researchers

Ravi KS Kohli

Project leader
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.

Mervi Kaukko

Project manager
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

NORCE, Norway
 

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.

Milfrid Tonheim​

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.

Marja Tiilikainen

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.  

Catrin Evans

University of Bedfordshire, UK

 As well as being a researcher, I am a theatre-maker. I specialise in arts projects where I collaborate with communities, and over the last 15 years I have been deeply involved in creating performance work with individuals navigating the asylum system. I love how the arts and social sciences mingle to help reveal fresh understanding(s) of what it means to be human in a complex world, and how arts-based research can pave the way for imagining and realising personal and political change. At heart, my work is about social justice.  In this project I hope we upend binary portrayals of young refugees as exceptional problems or exceptional successes, and I look forward to bringing into view the fundamental importance of relationality, reciprocity and networks of mutual care.   

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.  

Masego Katisi

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. 

Nick Haswell

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.       

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Participating institutions

This project is funded by NordForsk Joint Nordic-UK research programme on Migration and Integration

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