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Women, Wellbeing and Community

June 2012

This arts based research project was undertaken in partnership with the Regional Refugee Forum North East, Purple Rose Stockton and film maker Janice Haaken. We sought to explore ways of seeing women’s lived experiences, well-being and sense of community in the context of their lives in the Teesside. The research builds upon previous collaborative work on ‘Race, Crime and Justice’ in the North East that was funded by the Ministry of Justice, Durham University, Northumbria and Teesside Universities. 

We used walking, storytelling and visual/photographic and filmic  methods to help make visible asylum seekers, refugees and undocumented women’s lived experiences of living in Middlesbrough, Stockton and Hartlepool and what community and community safety mean to them. Participatory arts (PA) and participatory action research (PAR) methods were used to conduct a critical recovery of women’s lives and experiences. Story walks helped to create individual and collective narratives about what it is like to be a new arrival, an asylum seeker or refugee and for some women a refused asylum seeker. Lacking the papers or the documentation required by officials, asylum seekers rely on their storytelling capacities. Even with fragments of documentation, asylum seekers rely on the power of the stories to move official listeners.

Watch 'Searching for Asylum' on YouTube.


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