UCL Anthropology


Engaging Refugee Narratives: Perspectives from Academia and the Arts

9:30 am, 20 June 2016 to 5:00 pm, 21 June 2016

Foto Helge Hansen

Event Information

Open to



Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) and UCL Anthropology

People make sense of their lives through telling their own stories. These become an essential part of the work of the NGOs and artists as they collaborate with refugees and each other.

The two days of workshops, seminars and performances bring together academics, arts-based NGOs and artists working with refugees. The personal narratives of refugees reveal problems faced as well as sources of resilience and strength. Seminars, workshops and performances explore how the arts can be effective and essential parts of interventions in resettlement and integration for refugees and local societies.

Funded by the Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise Funding, UCL, the event is open to the public. Register to take part in seminars, demonstrations and workshops.

June 20 at the Institute of Advanced Studies

Day 1 - Presentations

9:00 - 9:30 coffee/tea.

9:30 Welcome - Dr Ruth Mandel, Anthropology, UCL

9:45 - 12:45 Academic presentations to include case studies, research on issues related to refugees, their journeys and resettlement, social cohesion and issues related to local societies' reception of refugees.

  • Prof Dawn Chatty, Professor Emeritus, Refugee Studies Center, University of Oxford
  • Dr Maria Pisani, University of Malta
  • Prof Akis Papataxiarchis, Anthropology, University of Lesbos
  • Prof David Napier, Anthropology, UCL
  • Dr Khachig Gasparyan, Medical Psychology Department, Yerevan State Medical University  

Lunch: 13:00 - 14:00

14:00 Welcome - Dr Susan Pattie

14:15 - 17:15 NGO and artist presentations, giving or demonstrating examples of the kinds of work already ongoing within refugee camps and in host societies, enabling settlement and integration.

  • John Johnston, Goldsmiths Arts and Conflict Transformation
  • Ole Hamre and Sissel Saue, Fargespill, Bergen, Norway
  • Christine Bacon, Ice and Fire - Verbatim Theatre
  • Dina Mousawi -Beirut refugee women theater
  • Mike Ayvazian, Theater and visual arts, Beirut, Lebanon

Evening event - venue TBA

Performances and film excerpts by artists working with refugees

  • Ice and Fire - Verbatim Theatre
  • Fargespill - music
  • Phosphorus Theatre - Dear Home Office
  • Helen East with Rick Wilson (zither), storytelling

June 21 at the Department of Anthropology

Day 2: Workshops

9:00 - 10:00 Coffee, tea and informal networking for future collaborations

10:00 - 13:00 Parallel workshops on the kind of work done by the artists and NGOs.

  • John Johnston (visual arts)
  • Fargespill, (music and theatre)
  • Helen East - (storytelling) "Giving voice, shaping story, helping the tale to be heard": a practical story-making workshop with a visual thread. Maximum 10 participants.

Lunch: 13:00 - 14:00

14:00 - 15:00 Further presentations TBA

15:00 - 17:00 Coffee and tea, Critique and Evaluation


Photo credit: Helge Hansen