Diasporas, Migration and Identities: Crossing borders, disciplines and boundaries

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Sch of Theology & Religious Studies

Abstract

Diasporas, Migration and Identities' (DMI) is the first autonomous strategic research programme to have been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (£6.3mil). It was launched in January 2005 and will draw to a close in the spring of 2010. It includes forty-nine projects: small individual grants, workshops and networks, and large collaborative ventures. It has been managed by a half-time director (Kim Knott), half-time administrator (Katie Roche) and steering committee, and has organised events for award holders and researchers, conferences, seminars and meetings for both academics and non-academics, and a website (www.diasporas.ac.uk). A Programme Specification, available from the website, sets out the programme focus, themes, priorities, schemes and objectives.

This Director's Impact Fellowship will ensure the legacy and impact of the DMI Programme. It will enable the director to consolidate the outputs generated by the projects, to examine their advances, analyse their interconnections, and disseminate these through publications, events, the DMI website and impact blog. By these means the director will continue to publicise the whole programme and its individual projects to academic and non-academic constituencies.

Fellowship research and outputs are expected to be of interest to the following academic constituencies: an international multi-disciplinary audience in the arts and humanities and social sciences working on diasporas, migration and identities, including postgraduates; academics who have been involved directly in the programme as award holders and researchers; and academics and managers with an interest in HE research, KT, impact, research methodology, and research funding. In terms of wider outreach and impact, the focus will be on three sectors: museums and galleries (those involved in research, diversity policy, access and collections); policy makers and those who work with them in think-tanks and trusts (with particular rference to diasporas, migration, diversity and equality, social cohesion, cultural policy, race, ethnicity and religion); and community organisations and those that provide information and activities for local communities, e.g. libraries, local museums.

The period of the fellowship will be used to produce the following outputs.

- A book by the director ('Researching Diasporas'), based on interviews and expert workshops with award holders and researchers, and a critical review and analysis of project outputs in light of existing DMI research and the Director's own research interests and expertise;
- A journal article bringing together findings from across the programme, for the journal 'South Asian Diasporas';
- Papers at international conferences, plus dissemination at international meetings;
- A web-based glossary of key concepts, theories and methods developed in association with the programme;
- Two dissemination events with key stakeholders (National Maritime Museum, Runnymede Trust); and a final impact event (at Tate Britain);
- A toolkit of resources developed within the programme, to be trialled at two community workshops and placed on DMI website;
- Web-based podcast interviews on the programme's strategic partnerships;
- Updating and maintenance of DMI website and diasporas impact blog; sustainability strategy.

The fellowship will last for eleven months (from 1/10/10) with 90% of the director's time dedicated to research, writing and impact activities. The programme administrator will be retained (20%) to organise interviews, workshops and events, and to maintain and update the website. A research assistant (20%) will be employed to assist in collating and reviewing project publications and reports, and to develop the glossary and postgraduate webpage and links. Both will be managed by the director. Project consultants will assist in developing practical resources for the toolkit. An Advisory Board will offer advice and support.

Planned Impact

The Diasporas, Migration and Identities Programme (DMI) has a wide range of collaborating partners and relationships with research participants and stakeholders. A key aim of the fellowship is to keep them informed whilst continuing to work with selected bodies where there are clear mutual interests and possibilities for significant impact. The e-list and website will remain the principal mechanisms for keeping people informed about the programme and its findings. The Diasporas Impact blog will be the main vehicle for monitoring and logging the ongoing impacts of the programme's many projects.

There will be a focus on three broad constituencies during the period of the impact fellowship, though in practice the approach will be selective.

a) the museums and galleries sector (those involved in research, diversity policy, access and collections)
b) policy makers and those who work with them in think-tanks and trusts (with particular reference to the areas of diasporas, migration, diversity and equality, social cohesion, cultural policy, race, ethnicity and religion)
c) community organisations and those that provide information and activities for local communities, e.g. libraries, local museums.

A dissemination event for representatives from museums and galleries will be held jointly with the National Maritime Museum in order both to present the programme and to explore how this research - and academic research more generally - can dovetail with, enhance or add value to the work of the sector. A similar event will be held in conjunction with the Runnymede Trust for those involved in policy-related research and the formulation of DMI-relevant policy. In addition to drawing attention to relevant findings, the aim will be to consider the possibilities for engaged research in DMI and its adjacent policy areas, and good practice for policy-related research in the arts and humanities more generally.

During the course of the DMI programme a number of practical tools have been developed by researchers, principally for use in their own research projects, but often in the knowledge that they might have a use beyond the end of the project. These include activities for children focused on the experience of living transnational lives and on storytelling through family objects that can be used in schools or community organisations, and resources for people of all ages who want to reflect on and understand more about their migration journeys and diasporic lives through mapping, performance and other creative arts. A key objective of the fellowship will be to identify key tools developed within the programme and to work with researchers to trial these in two community workshops (co-hosted with local community organisations) before placing them on the website and publicising them for wider use. There will be an immediate benefit for those who attend the workshops, but a longer-term one for those able to use the toolkit for community development or educational purposes, or just for fun. Ensuring that the toolkit is easily accessible via the website and wider publicised to relevant community and public organisations will be essential and advice will be taken on the most effective means of doing this.

A final roundtable event will be held (at Tate Britain) in conjunction with AHRC to consider social, cultural and economic impact as a common multi-agency concern, the main beneficiaries of which are intended to be those in the public sector, including higher education and the research councils.



Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Findings were developed into student and teacher resources, and used in history, geography, citizenship education and religious education classes. Since 2015, information gathered and resources developed as part of this project have contributed to new communications products (training guides and short reads) for practitioners working in security and intelligence, and in government policy making.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Education,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Moving People, Changing Places 
Organisation Citizenship Foundation
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Website and teacher resources
Start Year 2011
 
Description Moving People, Changing Places 
Organisation Runnymede Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The Runnymede Trust: Provision of venue and facilitation of outreach and dissemination
Start Year 2011
 
Description Sacred Objects collaboration 
Organisation National Maritime Museum
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution A collaboration between the AHRC Diasporas, Migration and Identities Programme and the National Maritime Museum to co-organise a workshop for museum curators and educators in London and academics working on diasporas.
Start Year 2010
 
Description Debating Matters 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Institute of Ideas Debating Matters. Schools debating competition. Judge in local, regional and national rounds and finals

Giving feedback to young people on their ability to communicate difficult information under pressure.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011,2012,2013
 
Description Religion, migration and integration keynote lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Keynote lecture at a conference on 'Integrating Religious Communities' organised by the International Organisation of Migration (IOM)

The keynote slides were made available, and a report of the session was written and circulated by IOM
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Schools workshops: Moving People, Changing Places 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Is Croydon Racist? Generation 3.0: A pop-up shop in Croydon run by the Runnymede Trust to which I contributed workshops.

Website and associated booklet were launched.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Sensitive Objects: A Collaborative Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation workshop facilitator
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Migration, exploration, travel and colonial settlement have led to the acquisition and circulation of historical objects many of which are now held in museums or private collections. Although many of these are mundane or common items that, whilst interesting, are uncontroversial, others are held to be sacred or of special importance by indigenous or diasporic communities from other parts of the world. At times such objects may arouse strong interest, even calls for their repatriation, special treatment or redesignation. They may take on new significance or meaning in the museum. Curators and researchers may be required to rethink their understanding and treatment of such objects. Sensitivity may be required to negotiate acceptable resolutions.



This workshop, which brought together people from London museums with academics working on diasporas, provided an opportunity to exchange ideas about the sensitivities surrounding museum and other historical artefacts.

Participants learnt from one another's experience of handling and exhibiting sacred objects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Spaces of diversity and encounter: Method, agenda setting and policy interventions 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Critical Thinkers in Religion, Law and Policy Public lecture, University of Ottawa

None in particular
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Westminster Faith Debates 2012: Religious identities in superdiverse societies 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Contribution to the debate on Religious identities in superdiverse societies, February 2012.

The video and materials associated with this debate has been used in conjunction with A level Religious Studies curriculum developments.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://faithdebates.org.uk/debates/2012-debates/religion-and-public-life/religious_identity_in_super...