Amidst the widespread media coverage of the refugee crisis that is gripping Europe, it is often easy to overlook some of the very human aspects of the situation. We can easily look at the refugees en masse and forget that they are individuals with individual stories and circumstances, that therefore require individual levels of support to help them rebuild their lives.
So it’s interesting to see a new project that’s headed by the University of Oxford to help academics whose work has been disrupted by having to migrate from their homeland.
The venture, known as the Journal of Interrupted Studies, is the output of a cohort consisting of students and academics from Oxford, Columbia University and Universität zu Köln.
It takes a multidisciplinary approach to support any academic whose work has been disrupted by forced migration, with a particular focus on academics from crisis ridden countries such as Afghanistan, Syria and Eritrea. Students and academics from those countries are encouraged to submit their work to the journal.
“Engaging in this process, we hope to create a conversation in which all participants can shape the discourse, on terms of dignity and mutual respect. We believe academia allows us to to to initiate such a dialogue and in the process create something of value for all parties,” the team say.
Whilst the project is targeted primarily at academics and students with refugee status (as determined by the European Union), they don’t wish to limit authorship to this group, but rather to extend the offer to any academic who has been exiled and cannot return to their homeland, and thus home university, without putting their life at risk.
The aim is very much to give voice to a community that may have been denied it by their circumstances. We’ve seen a few interesting projects to help the refugee community to integrate into western life, but this is undoubtedly one of the more interesting ones.