School of Education 2021 Webinar Series Report – Migration and Refugee Education


Dr Muir Houston, Deputy Director of CR&DALL opened the webinar, and provided an overview of logistics for the 80+ delegates and panellists. Professor Michael Osborne, Director of Research in the School of Education introduced the webinar and explained that the school had a longstanding and sustained strand of work deriving from language education, and the use of the arts in awareness raising for refugee integration and migration that has grown out of work undertaken over 20 years co-ordinated by Professor Alison Phipps.

He continued that Professor Phipps would speak about a major AHRC project, Researching Multilingually at Borders, which had provided the basis for the UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts which she holds and which the School hosts. Three of the projects that were to be presented lie within the remit of the Chair

The webinar would then move onto the South-South Migration, Inequality and Development Hub, (Migration for Development and Equality (MIDEQ). This is a collaboration with the University of Coventry and many partners around the world, and was established with funding for a major five-year project under the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). This also involved Professor Phipps as well as Dr Giovanna Fassetta, Dr Tawona Sitholé, Dr Gameli Tordzro and Naa Densua Tordzro from the School. Tawona, Gameli and Naa Densua would be jointly presenting.

The third project to be presented concerned Educational Peace Building in Acapulco and Medellin and is funded by the British Academy via the GCRF. Professor Osborne expressed his pleasure that this project was funded since both cities are part of the PASCAL Observatory Learning City Networks, which he oversees, and it is part of the suite of Centre for Research in Adult and Lifelong Learning’s projects. Professor Evelyn Arizpe and Dr Sinead Gormally would speak to this project.

The final presentation would be the embryonic work of the Culture for Sustainable and Inclusive Peace Network Plus (CUSP N+) funded in 2020 by the AHRC again within the GCRF. The network draws together non-academic partners in the UK and in low and middle-income countries who work with people in different artistic and cultural settings to strengthen arts and cultural institutions/organisations so they can become a reference point for the identification and transformation of social conflict. This is also led by Alison, and today Dr Giovanna Fassetta and Dr Maria Grazia Imperiale would present this project.


Researching Multilingually

Professor Alison Phipps presented the work of the Researching Multilingually at Borders project, which was funded with by the AHRC for £2 million over 3 years, and which involved 11 countries, 22 researchers, and led to the production of five in-depth case studies and two hubs. The projects aims were three-fold

  • to research interpreting, translation and multilingual practices in challenging contexts, and,
  • while doing so, to document, describe and evaluate appropriate research methods (traditional and arts based) and develop theoretical approaches for this type of academic exploration.
  • to up end the ‘normal’ routines of academic representation giving control and voice to those normally denied representational power as artists.

She then detailed some of the 500 outputs of the projects, the various challenges that it had faced over its duration, and some of its numerous highlights.


Migration for Development and Equality (MIDEQ)

The presentation of the MIDEQ team took the form of a conversation between Dr Tawona Sitholé and Dr Gameli Tordzro and is replicated below in full.

Gameli: What is MIDEQ?

Tawona: The South South Migration Inequality and Development Hub

G: The MIDEQ Hub unpacks the complex and multi-dimensional relationships between migration and inequality in the context of the Global South. What are MIDEQ’s main aims?

T: MIDEQ aims to transform understanding of the relationship between migration and inequality in the context of the Global South by decentring the production of knowledge about migration and its consequences away from the Global North towards those countries where most migration takes place.

G: Drawing on the experience and expertise of partners across 12 countries, MIDEQ builds an evidence-based understanding of the relationships between migration, inequality and development.

T: And the ultimate aim is to translate this knowledge into concrete policies and practices which improve the lives of migrants, their families and the communities in which they live. But what  challenge MiDEQ tackling?

G: The challenge is that Migration between the countries of the Global South accounts for over a third of all international migration, up to 70% in some places. South-South migration has the potential to reduce poverty and inequality and create opportunities for decent work, in turn contributing to the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals.

T: But this potential has yet to be realised in the Global South:

Inequalities at all levels determine who is (and isn’t) able to migrate, where people move to and the rights and resources that they are able to access

There is a lack of evidence on the relationship between horizontal (social) and vertical (income) inequalities

G: Current development approaches fail to take account of the ways on which migration is influenced by broader economic, political and social processes

T: Existing research focuses on individual countries rather than flows of people, resources and knowledge between origin and destination countries

G: Politicised migration narratives drive policies which are increasingly focused on migration management and border controls

T: Disjointed and top-down policy and legal frameworks dehumanise migrants by focusing on economic outcomes to the neglect of human experiences and well-being

Let’s talk about our team now.

G: Our Team is in delivering the Multilingual Arts, Creative Resistance, Care and Wellbeing Work Package of MIDEQ WP11 But Who Are We?

T: Alison Phipps, Co-I and one of the four Executive Directors of the Hub, Naa Densua Tordzro Research Assistant. Gameli Tordzro and Tawona Sithole Research Associates. We facilitate ‘The Calabash Method’: Co-creation, decentralising production methods, with a focus on process, interaction, transformation for individual, group and community through artistic production sharing and caring through interaction. And so what is our team’s main work?

G: Our Work includes:

Engaging with, presenting, re-presenting and challenging the Global North’s measurement heavy and largely economistic perceptions of South-South Migration. 

Using artistic ways of researching into migration and inequality, and creating environments where human well- being is valued and flourishes as a result of our research and its lasting legacies

Working with the Hub’s creative arts partners like PosNeg and Noyam to reveal hidden dimensions of the relationship between SSM, inequality and development through artistic production, research and knowledge exchange for academic, policy and public audiences.  

Collaborating across the corridors and work packages to facilitate artistic research methods and artistic research as an additional research paradigm in the Hub

What are some of the examples of WP11 work?

T: Leading workshops and documenting the Inception meeting to present a theatrical dance interpretation of south-south migration - Lungulungu Kpordomi with the Noyam African Dance Institute and the music of the Moving Map Animation of the 6 migration corridors.

Literature review

Contributing artistic perspective to the Hub’s Theory of Change

Artistic ways of working through special workshops for the corridors and work packaged

Various documentary films of the Hub’s work

Blog posts on the Hub’s Website

How are we carrying out our work?

G: We carry out our work Multilingually, as a Multi Arts, Multi Genre, Multimodal at Multisite artistic Creations of migratory aesthetics for their own sake, and also using arts as language for research:

demonstrating how the arts and humanities as research practice can intervene in and expand social-scientific frames of reference for research; 

presenting and demonstrating the emerging characteristics of Artistic Research paradigm and how it is well suited for interdisciplinary research which we have developed as part of the Creative Arts And Translation Cultures Hub CATC methods, processes and outputs in Arts and Humanities Research council funded RM Borders project 2014 - 2017

How would you say our work takes the form of creative resistance?

T: Encouraging existing enthusiasm and acceptance of artistic methods and ways of working as part of the multimodality of MiDEQ Hub work Problematising and creating examples of alternative sites of knowledge and understanding within the arts and through artistic research and we do this through multiple processes of decolonising the sites of knowledge and understanding.

What are some of our Creative Arts Methodologies?

Artistic Research Methodologies include a review and expiation of alternate sites and repositories of knowledge and understanding and delves into for example, oral traditions as legitimate repositories of indigenous knowledge we have used these forms to think about consent.

Co-creation though devising and developing an ongoing feedback loop. For example concerning consent, as an  ongoing negotiation and long term development of partnership rather than a single one time relinquishing ownership right and irrevocable permission.

 We work with artistic material rather as data and adopt a value generation and co-creation with research participants and partners rather than a data collection approach

 Let’s give a few examples

T: We have used adinkra symbols and tie-dye making for example, as a creative resource through Naa Densua’s Textiles work as multilingual arts and creative resistance methodologies, approach as an interpretative reference points and for care and wellness.

G: We have used Tawona’s and Alison’s poetry as part of and an illustration of reviewing sites of artistic knowledge and how that shapes our general principles exploring multiple repositories of artistic knowledge and knowledge exchange in research, with a focus on creative making and  sharing

T: We have used Gameli’s film and music making to produce multiple documentation and interpretation of research for sharing and public engagement. For example, Gameli’s music, Azorli Blewu. performed live by the Ha Orchestra is used on the Hubs Moving Map animated film, and musically translates the illustration of the Hubs migration corridors.

There followed a Video of the Moving Map, which describes the project.


Educational Peace Building in Acapulco and Medellin

Professor  Evelyn Arizpe, Dr Sinead Gormally and Dr Alejandro Bahena-Rivera presented the project “Educational Peacebuilding in Medellin and Acapulco: Understanding the role of education, culture and learning in responding to crises”. The goal of the research is to explore the circumstances, policies and practices through which Medellin (Colombia) was able to develop and implement an inclusive, lifelong learning strategy that contributed to the successful reduction in drug-related violence and crime and, through participative methods, to transfer that learning to Acapulco (Mexico).They explained the methods they are using, including desktop research, interviews with key stakeholders, a survey and participatory mapping. Nearly 100 interviews have been carried out across Acapulco and Medellin with a range of participants from various groups ranging from community leaders to young people, politicians and members of the private sector. Evelyn and Sinead referred to the general outcomes of the project which they envision as an Educational Peacebuilding Model, an Index for Transferability of Good Practices and Learning and a Collated vision for the “Acapulco We Want”. Finally, the team shared some of the preliminary findings where they have identified the need for a better identification of the existing cultural and non-formal infrastructure and a stronger engagement between these initiatives and stakeholders engaged in peacebuilding programmes. Dr Jeronimo Castillo from the Fundación Ideas para la Paz in Colombia provided an additional perspectives.

The Culture for Sustainable and Inclusive Peace Network Plus

The Culture for Sustainable and Inclusive Peace Network Plus (PI: Professor Alison Phipps) is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) via the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) within the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Collective Programme. It focuses on strengthening artistic and cultural institutions in Low-and Middle-Income Countries so that they can become a reference point for the identification and transformation of social conflict whilst ensuring equal participation of women and girls in this process. It operates in Ghana, Mexico, Morocco, Palestine, Zimbabwe and the UK, with several academic and non-academic partners. The research is practice-based, grounded in the respect of local knowledges and the integration of contextualised ways of working, including decolonizing methodologies.  In this presentation, Dr Giovanna Fassetta (CUSP Co-I) and Dr Maria Grazia Imperiale (CUSP Academic Coordinator) introduced the project, its aims and overarching approaches, and some of the work of the CUSP Partners. They invited the audience to attend the CUSP Launch Event, on the 8th March, to mark International Women’s Day. During the Launch Event, CUSP would also launch a funding call, which will involve commissioning new research projects to new partners. For more information, they invited participants to visit the project website at 



Mrs Naa Densua Tordzro performed a traditional song to show her enthusiasm and appreciation of the research work that has been conducted by all the panellists on refugee education, migration and peacebuilding. Thereafter followed pre-recorded video greetings from Dr Nazmi Almasri (Islamic University of Gaza) & Nii Tete Yartey (Noyam African Dance Institute, Ghana) concerning their involvement in the CUSP and Researching Multilingually projects. 


Questions and Answers

A number of questions were posed some of which were answered directly online by panellists, including Alison Phipps and Evelyn Arizpe. Other questions we answered during the session

Can you please tell us more about the transferability of good practices from Medellin to Acapulco?

Dr Jeronimo Castillo mentioned that the transferability of good experiences is always a challenge because researchers must consider many contextual elements that play a role in shaping good policies and practices. In Medellin different circumstances and actors have facilitated some improvements, and for example, the urban guerrillas, the demilitarization of groups and peace agreements have been part of the story. We need to consider all these stories and situations to put all the pieces together for possible transferability of practices.

Can you please elaborate more about leadership in the projects, especially regarding the collaboration between the south and the north?

Professor Alison Phipps mentioned that one of the most important pieces of learning is the capacity to listen carefully to the language that researchers use for the multiple roles that they perform. Leadership in projects comes with the responsibility to manage and coordinate different researchers and their specific topics; listening carefully and articulating issues is a substantial responsibility. She mentioned that whilst all the projects must have one Principal Investigator to fulfil the requirements of funders, her understanding of this role and its practices is not the same as leadership. They work with distributed leadership models and follow h’s model, and also based their approach on some of Parker Palmer’s work. In some cases, they have been able to shift PI models and work closely with the AHRC to feed their technical learning of indigenous models of leadership into its thinking. This means the leaders in each case study or corridor are from those contexts. In MIDEQ their work is to ensure a strong shift from a traditional epistemological framework.

How do you ensure that projects such as these and their positive practical outcomes  can continue and do not just become completed pieces of research?

Dr Fassetta mentioned that there is a need to approach all the project partners to listen to their interests and needs at the outset of research. It is also necessary to ensure that what researchers do is consistent with  local partners and their sensitivities to avoid imposing particular ways of doing things. Researchers have to consider many possible issues to make sure that the projects take root in different settings. Finally, sharing capacity and skills building with partners is a very important part of the initiatives. Dr Gameli Tordzro shared his experience with the African Dance Institute where involvement of researchers and their stakeholders constitutes a long-lasting legacy according. Professor Phipps concluded the response to questions by arguing that a good example of good communication is the jacket that she was wearing during the webinar. This jacket was produced by women in one of the communities in which research was carried out. It constitutes an example of understanding the needs and the characteristics of the people that were interacted with in the field.

Dr Muir Houston, responding to the presentations commented that he was particularly struck by the voices of the partners and participants from the global south and beyond and the innovative and creative ways in which these projects worked with the local communities in which the projects were based. He also stressed the emphasis on the bottom-up approach that was adopted in the projects in allowing participants to become co-creators of knowledge and in having a voice in the design and objectives of the projects and agreed with criticisms of the traditional bureaucratic top-down approach often favoured by funders and aid agencies. It was also enjoyable and interesting to watch and learn of the creative ways in which the projects disseminated their outputs through poetry, song, artisanal and craft production and visual aids. And in closing he commented that the artefacts and outputs from these innovative projects will likely have a longer lasting impact on the participants than publications in 4-star journals. 


Professor Osborne thanked all participants for their contributions, and invited everyone to the final webinar of the series on 17 March. A recording by Naa Densua Tordzro and Gameli Tordzro with Scottish Songwriter Karine Polwart, the song A Time Will Come (available as part of the New European Songbook) played out the webinar.



School of Education 2021 Webinar Series

The School of Education at the University of Glasgow, in conjunction with the Centre for Research and Development in Adult and Lifelong Learning (CR&DALL), the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change, and the UNESCO Chair in Refugee Education through Languages and the Arts invites you to our Webinar Series 2021.

The series celebrates the work of our researchers and those they work within these most challenging of times, during which they have continued to make a real difference for society’s most vulnerable and educationally disadvantaged, from local to global levels. This showcase illustrates some of that work and will be presented in 5 webinars using the Zoom platform. It highlights some of our most significant and impactful work during the last decade within each of the main themes of the school: Urban and Place-Based Learning, Collaborative Schooling for Change, Adult Learning and Youth Transitions, Migration and Refugee Education and Ethics, Religion and Values in Education. Each webinar will focus on 3 or 4 projects and will be complemented by reflections by some of our key collaborators around the world, within and beyond the academy.

All are welcome to join us, and details to register are provided. These links provide outlines of the inputs to each webinar. Individuals should register separately for each of the webinars they are interested in, and more details of each event will follow. Full details and instructions for joining will be circulated post-registration and prior to each of the events.





Jan 20, 2021


Urban and Place Based Learning

Feb 3, 2021


Collaborative Schooling for Change

Feb 17, 2021


Adult Learning and Youth Transitions

Mar 3, 2021


Migration and Refugee Education and Ethics

Mar 17, 2021


Religion and Values in Education


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Discussion topics: 

CR&DALL Themes: