Transnational Communities: towards a sense of belonging

Project start date: 2007-10 Project end date: 2008-12
Using both participatory action research and arts practice the project explored a sense of belonging, place and emplacement with four transnational communities who are defined as refugees/asylum seekers/undocumented people (in Derby, Leicester, Loughborough and Nottingham). The Long Journey Home artists in exile group based in Nottingham explored these themes and created a series of works for exhibition. Other regional universities supported us with; exhibition space, staff support, supporting artists and communities. The exhibition documents the rich cultural contributions refugees and asylum seekers bring to cities and communities as well as interrogating concepts such as belonging, place, emplacement and mobility. In our work together we operationalised the concept of 'community of practice'(Wenger) and achieved the following: a) realised the potential of our separate and combined research by enhancing relationships between the partners; b)cemented collaboration between the partner organisations; c) explored the role of art in social research and in processes of social change. Working with ethnographic methods, participatory action research and participatory arts the partners took forward the key aims of the regional network [also funded by the AHRC], namely: i) enhancing the lives of recent arrivals in the East Midlands; ii)stimulating both high-quality inter-disciplinary research and the production of art works; iii) facilitating connection, communication and engagement with public policy; and iv) contributing to public awareness of the issues facing asylum seekers and refugees in the East Midlands.
Methods usedCategory
2d scanning and photographyData capture
Collaborative publishingData publishing and dissemination
CollatingData analysis
CurationStrategy and project management
DocumentationStrategy and project management
General project managementStrategy and project management
General website developmentData publishing and dissemination
Manual input and transcriptionData capture
Resource sharingCommunication and collaboration
Risk managementStrategy and project management
Sound analysisData analysis
Sound recordingData capture
Use of existing digital dataData capture
Funding sources: 
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Atrts Council England
Content types created: 
Software tools used: 
Source material used:  
Photographs, sound files [recording of interviews, conversations, the walking event], digital video.
Digital resource created:  
Art created by the project participants was shared on University web-site, Flickr, YouTube, and ZoomShare.
Access to digital resource:  
Open Access
Data Formats created: 
Maggie O'Neill, Kevin Ryan, Phil Hubbard,Charnwood Arts, Soft Touch, Nottingham City Arts, the Long Journey Home artists, Gaylan Nazhad, Aria Ahmed, Jeffer M-Garib, Jasim Ghafur,Obedier Madziva, Emmanuel Changunda and artists Paul Gent, Rosie Hobbs,Heather Connelly, Tove Dalenius and Senkal Yaami. 'A sense of belonging: trans national communities, arts, migration and Diaspora'. Loughborough: Charnwood Arts, 2010. ISBN 978-1-903947-29-6
Maggie O’Neill, M. 'Asylum, Migration and Community'Bristol: Policy Press, 2010.
Maggie O'Neill, & Phil Hubbard, P. Walking, Sensing, Belonging: ethnomimesis as performative praxis. Visual Studies 25(1): 46-58. (2010)
Maggie O'Neill, Making Connections: Ethno-mimesis, Migration and Diaspora. Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society 14(3) (2009): 289-302.
Maggie O'Neill. Making Connections: Arts, Migration and Diaspora. in Crossings:journal of migration and culture - a special edition on 'The Arts of Migration:Politics, Policy and Participatory Action Research'(forthcoming Feb 2011)

Institutions affiliated with this project: 

UK HE institutions involved:
Derby University
Loughborough University
Nottingham Trent University
University of Nottingham
Other institutions involved:
Charnwood Arts
Nottingham City Arts
Soft Touch Arts Co-operative
the Long Journey Home

Project staff and expertise: 

Principal staff member:Dr Maggie ONeill, Prof. Phil Hubbard
Other staff:Computing officer(s) / Technical supporter(s)
External expertise:Kevin Ryan, Charnwood Arts, Andrew Lake, Loughborough Youth Affairs, John Perivolaris photographer who curated the exhibition, Jamie Bird SL Therapeutic Arts contributed to the project

Metadata on this record
Author(s) of recordMaggie ONeill
TitleTransnational Communities: towards a sense of belonging
Record created2010-11-22
Record updated2010-11-22 14:05
URL of record
Citation of recordMaggie ONeill: Transnational Communities: towards a sense of belonging. <> created: 2010-11-22, last updated 2010-11-22 14:05
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