Following visits to the Calais “Jungle” by Mike Stoddart, Martin Ford and Umit Yildiz in 2016, Action for Refugees was established to coordinate the work of faculty staff on this important social justice issue.
In July 2017, the Faculty and I4P supported a one day conference that brought together academics, activists and members of refugee communities to explore good practice, find out about the challenges of the field, and look to develop work that would make a tangible difference in terms of research and teaching. Attendees praised the opportunity to meet refugees, network with colleagues and the diverse contributions from NGO and academics.
As part of this event, the Dean, Dr Lynette Turner and the Director of I4P, Professor John Diamond committed to support future collaborative work that would ensure all ITT programmes reflected refugee awareness and that the university’s facilities were available to support refugee initiatives.
Staff and students came together in June 2017 to host a group of local refugees on campus, with the support of West Lancashire CVS.
These groups worked together to learn skills in stop-motion animation, and competed in a ‘friendly’ football match using the university’s sports facilities.
The group has expanded to include colleagues across the university’s three faculties, and works collaboratively with student group ‘Global Unity’.
In October Dr Melanie Baak, visiting lecturer at the Glasgow ‘GRAMNET’ refugee project, shared her research on refugee education in Scotland and Australia with a packed audience of staff and students. In December colleagues raised over £100 to support Care4Calais, and donated sleeping bags and warm clothes for the now displaced refugees in Calais. Mike Stoddart updated the faculty on his experience visiting Calais in January 2018.
Future plans include:
- collaborative ‘open days’ to include a focus on wellbeing and team building
- hosting academic specialists in refugee research (funded by I4P)
- research into the accessibility of ITT programmes on campus
- lobbying on bursaries and scholarships available to refugee students at Edge Hill
- working with the Arts centre to welcome refugee theatre on campus
If you would like to find out more about the work of Action for Refugees, please see the group’s blog.