum-seeking girls who lived in a reception centre in Finland. My aim was to understand what ‘children’s participation’ means while in the asylum process. Currently, I also do research with refugee students in schools. What has intrigued me in these studies is how creative children, young people and adults are as they start building their ordinary, day-to-day lives in a new country. I am in this project because I want to learn more about such stories.
Marte Knag Fylkesnes
This project engages and inspires me in many ways. In my childhood and teenage years I lived abroad, and the friends I met both made me feel safe and well at the time and have influenced how I see the world and what is important to me today. Therefore, I look forward to better understand what kinds of relationships contribute to the wellbeing of young people with refugee backgrounds and to bring this knowledge to our local communities, social work practitioners and policy makers. It will also be very exciting to see how engaging with art and meeting with young people over three years can illuminate experiences and aspects of wellbeing that more common research methods, such as questionnaires and interviews, fail to cast light on.
NORCE/Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway
The Drawing together project combines two issues that engage me both professionally and personally; the wellbeing and resilience of young people in adverse situations and how people, individually and collectively, may contribute to each other’s sense of safety, belonging and wellbeing. When doing research on girl soldiers returning to their families and communities in Eastern Congo, I learned much about how integration and wellbeing are influenced by relationships and whether these are characterised by acceptance and care or by fear and prejudice. Now it’s time to explore how young refugees living in Norway experience their relationships and wellbeing when building new lives in Norway.
Migration Institute of Finland
I have been interested in life-worlds of people who live their everyday lives in transnational families; on one hand, experiences of social suffering, illness and insecurity, and on the other hand, endurance, healing and tactics for creating wellbeing and everyday security across national borders. I believe that long-term fieldwork helps us to see temporal changes in the contexts as well as lives of individuals and families. In my research I have often collaborated with people of Somali descent, with history of forced migration. Given my background in the study of religions, lived religion, in particular Islam, is among my research interests.
CELCIS, University of Strathclyde, UK
My research experience has tended to be underpinned by a social justice perspective - whether through helping convey to the Scottish Government the views of victims and survivors of historical childhood abuse in care about the implementation of a financial compensation/redress scheme in Scotland or working on research and policy focused on helping to understand and enhance the lives of others. I am excited to be working on the Drawing Together project that aims, through research and art, to illuminate and learn from the journey that our young refugees have experienced since arriving in Scotland, Norway, and Finland. I am particularly interested in how they have developed their social networks, how those networks have evolved and nurtured aspects of their lives and wellbeing, and how art can help to amplify their individual and collective voice.
CELCIS, University of Strathclyde, UK
The common thread to my work is listening to and working with people who have experienced difficulty, in order to create change together. Underpinning this is the importance of developing real and meaningful relationships – which is what makes the Drawing Together project so exciting. The project’s integration of art and academic research is also hugely appealing as I’m interested in how people use creativity to communicate, build social networks and explore identity. I’m delighted too that my home city of Glasgow has been chosen as part of the project, as the concept of being a ‘welcoming city’ is something that’s woven into the fabric of our culture. There are many fantastic networks and resources for ‘new Scots’ here in Glasgow – many of which I’m fortunate to be part of - that help create the conditions for integration and the enrichment of our city as a whole.
Fath E Mubeen
Migration Institute of Finland / Tampere University, Finland
Immigrant, asylum seeker, woman, student, researcher, hopeful; these are the epithets to which I relate myself by the circumstances I have experienced in my life. I recognize the struggle of people, living a life of diaspora, to sustain a new life in a new country. This has become a source of inspiration for me to deepen my knowledge and illuminate how young refugees - in particular those who arrived as unaccompanied minors - understand wellbeing. Also, to illuminate the extent to which the memories of their previous lives, experiences of current lives and hopes for the future, navigate them toward a healthy and happy state of being. By using forms of creativity, I aim to open up broader discussions to produce counter-narratives that value young refugees’ perspectives and voices.
Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway
My main research focus is on migration, the marginalised and vulnerable populations. My interest in the theory of resilience and other strength-based approaches connect me to the Drawing together project. I have explored what makes young people with refugee backgrounds resilient and how they navigate their way to successful independence in Norway. I have learnt that cultural and relational connections like family and peers, as well as the support by government systems, are key in helping many young people thrive despite adversity. This resonates a lot with me as a migrant worker in Norway. Through this project, I would like to know, in-depth, how young people in Norway navigate their way to building and establishing relationships that play a pivotal role in their lives.
Tampere University, Finland
With a background in artmaking and art teaching, I am greatly interested in the ways that art and story making give young people opportunities to explore and express their identities and experiences. In Australia I have researched how picturebooks made in collaboration with Aboriginal children can give agency in self-representing historical narratives. In Finland I have, as part of a creative working group, organised and run art projects in refugee centres around the country, giving asylum-seeking children and youths the opportunity to share, through storybooks and animations, their stories with the wider community. I am excited to be part of the Drawing Together project, to learn more about how expressive arts can be employed as part of research practice.