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Arts For Advocacy: Creative Engagements And Experiences Of Forced Displacement In Morocco

Principal Investigator:

Dr Laura Jeffery

Research Team:

Led by Dr Laura Jeffery (University of Edinburgh), the team consists of researchers from across the humanities and social sciences with experiences in forced displacement, arts-based methods, NGO partnership, knowledge exchange, and capacity building within and beyond the Moroccan context. Through its inclusion of migrants and practitioners in the research process and in the development of research methods, this study builds the research and advocacy capacity of Project Partners. By deploying a multidisciplinary approach, and devising an innovative, participatory method, the project will have economic and societal impacts within and beyond the project's life cycle.

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Overview

This project will develop innovative, interdisciplinary, and participatory arts-based methods to facilitate creative engagement with forced displacement in Morocco. Morocco has become a country of transit and immigration, notably for sub-Saharan migrants fleeing persecution and poverty and for those fleeing conflict and persecution in Syria. Morocco is a strategic partner for the EU in the 'management' of trans-Mediterranean migration. Nevertheless, Morocco has featured little in recent depictions of the 'migration crisis' and has been overlooked by research. In this context, interculturality, migrants' rights, violence, and racism in Morocco urgently require new modes of critical engagement for research oriented towards the generation of new knowledge for policy-making and advocacy alike.
Researchers, practitioners, and activists support the emergent deployment of arts-based methods as social research tools to engage with displaced communities, pointing to the positive contribution and transformative power of creative arts for research and advocacy on forced displacement. However, this growing emphasis on participatory and interdisciplinary artsbased methods is usually limited to the 'global north'. In contrast, this project will adapt this methodological approach in Morocco. Four research questions drive this project:
1. To what extent and how can engagement with creative arts generate fresh insights on displacement in Morocco?
2. To what extent and how can arts-based methods enhance traditional social research on forced displacement?
3. How can engagement with arts disrupt power relations and enable co-production of participatory methods?
4. How can creative participatory methods generate synergies between research, advocacy, and capacity building?

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