We are really troubled with what is happening in the world in relation to displaced peoples and asylum seekers. At this moment, we are particularly thinking of Ukrainian and Afghan refugees and asylum seekers. More broadly, 1 in every 113 people in the world currently cannot go home. That’s over 65 million displaced people. More people have been driven from their homes due to wars and persecution now than at any time since United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ records began (post WWII).

Here at Dulwich Centre Foundation we are trying to find local ways to respond to this crisis and we are seeking collaborators. If any of the following projects are relevant to you, we’d love to hear from you

Acknowledging the work of colleagues in Poland, Romania and Iran & Pakistan  

At this time, we are wanting to acknowledge colleagues in Poland and Romania responding to Ukrainian refugees and in Iran and Pakistan who are responding to Afghan refugees. During the height of Syrian refugee crisis, communities and colleagues in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Germany and Greece were among those responding to the largest numbers of Syrian families who were seeking safety. We can include here three paper from Greek narrative practitioners about their work with Syrian families. 

Three papers from Greek narrative practitioners:

Narrative Responses to Trauma: Bringing back Agency— Apostolinas Panagiotis

Bringing narrative ideas and practices into working with a torture survivor. The journey of Melina and Wahid. A story of co-research and mutual acknowledgment— Angeliki Karydi

Narrative responses to asylum crisis— Dimitra Panta

Developing culturally appropriate and context appropriate forms of practice

The profound hardships that asylum seekers/refugees experience (both in their country of origin and sometimes also in places where they are seeking safety) can have many effects on people’s ‘mental health’ and on family relationships. We are interested in supporting refugees to respond, in culturally appropriate ways, to their own families, friends and communities. How can we develop forms of practice that are relevant to those seeking asylum? Narrative practitioners in a range of contexts are trying to develop culturally and contextually appropriate approaches. Palestinian narrative practitioners have developed a range of forms of practice to respond to what they call ‘Continuous and imminent trauma’ (in contrast to dominant western psychological understandings of ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’). In collaboration with the Tamil community in Toronto, a narrative methodology based on the metaphor of Kite flying was developed to strengthen inter-generational relations. In other contexts, some workers have only limited time to meet with asylum seekers in way-stations, refuges, or camps. In response to these contexts, Poh Lin Lee has described the significance of ‘Making now precious’. The Team of Life narrative approach is a cross-cultural invention originally developed for assisting young Ugandan refugees who had been formally involved in war as child soldiers. Ncazelo Ncube-Mlilo has been involved in the Suitcase Project which uses journey metaphors with child refugees, while the Tree of Life has been engaged with refugees in a range of contexts.  Collective narrative documentationtimelines and definitional ceremonies are also being engaged with in a range of contexts. In coming months, we will include on our website examples from practitioners and communities who are developing culturally appropriate and context appropriate forms of practice.

The moral maze of refugees and immigration

Political philosopher Joseph Carens explores what is our moral obligation to people in search of a better life? To listen to his talk via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, click here

An invitation to you

If you are interested in collaborating in responses to those seeking refuge please contact us c/o  dulwich@dulwichcentre.com.au