Digital Arts for Refugee Engagment (DA-RE) is an exploratory research project using arts-based activities in combination with digital literacy for developing the capabilities of refugee youth in Turkey and Bangladesh.
DARE’s research team brings together expertise in digital literacies, arts, literacy and agency, adult learning and vocational education, with academic partners and community practitioners working with refugee research assistants in Turkey and Bangladesh.
DA-RE’s participants will co-create arts and media and connect and share using digital tools and platforms to narratives from their situated perspectives and lived experiences to develop the skills of engagement and agency in a digital ‘third space’. DARE will explore the links between refugee youths’ own creative agency and digital literacies (in the first space) and opportunities for them to use this capability to access training and education in the host country (the second space).
The project has two centres of activity:
Gate of Sun works with young Syrian refugees on the production of 10 digital artistic projects, delving into the lived experience of the young participants. They work on podcast, animations, short films, blogs, etc to address issues related to their lives as refugees and the interaction with the host community.
Beside the capacity building offered by Gate of Sun to develop their projects, Prof. Bademci facilitates weekly reflection groups meetings for the project participants in which they engage in peer group discussions to reflect on their experiences, feelings and thoughts about living in Turkey.
A safe space is held for the youth and grounding exercises are offered. Reflection groups meetings are experiential with the aim of experiencing oneself from inside out beyond cognition. In the reflection group meetings, a special emphasis is given to explore refugee youth’s needs and expectations from the project to ensure their sense of agency as the project unfolds. Thus, group meetings also serve as a resource for informing the project activities.
The DARE research activities in Bangladesh are going on in the Kutupalang and Balukhali Rohingya refugees camps located in Ukhia, a sub-district of Cox’s Bazar, a Southeastern part of Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh chapter has formed a research team of 15 members: 10 are Rohingya refugee youth who are painters, photographers, youtubers, social media activists, musicians and storytellers in digital format. The remaining 5 include a Rohingya youth research assistant and four anthropology graduates (also they are from the host community) who are trained and skilled in the documentation of refugee art-based activities.
Bangladesh chapter under DARE is looking for understanding Rohingya refugee youth’s digital literacies with good practices in the use of arts-based approaches for learning, narrating and voicing their pains & pleasure, past & future, identity & ethnicity and their articulation of aspiration & the mission of vision of their life.