I am a political anthropologist at Queen’s University Belfast whose research interests lie at the study of migration and diasporas, conflict-induced displacement, and the politics of memory and loss. Having conducted fieldwork in Cyprus, Greece, the UK, and Turkey, I have published on diverse topics, including the connections between memory and history in the Cypriot conflict, the transnational role of diasporas in peace-building, youth migration and precarity in Southern Europe, music and conflict in Belfast, and the politics of silence and loss in refugee representations.
This article (with Dr Fiona Murphy) focuses ethnographically on creative practices by Syrian artists in Turkey, arguing that unlike in modern art practices, silences in this context of protracted displacement are both results of unequal politics of representation but also tactics of reclaiming identity and artistic integrity, and of maintaining continuities between past, present and future.
I have received (with Dr Fiona Murphy) an ESRC impact acceleration fund (2021) to work closely with art and craft refugee initiatives during Covid, through a project entitled Jump Start: Addressing the impact of COVID19 and lockdown on Syrian refugees working for Knitstanbul and Arthere in Istanbul, Turkey.
In addition to research and engagement, I utilise creative ethnographic methods and questions in the classroom and contributes to pedagogical and educational discussions on creativity. In a forthcoming book chapter (with Dr Fiona Murphy) entitled 'Writing silence through ethnography, intimate and otherwise' (forthcoming 2024 in The Creative Ethnographer’s Notebook edited by Jacobson and Cahnmann), we outline an exercise on how students might conceptualise and write silence in their ethnographic texts. Silence features large in our ethnographic encounters. Nonetheless, it is a challenging endeavour. Students are asked to write a dialogue with an intimate other (real or imagined) to think through the role of silence in writing. The writing of dialogue has many generative possibilities not least that it is an obvious space to reflect on voice/voicelessness. This exercise encourages students to consider whether dialogue is the best way of reflecting on anthropological encounters and narratives or if it also produces other silences.