Children's Literature in Critical Contexts of Displacement: Exploring how story and arts-based practices create 'safe spaces' for displaced children

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: College of Social Sciences

Abstract

The proposed network draws together academic partners from different disciplines (arts, humanities and education) along with non-academic partners, to examine and promote the contribution made by children's literature in creating 'safe spaces' for displaced children and their families and for developing relationships between migrants and local communities through arts-based practices. Children's literature (eg traditional tales, picturebooks and poetry) deals with topics such as identity, conflict, resilience and tolerance; in multi-ethnic contexts with fluctuating patterns of migration, these stories and books can become key tools in providing spaces for distraction from anxieties and supporting literacies required by needs and living conditions. In both Egypt and Mexico, the situation regarding displaced children has recently reached critical proportions and spaces for sharing books and learning with displaced children, through children's literature, story- and arts-based activities, have developed in urban and rural areas via government, NGO or volunteer initiatives. Spaces often include different cultures and languages and involve health workers and teachers but also artists, storytellers and musicians. By understanding how these spaces are operating, we can learn about participatory arts-based practices that improve the identification of needs and the implementation of literacies that allow children to participate more fully in more cohesive communities. The proposal was developed through the collaborative partnership between Egypt, Mexico and the UK in order to meet the needs as perceived by the organizations working on the ground, such as the regional sections of IBBY (International Board on Books for Children and Young People), the UNHCR in Cairo and the Mexican Ministry of Culture (Reading promotion programme). It is based on previous national and international research in the UK that approached the needs of migrant children through literacy education, children's literature and integration. CLCCD will also allow participants to identify key areas for future collaboration, research and research training that will address the emotional welfare of the children and inter-community relations, thus aligning with the Middle East and South American regional goals of the UNHCR (2016-2017). The three overlapping phases of activity during the 18 month time-frame focus on relationship-building (through links among academic and non-academic partners); capacity-strengthening (through the development and sharing of best practices and location-specific activities), and international development and outreach (through the production of multimedia resources and KE links with potential partners in other ODA countries). One of the main outcomes will be an overview of current practices and successful strategies involving children's literature along with story and arts-based practices that allows for a comparative perspective. Another outcome will be the creation of strong research links that will form the basis for future exchange and collaboration and which can be expanded, in the first instance, to neighbouring countries (Kenya, Sudan, Yemen, Lebanon, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador). This will include a grounded, ethical and sustainable plan to develop the research capacity of academic staff and students to use arts-based research methods (with children's literature as a base) in ways that are flexible for both researchers and practitioners working in contexts of flux and displacement. By emphasizing a positive and 'hopeful' view of the interplay between literature, art and education, the network seeks to counter negative discourses of migrants that involve stereotypes, racism and educational deficit. The CLCCD network will lay the groundwork for research which is genuinely inter-disciplinary and intercultural and supports and develops the creation of 'safe spaces' for displaced children within more cohesive communities.

Planned Impact

This interdisciplinary network of academics (arts, humanities and education) and children's literature specialists will explore the contribution made by literature and arts-based practices in creating 'safe spaces' for displaced children and their families, beginning with Egypt and Mexico. Beyond the benefits that the network will have for participants from these two countries, the network activities will benefit displaced children and their families as well as local communities by helping to develop relationships through these arts-based practices. Responsibilities for impact will be shared among the PI and Co-Is in UK, Mexico and Egypt, as well as other network partners. Partners will have the opportunity to develop long-term relationships through the network-related activities. Relationship-building, will be carried out through scoping the wider field and specific localities (Cairo and Monterrey), connecting with groups such as school coordinators and community workers. The connections between academic and non-academic partners will be strengthened over the course of the following 2 days in each location during a series of workshops where participants will share best practices, theories, and methodologies. Links will be sustained through wide-access social media (dedicated fb page/Twitter and IBBY International, IBBY-Mexico and EBBY fb pages, twitter and websites as well as the pages for Salas de Lectura (4,000 groups across the country) and the Mexican Ministry Culture blog. The PI and Co-Is will regularly invite our non-academic partners to use these platforms as a way to share their ideas, challenges and experiences in their own sites. We will post on fb and/or twitter at least once a week. Capacity-strengthening is the focus of activities carried out through workshops that will include structured support through presentations of previous projects using story and arts-based activities. They draw on the expertise developed in UK through projects such as Visual Journeys (Literacy Research Association Award 2015) and Journeys from Images to Words (BERA/Routledge Award 2013) with migrant children; through a result of the KE activities in Cairo initiated through the ESRC IAA project; and through the development of a programme for reading groups with migrant and displaced children around the country the Mexican Ministry of Culture currently being rolled out through a team of Ministry of Culture mediators trained by PI Arizpe. Other KE activities will be developed with and for members of the network to identify and address gaps in their educational provision for displaced children. Best practices and arts-based initiatives will be recorded and shared with policy makers in the form of policy briefs. The network activities that focus on expanding international outreach involve sharing a suite of multimedia resources developed throughout the project. These resources will include presentations, discussion and practices recorded during the 4 days of workshops in Mexico and Egypt along with lists of recommended books suitable for displaced children. These resources will be shared with potential partners in other ODA countries especially neighbouring countries (e.g. Kenya, Sudan, Yemen, Lebanon, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador). To address the issue of access to resources, the materials will be available in a number of formats: video recordings (four 20 minute videos with subtitles in two languages, either English and Spanish or English and Arabic), news items or blog posts and once every six months (3 news items/blogs in total plus one AHRC blog) on the webpages mentioned which have high traffic and visibility. The network will broadcast some of the KE activities developed during the network events and will also develop short toolkits (such as "How to" mini-tutorials, "Top 5 Strategies", "An Arts-based Idea") for high circulation and visibility across the social media sites mentioned above.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Through this Network grant, so far we have discovered that although each context of migration and flux is different, some of the basic needs specific to working with displaced children (and their families) are similar. First, mediators from all organizations require not only access to books and other materials but more importantly, the knowledge of which books and resources as best for their context. The request from mediators for advice with the selection of book has led to the development of a small database of books in either Arabic or Spanish, recommended by experts from the International Board on Books for Young Children and others which will appear on the website. Second, we found a variety of strategies were used to engage children with books but the choice of these tended to be intuitive and used by individual mediators. We developed a "Toolkit' which builds on a focused theoretical basis and incorporates activities into clear strategies, allowing mediators to share best practice; again, these Toolkit strategies will be available on the website. We also found there is a need for a more systematic recording of activities and are developing ways in which mediators themselves can document their activities based on a sustainable and ethical way of doing so (to avoid doing any harm to participants). Finally, we have found that academic staff and students are keen to find out more about the work being done with displaced children in their contexts and internationally and are therefore in the process of developing a plan which will strengthen research capacity that includes using children's literature and arts-based methods to carry out research with third-sector partners.
Exploitation Route The website will help to disseminate our findings and the ensuing 'Toolkit' to be put to use by mediators working with displaced children in other countries, particularly Arabic-speaking or Spanish-speaking. There is a space on the website to incorporate feedback and new experiences sent by mediators. We continue to work on dissemination and knowledge exchange and are still gathering impact data. Further funding has just been granted for delivering a workshop and expanding the network to Beirut, Lebanon, with mediators working in the refugee camps.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL http://www.childslitspaces.com
 
Description The findings from the grant obtained so far are being examined and used in four different ways a this stage of the project: First, the responses from the international meetings, workshops and consultations with mediators from third-sector partners, NGOs and government organizations in Mexico and Egypt have led to mapping these organizations and groups within each of the countries involved and scoping their practices in terms of successful strategies of using children's literature and the arts. Second, these responses have led to an examination of how their work more generally creates 'safe spaces' for migrant children. Third, this examination in turn has led to completing a needs analysis for each context (either regional or national) which will allow a better response to the needs of displaced children and their families. Fourth, these findings and best practice, along with analogous work from academic partners and with the work of artists, have been brought together to inform each of the successive workshops and meetings. The data collected and examined includes three strands: the selection of books, the arts-based activities and the ethical documenting of best practice, all of which have been built on to create a 'Mediator's Toolkit', increasing its effectiveness in working with displaced children. This means that successive events have been better tailored to the different geographical contexts involved, taking into consideration the differences in migration patterns and their impact on children. It has also meant that the Network is expanding to other countries where there has been a demand for these workshops, eg from Mexico to Guatemala and including participants from Honduras, NIcaragua, El Salvador and Costa Rica. Academic and third-sector organizations from these Central American countries, along with organizations in Lebanon have also joined the Network, creating more opportunities for exchange and collaboration. Through these new partners, opportunities for a more sustained impact and an impact on policy are also being explored. Initial findings informed a publication by the Mexican Ministry of Culture for reading mediators across that country (available online for free as a pdf: Para leer en contextos adversos y otros espacios emergentes). Most importantly, participants who came to the first set of workshops are now training other mediators, either colleagues within their organization or other organizations in their area. This means the Network is strengthened, knowledge exchange is increasing and is having an impact on new participants. IBBY Mexico continues to use the resources created. Cerlalc (a Unesco Latinamerican organization for the promotion of reading) commissioned us to write a guide for cultural intervention in times of crisis and disaster using our framework and resources (toolkit). This will be published in 2020 and disseminated throughout Latin America. Finally, findings are were used to create an common research agenda for a joint research bid with academic and third-sector partners, resulting a successful work package for Mexico from a new AHRC Network Plus grant (CUSP).
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description Cultural intervention guide in contexts of crisis for CERLALC/OREALC/UNESCO
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description EPSRC-GIAA
Amount £44,925 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S51584X/1 
Organisation University of Glasgow 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2018 
End 03/2019
 
Description AUC Egypt 
Organisation American University in Cairo
Country Egypt 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution A series of workshops were held in AUC in Cairo, delivered between staff from the core partners. UoG expertise and training methods were brought to thses workshops as well as a range of books.
Collaborator Contribution AUC collaborators contributed to the workshops, providing their expertise into the Arabic context of migration and as to the selection of Arabic books for children. They also provided access to facilities (the rooms for the workshops and meetings) and catering.
Impact None yet
Start Year 2017
 
Description CRIM-UNAM 
Organisation Regional Center for Multidisciplinary Research
Country Mexico 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Co-I institution. KE and organization.
Collaborator Contribution Core partners
Impact Collaboration as academic partners for Mexico work package in the successful Network Plus Culture for Sustainable and Inclusive Peace grant (led by Prof Alison Phipps).
Start Year 2017
 
Description Guatemala Universidad Rafael Landivar 
Organisation Rafael Landívar University
Country Guatemala 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Workshop organization
Collaborator Contribution Workshop venue, catering, input to workshop by URL staff
Impact videos of workshop which were uploaded to the website www.childslitspaces.com
Start Year 2019
 
Description IBBY Mexico 
Organisation International Board on Books for Young People
Country Switzerland 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Provided international link and platform with academia within the field, in the UK and Egypt. Knowledge exchange and consultancy. Co-presentation at international IBBY Congress.
Collaborator Contribution Provided another platform for dissemination. Contribution in kind to organization of meeting in Mexico in IBBY Mexico through facilities and catering in premises in Mexico City.
Impact UK and Egyptian research used to inform mediator workshops. Mediation toolkit used in new library space and refugee centres in Tijuana. Collaboration as non-academic partners for Mexico work package in the successful Network Plus Culture for Sustainable and Inclusive Peace grant (led by Prof Alison Phipps).
Start Year 2017
 
Description Secretaria de Cultura 
Organisation Secretariat of Culture
Country Mexico 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Collaboration with the Mexican Ministry of Culture through the Programme Salas de lectura, Leer con migrantes Led workshops in Mexicali and Tijuana for Salas de lectura reading mediators and other organizations working with migrants in these contexts (March 2018) Advice on selection of books for creating sets for mediators. Organization of event ENCUENTRO INTERNACIONAL DE MEDIADORES Y PROMOTORES DE LECTURA EN CONTEXTOS MIGRANTES in Chihuahua, Mexico (November 2018), Team offered presentations about the Network and work carried out so far by Egyptian team. Presentations also offered by new network partners in Central America. Costs of certain items covered by Glasgow team (eg travel, accommodation)
Collaborator Contribution Ministry of Culture, Direccion General de Publicaciones, offered platform for dissemination of Network research and partner work. Funded events in Mexicali, Tijuana and in Chihuahua as well as covering some costs in Mexico City for meetings. Publication and online distribution of book including a chapter that describes the work of the Network so far. Organization of workshop through Alas y Raices for 40 cultural mediators across Mexico led by Evelyn Arizpe.
Impact Videos of workshops for website. Para leer en contextos adversos y otros espacios emergentes (book) published by Secretaria de Cultura
Start Year 2017
 
Description 'Safe Spaces' Workshop in Guatemala 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact 50 people attended a workshop in Guatemala City, in the Rafael Landivar University. The workshop replicated activities from previous workshops in Mexico and Egypt and added new sections led by Dr Magda Garcia, new partner in this University. Reading mediators, artists, third sector professionals and volunteers attended, from Guatemala but also from Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador, with the view of conducting workshops in the future in these countries and expanding the network further.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://idgt.url.edu.gt/inicia-taller-literatura-infantil-lectura-y-espacios-seguros-un-maletin-de-ap...
 
Description Baja California, Mexico, Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Three workshops took place, in Mexicali, Tijuana and San Quintin, Baja California, led by Evelyn Arizpe (PI). Between 50-60 (overall) reading mediators and promoters, librarians, charity workers, government workers from the local and national Ministry of Culture in Mexico, attended the full day workshops on selecting and using children's books in the context of migration and on how to ethically record interactions. There were questions and discussion and attendees provided feedback noting they were more aware of the context and of the ways in which books and arts-based strategies could be used. A facebook group was created for sharing experiences and some mediators later reported sharing the insights of the workshop with colleagues and co-workers: "Lectura con Migrantes BC"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.gob.mx/cultura/prensa/organizan-en-baja-california-taller-de-capacitacion-a-mediadores-d...
 
Description Becoming a Picturebook Mediator 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact The event took place in the Fard Foundation , an NGO that provides humanitarian aid and educational services to the Syrian refugee population in the 6th October City. The participants were provided with training that engaged them in selecting and using picturebooks to work with families and children. Participants were provided with feedback on using the creative strategies for eliciting responses from children.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Event in Chihuahua 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact The event brought together core members of the Network as well as new members from Central America, third-sector partners and reading mediators from different states in Mexico who are working with the programme 'Reading with Migrants'. Presentations different groups were shared, including selected texts and best practices, as well as the challenges of working in complex contexts, such as with the recently arrived 'migrant caravans' from Honduras, and especially with vulnerable children.

Press release and interview in El Heraldo de Chihuahua 6 November 2018 and other news sites: http://www.esucesos.com/espectacular/avanza-el-encuentro-internacional-de-mediadores-y-promotores-de-lectura-en-contextos-migrantes/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://relijibero.wordpress.com/2018/12/03/reunion-en-mexico-de-la-red-internacional-de-investigaci...
 
Description Invited Keynote XI Congreso De la Oralidad a la LIJ: Géneros de la memoria, pioneros y transterrados españoles, Universidad Iberoamerica and Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Invited Keynote XI Congreso De la Oralidad a la LIJ: Géneros de la memoria, pioneros y transterrados españoles, Universidad Iberoamerica and Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City, May 16-17th
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://relijibero.wordpress.com/2019/05/22/gracias-por-acompanarnos-en-el-xi-congreso-de-la-oralida...
 
Description Keynote Conference "Literatura, temas difíciles y espacios educacionales", Chile 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote Conference "Literatura, temas difíciles y espacios educacionales" invited by the Centro de Justicia Educational, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Santiago, Chile, September 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://centrojusticiaeducacional.cl/event/seminario-literatura-temas-dificiles-y-espacios-educaciona...
 
Description Story and Arts-Based Practices for Displaced Children and Young People 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact The event brought together an international group of speakers from Egypt, mexico and the UK to discuss the contribution made by arts based practices in creating safe spaces for displaced children and their families in contexts of flux.

The main outcome was to establish the type of training that would be required for mediators working across third party organisations in Egypt.
The NGOs in attendance were added to the network mailing lists for invitations to future mediation training sessions in Egypt.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.debate.com.mx/cultura/Promueven-Salas-de-Lectura-para-migrantes-en-Egipto-20171222-0335....
 
Description Videoconference for Tabasco 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact One of the mediators who attended the Chihuahua workshops in 2018 organized a local conference in Tabasco with his mediator peers as well as staff and pre service teaching students from the Instituto de Educacion Superior del Magisterio de Tabasco. In the discussion afterwards the resources and toolkit were recommended to students and mediators.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Working group Mexico City new network members 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Two working group sessions were set up in Mexico City to disseminate Network activities so far and to find out about new partner activities as well as to work towards the next steps. In addition to participants from Glasgow and Cairo, attendees included representatives of the Ministry of Culture in Mexico and the Ministry of Education in Chile as well as members of IBBY Mexico and third-sector partners from Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://relijibero.wordpress.com/2018/12/03/reunion-en-mexico-de-la-red-internacional-de-investigaci...
 
Description Workshop "Mediator's Toolkit" at the Centro de Justicia Educational and Biblioteca Escolar Futuro in the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Santiago, Chile 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Workshop with 40 teachers and librarians on "Mediator's Toolkit" at the Centro de Justicia Educational and Biblioteca Escolar Futuro in the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Santiago, Chile.
Use of Toolkit in school libraries.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Workshop for cultural workers 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Alas y Raices section of the Ministry of Culture in Mexico offered a workshop led by Evelyn Arizpe for cultural workers from across the country as well as third sector organizations such as theatre groups working with displaced populations. The audience discussed the ideas and resources and showed an increasing interest and awareness of the issues around cultural work based on picturebooks. The resources and toolkit were made available for them to take back to the cultural centres and other places for cultural events.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.lineadecontraste.com/promueve-alas-y-raices-capacitacion-de-coordinadores-estatales-de-c...