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ESR13 Expanding & Evolving Education Resources of Refugees: From Camp to Resettlement

PhD project title

Expanding & Evolving Education Resources of Refugees: From Camp to Resettlement

Outline description, including interdisciplinary, intersectoral and international dimensions (300 words max)

There is an increasing amount of displacement and migration across national boundaries due to conflict, natural disasters and persecution. Displaced persons seeking asylum can reside in refugee camps for years, lacking sufficient resources – including education. Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states “everyone has the right to education,” yet this isn’t equally applied. Citizenship status questions create barriers to enrolment, participation and resource disparity, leading to gaps in education for refugees. However, an emerging creative industry is beginning to fill these knowledge gaps. A 2016 UNHCR study across 44 countries, entitled “Connected Refugees,” revealed increasing numbers of refugees carried mobile phones and considered this resource as necessary as shelter and food. It’s a critical lifeline for self-empowerment, enabling them to document experiences, facilitate communication and even use as an educational tool. Governments and organizations have begun sponsoring tech innovations designed by, with and for refugees which cater to their educational needs (e.g. the Norwegian Government and Techfugees). This development begs the question: how do different types of education resources available to a refugee group impact on their resettlement or reintegration?

Using educational and anthropological theories alongside emerging digital media migration studies (Mancini et al., 2019), the candidate will explore how and what educational resources have been utilized by refugees throughout their migration experience. It will compare the educational experiences of a variety of refugee groups in different stages of migration (Syrian, Rohingya and Palestinian), surveying the educational resources offered/distributed by private, voluntary or non-profit groups and the usage of digital technology for learning (e.g. Duolingo and new education apps). A qualitative study of these experiences will allow greater understanding of the capacity building potential of educational resources and for assessment of impact on resettlement and inclusion into society. With this information, need-specific applications will be possible.

Key words/descriptors



Education, Digital Technology, Digital Media Migration, Resettlement, Resources, Integration


Fit to CITI-GENS theme(s)

Information Technology: Information Technology will be incorporated into the project throughout the study. It will aid in the recording of data and the mapping of resources (utilizing GIS). A netnography, or online ethnographic research and assessment, will further incorporate electronic data and allow for connections with participants around the globe. Thus, through methodology, this theme is incorporated in the proposed PhD. Furthermore, in order to disseminate information on educational resources to IDPs, a practical element in the final year of the project will be the collation of an online data base of educational resources or an educational app to fill gaps revealed in the study. This would involve developing the necessary skill sets throughout the PhD period. The goal would be to develop an app which works across platforms (Windows, iOS, & Android) with HTML5 so it can be utilized no matter the device and reach as many as possible. Content creation would include audio and videos (edited via FinalCut Pro) designed to engage users as they learn.

Furthermore, the practical application of the knowledge gained will involve direct interaction with the creative industries as I work to create an engaging resource for the study groups.

Supervisor Information



First Supervisor:          Alison MacKenzie                                                              School: SSESW

Second Supervisor:       Fiona Murphy                                                                  School: HAPP


Name of non-HEI partner(s)

Africa House (NI)

Contribution of non-HEI partner(s) to the project:



The exact nature of the partnership is still under discussion; however the PhD candidate will gain connections, experience and a space in which to work to empower refugees with the development of educational resources catering to identified needs.


 Profile of the non-HEI partner and the nature of the relationship.    


Africa House (NI) works to support and facilitate positive integration of African families and individuals into Northern Irish society without prejudice to status, tribe, gender, nationality or faith. Through their diverse initiatives and activities that encompass social, cultural and business development, they seek to build common purpose and community. Its membership represents various African diaspora organisations, individuals and those committed to the enhancement of the African community’s successful intercultural integration. Africa House (NI) is an inclusive and equitable registered charity whose work also encompasses awareness and educational support projects for adults and children. The candidate would volunteer with the organization and be provided with practical knowledge of work supporting integration and inclusion of ethnic minorities in Northern Irish society.

Subject area

Conflict Transformation & Social Justice