Findings and Achievements

See also:

Networks and Workshops
Large Grants

Small Grants

Professor John Baily
Dr Joanne Carruthers
Dr Sandra Dudley
Dr Ben Highmore
Dr Maria Holt
Dr Maurizio Isabella
Dr Richard Jankowsky
Dr Tania Kaiser
Dr Susan Lok
Professor Harold Mytum
Dr Deirdre Osborne
Dr Kate Pahl
Dr Christer Petley
Dr Aaliyah Rajah-Carrim
Dr Fiona Richards
Dr Nils Roemer
Dr Paola Toninato
Professor Kath Woodward
Dr Hua Zhu

Afghan music in London and its ongoing communications with Kabul and the Afghan Transnational Community
Professor John Baily

Findings and Achievements:

  • Clearer idea of nature of Afghan musical life in London and how London connects with Afghanistan and other parts of the diaspora
  • New theoretical insights emerging about the flow of music as information in a 21st century diasporic context
  • Established important contacts with the Afghan Community Organisation in London
  • Centre of musical creativity has changed from Radio Afghanistan in 1981 to centres in the West, notably USA, Canada and Germany, and also UK through BBC radio programmes accessed by millions of Afghans
  • Importance of dance at concerts given by visiting Afghan artists from North Africa or Germany has emerged as a controversial issue, with groups of young men dancing and sometimes leading to fights between rival groups
  • As well as several concerts, one of the outputs is a film, Scenes of Afghan Music, which includes performances by well-known Afghan singers.  This is the fourth in a series of films made since 2000

 

Materialising exile: material culture and the embodied experience of Karenni refugee-ness
Dr Sandra Dudley

Findings and Achievements:

  • Innovative approach to study of cultural experience of exile; no previous work draws together detailed analysis of forced displacement, identities and material culture to progress understanding of all these themes and their linkages
  • Presentation of research in practitioner publications such as Forced Migration Review enables reflection on more applied possibilities of a material culture-based approach to the experience of exile, as well as a focus on theoretical perspectives represented in more academic publications
  • Three seminars presented, also a public talk, and was also an invited speaker at a symposium on Burma
  • Publications arisen from the project include: sole-authored book, Materialising Exile (Berghahn 2010); book chapter; journal article

 

The spice of life: migrating foods and the sensual experience of diasporic culture
Dr Ben Highmore

Findings and Achievements:

  • One of main achievements has been the project’s international dimension, the research resulting in a symposium in Perth, Australia being organised by a group there, Meals and Migration, which will become an annual event
  • Gave the keynote speech at this inaugural event, the work of which has had direct consequences on migrant life
  • The project brought together work on sensual life and research on migration and diaspora, suggesting that it is not only what you eat that matters, but where you eat and how you eat
  • As a result of a meeting in Montreal, Canada, scholars in this area of research in Canada and Australia are now in contact
  • Conducted workshops in Australia and Canada and gave a series of academic conference papers
  • Two journal articles, one primarily concerned with theory and the other focusing on Indian food in Britain as popular culture have emanated from the project

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Memory, identity and change: a case study of Palestinian refugee women in Lebanon
Dr Maria Holt

Findings and Achievements:

  • The study of Palestinian refugee women in Lebanon is a dynamic subject, and while important studies were carried out in the 70s, 80s and 90s, this research provides much new material, which will be useful both for those seeking a more detailed understanding of the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli “peace process”, and those working on appreciating the lives of Arab women in the 21st century
  • A broad understanding has been gained of the experience of refugee women in Palestine in many different areas, engaging with the narratives, opinions and feelings of the women themselves and contributing to an oral history archive to aid future researchers.  The findings of this research will be donated to the Palestinian oral history archive to be established at Birzeit University in the West Bank
  • The research emanating from the project will make available invaluable resources for future researchers and also for policy-makers in the area of refugees and forced migration
  • Persuaded Foreign Affairs Committee to include making contact with Palestinians in their enquiry into Lebanon in 2007, and have subsequently been invited to arrange a British Parliamentary delegation to visit Palestinian organisations in Lebanon
  • Gave a number papers based on research findings, several of which have subsequently been developed into an articles and published
  • Provided evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee on “Palestinian refugees in Lebanon” which was published in the Committee’s Eight Report, Global Security: the Middle East, August 2007

 

Risorgimento in exile: Italian romantic émigrés and the post-Napoleonic Liberal international
Dr Maurizio Isabella

Findings and Achievements:

  • Analysis of documents and primary sources in the light of recent theories of diaspora and identity has enabled a better understanding of the identity formation process in exile
  • The book resulting from the project ("Risorgimento in Exile", Oxford University Press) argues that the Italian identity developed abroad was hybrid and composite in nature, being as it was the result of a combination of influences and experiences.  Rather than questioning nation states and national identity, early nineteenth century diasporas actually contributed to the creation of ideas of nationhood as hybrid constructions
  • The book engages with other recent publications on Italian national identity and the Risorgimento, and shows that the Risorgimento resulted from a dynamic process of exchange with other cultures and national discourses, and from a series of political and revolutionary experiences in different countries.
  • It provides a new analysis of the relationship between diasporic nationalism and identity in the early nineteenth century, when ideas of patriotism were first conceived in the Mediterranean and in Latin America, and will therefore be relevant to the theoretical dimension of the Programme as well as the thematic one

 

Black spirits, white saints: Sub-Saharan music, spirit possession and the geo-cultural imagination in North Africa
Dr Richard Jankowsky

Findings and Achievements:

  • The project finalised research by Dr Jankowsky on stambeli, the healing music of spirit possession rituals developed by slaves, their descendants, and other displaced sub-Saharans in Tunisia
  • This research emphasized the importance of taking seriously participants’ claims about the agency of spirits.  While ethnomusicologists have largely been interested in the mechanisms and scientific rationales for the production of trance states, the research argues that these assumptions should be set aside in order to facilitate learning about the historical and cultural experience of those studied
  • The two articles produced as an outcome of the project are the first on Tunisian stambeli in the ethnomusicological literature and have been published in leading ethnomusicology journals in the UK and US
  • The main outputs from the project are a book manuscript and audio recording
  • Some of the findings from the research were presented at the Society for Ethnomusicology Annual Conference in November 2006

 

“Golden”: interdisciplinary creative practice and the aesthetics and poetics of leisure and nostalgia in diaspora
Dr Susan Lok

Findings and Achievements:

  • The grant has contributed to the research and documentation of “Golden”, an on-going, multi-stranded practice led project encompassing work across video, sound, installation, net and live media
  • The project and its results will be of value to the research community as an experiment in interdisciplinary, collaborative, creative practice-led research.  Feedback from scholars and peers has been overwhelmingly positive, so it is likely that it will make a considerable impact in the longer term
  • The book which has emanated from the project (“Golden” (Notes) ), aims to offer critically informed, creative elaborations of its themes and motifs, and to contribute and impact upon ideas around the relationship between writing and practice, practice and theory, and practice as research
  • “Golden” has succeeded in initiating and exploring processes of collaboration with fellow-writers/practitioners and curators/editors, and has established and built upon relationships with key independent art organisations in the cultural sector, as well as related communities of artists and audiences
  • Two solo exhibitions at Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester and Beaconsfield, London have been held
  • Guest-edited special issue of JVC “Hong Kong and other Returns” Vol 6, No 3

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Commemoration and Scottish emigration: graveyard memorials, texts and symbols in Ulster, North America and Australia Click here to see photographs from the project
Dr Harold Mytum

Findings and Achievements:

  • This project was a well developed comparative case study of the material culture of diasporas, and has established the application of British graveyard recording methodologies in North America and Australia through the fieldwork conducted there and now being presented in those countries in conferences and leading national journals
  • Data sets larger than those predicted were acquired in all areas, and each data set can be used on its own or for comparative purposes
  • Importance to local communities of graveyards, cemeteries and the monuments they contain is very high.  This work will be of value to management groups in Ulster and Australia.
  • Preliminary results were presented to a major Australian conference in 2007, and collaborative projects on Australian graveyards are planned with University of Sydney colleagues
  • Outcomes of the project include an authored book, several chapters in edited books, and journal article. Invited to a Shannon lecture in History on the subject at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada

 

Inheritors of the diaspora: contemporary Black British drama into the new millennium
Dr Deirdre Osborne

Findings and Achievements:

  • The project aimed to contribute to the development of a critical mass in Black British literature and drama through theorising the field with special attention to contemporary dramatists' work.
  • As a result of initial research invited to speak at several important international conferences which have advanced the objective of interrupting the legacy of disappearance of black people's drama and performance in histories of British theatre through disseminating critical knowledge of the field.
  • Instigated an international conference (creating a convening partnership with Birkbeck, University of London and the Department of Postcolonial Studies, University of Muenster) which considered Black British literature and the Arts from national and international perspectives. Dr Osborne has guest edited a Special Issue on black British women’s writing for Women: A Cultural Review as a result of collaborations arising from this conference.
  • Dr Osborne has presented several papers on the subject, as a result of which she contributed a chapter to R. Victoria Arana’s edited book, “Black” British Aesthetics Today.  An invited paper presented at the University of Muenster, Germany, resulted in a chapter in Hybrid Cultures, Nervous States: Insecurity and Anxiety in Britain and Germany in a (Post)Colonial World.
  • Her edited anthology of previously unpublished plays by black British writers and critical essays, Hidden Gems, has attracted international attention. She organised a panel of black British women’s life writing which built collaboration between Goldsmiths Drama Department and the Stephen Lawrence Centre which promotes the impetus behind the research for this project, that is, to disseminate knowledge about the field of Black British writing – drama, poetry and prose – as widely as possible

 

Artefacts and narratives of migration: Rotherham museum collections and the Pakistani/Kashmiri community of Rotherham
Dr Kate Pahl

Findings and Achievements:

  • This was a collaborative project which investigated narratives of migration as instantiated in artefacts in the homes of families of Pakistani/Kashmiri origin in Rotherham, through interviews with families, including children
  • Interviews provided data of exceptional quality.  Detailed interviews of families in their homes enabled a re-thinking of values such as those instantiated in gold, and a consideration of the nature of specific objects that had different descriptions in Pushto or English, in Pakistan and Rotherham. This has led to the concept of dialogue objects. There was also a focus on lost objects as well as intergenerational objects that continued to hold significance across three generations
  • The artistic product, by Zafir Rafiz has produced a high quality website that could be used by teachers in schools as well as with the local community. Five conference papers have been produced, and two articles have been published, as well as a working paper on the DMI website
  • An exhibition as part of the project was held at Rotherham Art Gallery.  This included cabinets on gold, travel, textiles, children’s toys and a family tree that used the family’s actual front room photograph on which to place the timeline of the family.  Images of the exhibition have been taken by a professional photographer
  • The exhibition was a great success and was well attended. There was extensive press coverage of the opening day in the local press and radio
  • Positive collaborations have taken place across a number of sectors, including between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, and with community partners, including Rotherham Central Sure Start and the project team, as well as the museums sector and the ethnic minority team in Rotherham. There was also a sense of ownership by the families involved in the project

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The identities of slaveholders in the British Atlantic world: a case study of Simon Taylor
Dr Christer Petley

Findings and Achievements:

  • This project has provided an important case study of Simon Taylor, one of the wealthiest and most successful slaveholders of the eighteenth-century British Empire
  • The research sheds important light on the neglected topic of the British defence of slavery and furthers our understanding of how white settlers resisted changing ideas about national identity and empire in the era of abolition
  • The work sheds fresh light on the lives and outlook of men such as Simon Taylor, on the debates about abolition, and on the changes to the British Empire in the years after the American revolution
  • This research is important because British West Indian colonists played a crucial role in determining the timing and nature of abolition, which means that studies of men like Taylor are necessary in order to further our understanding of the histories of slavery and emancipation
  • Furthermore, studies of slave owners have a broader significance: slaveholding shaped Britain and the empire during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and its legacies have had an enduring effect on societies on either side of the Atlantic
  • So far, this project has resulted in the following publication: ‘“Home” and “this country”: Britishness and Creole Identity in the Letters of a Transatlantic Slaveholder’, Atlantic Studies 6/1 (2009): 43-61

 

Creole and technology: building bridges among ethnolinguistic groups in Mauritius
Dr Aaliya Rajah-Carrim

Findings and Achievements:

  • This research makes a significant contribution to the emerging area of sociolinguistics of computer-mediated communication (CMC).  There is very limited work on the impact of CMC on non-standard languages. This timely small-scale case study therefore  enhances our understanding of the interaction between technology and language standardisation.
  • The project has confirmed the importance of Mauritian Creole (MC) as a marker of identity among young Mauritians of different diasporic groups and has shown the potential of new technologies in promoting MC as a written language and in building links among people of diverse origins.
  • It has highlighted the likely role of users in promoting a written form for their language
  • The project is also relevant to Mauritian society for whom issues of language in-education, standardisation and language as a marker of identity are real concerns.  The research has targeted not only experts but crucially users who play a vital role in language planning and standardisation issues
  • A highlight of the award has been the responses, both positive and negative,  to the articles published in the press and online
  • Outputs include two submitted papers to peer-reviewed journals, two articles in the Mauritian press, one report to the Government of Mauritius and three guest lectures

 

The impact of Lutheran migration on music in Australia
Dr Fiona Richards

Findings and Achievements:

  • The project looked at the initial migration of Lutherans from Prussia to Australia, and the effect of the movement of Lutheran missionaries into Aboriginal territory on the cultures and languages of the indigenous peoples they sought to convert.  Although scholars have investigated the history of the German Lutheran migration to Australia, there has been no significant work to date on its impact on Australian music
  • A wealth of unknown materials was discovered relating to this project in the Lutheran Archives in Adelaide, which have been used extensively in an article on the subject
  • A highlight of the project was fieldwork in the Barossa Valley on Lutheran heritage and its continuing survival in churches, vocal music and brass bands
  • Three composers with a strong Lutheran background were studied: Andrew Schultz, Graeme Koehne and Ron Nagorcka; there exist very few examples of scholarly writing on their music, so the project has been able to extend the understanding of the Lutheran music tradition in Australia
  • The most important findings of the project have been the rich and extensive documents that exist, and the work of Andrew Schultz, who is an exceptionally interesting and significant composer
  • Outputs include planned articles on Lutheran influences in the music of Andrew Schultz and on the impact of Lutheran migration on music in Australia.  Several conference papers have been delivered.  An Open University Level 3 course, Words and Music, has a section of teaching material based around the music of Andrew Schultz

 

German Jewish Travelling Cultures, 1919-1939
Professor Nils Roemer

Findings and Achievements:

  • Jewish travelling cultures comprise a varied and important facet of the modern Jewish experience. Travellers’ longings for other cultural spaces did not represent necessarily a desire to move away from their home but facilitated their quest to inscribe and belong to their nations, cultures, cities and modernity on their own terms
  • This project has confirmed the importance of understanding Jewish travelling and its impact on the formation of identities as a vital element of dwelling in a trans-national context
  • The research revealed that travelling was intimately connected with other important aspects of the modern Jewish experience like integration and self-assertion, ideological debates, and gender
  • The findings add significantly to our understanding of the German Jewish experience as well as to our understanding of living in the diaspora. It suggests that longing and belonging are not necessarily in opposition
  • A book-length study of Jewish travelling is planned; two journal articles have been submitted, and four conference papers given

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The making of Gypsy diasporas
Dr Paola Toninato

Findings and Achievements:

  • The project investigates the notion of diaspora among Roma and Sinti (commonly known as ‘Gypsies’) by analysing their own understanding of their origins.  It asks to what extent Romani diasporic discourse mirrors or challenges traditional non-Gypsy representations of Gypsy origins
  • The project findings contribute to raising awareness of an emerging diaspora discourse by Roma and Sinti in Western Europe. By focusing on the complex dynamics of gypsy diaspora politics, the project has revealed the emergence of a public discourse among Romani intellectuals and activists about the origins and the dispersion of their people.   Formal collaborations and networking activities that arose from this project will lead to further research and are likely to have an impact on policies affecting Roma
  • An achievement of the project has been to establish an informal network with organisations aimed at combating racism and promoting Romani culture in Italy. A formal link was established between the University of Verona (where Dr Toninato was offered a visiting Fellowshop) and the University of Warwick . 
  • A number of papers have been presented at several international conferences, as well as workshops both in Italy and the UK 
  • A journal article is planned, as well as a chapter in a book and a dedicated website hosted by the University of Warwick

 

Representing identities: refiguring diaspora in the field of Sport
Professor Kath Woodward

Findings and Achievements:

  • This project used football to explore the emergence of new identities, and has used the idea of diasporic identifications in order to re-think how selves are reconfigured within this field in ways which include some agency on the part of those who are involved, in order to enhance understanding of the processes through which identities can be transformed
  • There has been some resistance to change, notably in the persistence of tokenism, eg in the representation of black players, but transformations are becoming routine in the field of sport
  • The project has involved a re-conceptualising of identity in order to include both the dynamic of change and the possibility of agency through the idea of diasporic identifications which involve accommodations of identity
  • The work has been innovative in its inclusion of sport in the field of study and has provided an important link between culture, politics and the academy
  • Asked to speak on this subject at several events; conference papers given and article published, as well as two chapters in edited books.  Findings have also been disseminated on the blog “Culture, Society, Sport”

 

Duelling languages, duelling values: conversational codeswitching in intergenerational disputes in bilingual immigrant families
Dr Hua Zhu

Findings and Achievements:

  • The project investigated the changes in family values in immigrant communities by focussing on a specific linguistic phenomenon, namely codeswitching – the alternation of language in conversation
  • The research provides new insights into the changes in family values in diasporas and migrant communities, evaluates current theories of intercultural communication and conflict resolution, and contributes to the development of a general theory of the pragmatics of codeswitching
  • The findings help to understand the social, cultural and linguistic practice of immigrant communities, especially Chinese communities, breaks the existing stereotypes about UK Chinese communities and questions the current practice of “labelling” diasporas communities.  By doing so, it facilitates intergenerational and intercultural communication
  • The framework set up in this project will facilitate comparative studies among different diasporas communities in the future and will promote intercultural and/or intergenerational communication understanding, an issue of paramount importance in the current social and political global context
  • Three papers arising from the project have been published in leading international journals, and two papers were presented to an international linguistics conference
  • Links have been established with the Chinese communities in London, Newcastle and Manchester with the aim of facilitating communication between different generations among immigrant communities and that between the Chinese communities and wider communities

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