Over the past three years I have been involved in several civic engagement projects associated with the archival collections that we hold at the University of East London.
Details of successful 2017 civic engagement projects will be updated here in due course.
Past civic engagement projects have included:
Democratic Access or Privileged Exclusion: Civic Engagement through the Preservation and Access to Refugee Archives.
This project ran in the first half of 2015 as a result of a successful bid to the University of East London’s civic engagement fund. The aim of this project was to consider whether refugee archives are well-represented in relation to the preservation and the lived experiences of refugees and if not, to consider why. This project therefore aimed to engage with local communities through the collection of oral history recordings and the launch of the Living Refugee Archive.
Further Details – www.livingrefugeearchive.org/
Performing the Archive: Living Narratives and the Politics of Performance,
This was a second project funded by the UEL Civic Engagement Fund. As part of a year long module investgating themes associated with the Politics of Memory and Performance,’ the students were tasked in the second half of the course to develop their own performance pieces on the theme of ‘Performaing the Archive.’ The concept being that the students would be able to explore archival collections and be encouraged to discover the breadth and range of narratives held within these collections and then to create their own pieces of performance theatre based upon the narratives they had discovered.
The project outcome was a public performance of the series of unique theatrical pieces created by the students based upon archival narratives. This resulted in a rich mix of theatrical pieces including “The Gallery, The Story, The Audio Space”; “C.A.S.T”; “the Birongona”; and “Ancestory.”
The full live public show of `Performing the Archive’ is available online via YouTube as follows: www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLjQvOZdnjo
Refugee Mental Health and Wellbeing Project.
The Refugee Mental Health and Wellbeing Portal for Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Mental Health Professionals was a collaborative civic engagement project between the UEL School of Psychology, The Refugee Council Archive at UEL and external researchers.
The aim of this project was to establish an online portal to be used as a first stop resource to enable mental health and social care professionals, community organisations, third sector organisations and refugees themselves to easily access peer-reviewed resources and practical tools, many of which have not been previously accessible in one place. These resources have been produced and developed by health care practitioners, international and national organisations and academic and research bodies, with experience and expert knowledge of working with refugees and asylum seekers.
The portal can be accessed at: http://refugeementalhealthportal.org.uk