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Global Engagement Funds Case Study: Europe

Dr Rachel Rosen and Dr Sarah Crafter visited ‘the Jungle’ refugee camp in France to build research collaborations with third sector organisations.

8 February 2018

Dr Rachel Rosen and Dr Sarah Crafter

Lecturer in Childhood / Senior Research Officer, UCL Institute of Education

“It’s hard to put into words how horrible the situation was that we saw people having to survive in, in ‘the Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais, France. It was incredibly moving.

Despite the best efforts of child and adult migrants, as well as third sector organisations, children were slipping through the cracks, being lost and unaccounted for.

Being there made the situation more real, but also gave a sense of resolve that this research was necessary.

We used the Global Engagement Funds for building research collaborations with third sector organisations, ultimately working with the Unofficial Women and Children’s Centre, to explore the everyday realities of children in the Jungle.

Children at a refugee camp in France. Image: iStockphoto…

Due to the precarious nature of the unofficial refugee camp, and organisational concerns about child protection, our plans to pilot photo voice methods were put on hold. Our partners felt that scoping visits which were ethnographic in nature and establishing rapport with child migrants was the priority.

As became clear via our initial interviews and scoping visit, it was important to understand the journeys undertaken by migrant children, both before arriving in Calais and then after, so we included a visit to children who had crossed into the UK via lorries or other means.

In particular, we found that understanding life in the camp was not possible without a holistic view of these journeys and the appeal of the UK as a destination for many young migrants.

In November, we held a meeting with our global partners, as well as 12 other academics and third sector organisations. This funding was essential for the development of relationships between ourselves and different partners.

Through dissemination of outputs, this project is growing UCL’s profile and increasing public and student knowledge of the complexity of global migration, and children’s place within it.”