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Ethnographic study and Participatory Action-Research in Non-Formal Education, Artistic experiences and hope: identity issues of displaced children Ashti IDPs Camp, Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, Iraq June to September 2017

Abstract : The ongoing conflicts, political instability and the rise of religious and community radicalism, of which Daesh is the sad stigma, characterize Iraq for many years, especially since the disappearance of the "strong man" Saddam Hussein. Since the summer of 2014, particularly at a time when the Daesh fighters have seized power over a large part of Iraq, population movements have been brisk, displacing more than 3.2 million people within their own country, particularly in northern Iraq. This ethnography studies the experience of the displacement of children and their parents, most of whom have sought refuge in the Ashti camp in Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan, for the past three years. This study aims to question and understand the hopes of these children, through artistic practices in the framework of Non-Formal Education (NFE). Ashti camp is rich in complexity because it is home to different communities: Sunni Arabs, Yazidis, Shabaks and Turkmen. It is the only camp with this originality in Iraqi Kurdistan. The trajectories are varied, the situations and hopes are equally diverse. The camp is a temporary facility that is not intended to be fixed, but it is consolidated over time and protracted conflict situations. What must be an emergency solution; in a reduced time becomes the norm in the margin by integrating processes of installation in a place that is not intended to be one. The camps are becoming a permanent solution as an example in the humanitarian management of these forced exiles. Times are torn between an emergency that remains in need of moving out of an "off-ground" territory in order to be able to find its roots or take root in a social environment that allows these individuals to rethink their possibilities. Lives are often made invisible and shrunk. The times are lengthened, they often reveal long insomnia where the waiting of the great return marks the absence of the lost land. The suffering and victim's posture relayed by the humanitarian environment are the only confirmation of the present reality. Presenteeism then becomes a reality where the "thoughtfulness of exile" gives a presence to the world. How to accompany children as they watch the uprooted future? How can we respond, through education and artistic practices, to this quest for identity in an environment where it cannot take root? Through ethnography and Participatory Action-Research, notably through the conduct of plastic arts workshops in the framework of Non-Formal Education, we explore these children's perception of their future through joint workshops on their dreams (heard hopes). We observe the way in which their exile structures their perception of the past and their future, but also how and why, these children need to tell themselves and their stories through artistic creation. It is a permanent return trip between the future and the past that is taking shape in children's creations. In doing so, we consider both the specificities of the context and the global environment, especially the family environment, in order to understand how children's dreams are shaped by their failures: what they have lost but also what they cannot enjoy in the present. The present and the reality of the camp, which is often undesirable, do not give sufficient cues for imagination to build and develop. We maintain that education, formal or non-formal, especially in these destabilizing contexts, should guide the creative spirit of its children by giving them new possibilities to invent. It is essential to enable them to reflect on otherness and the world, but also to think about who they are and what they wish to become, even for the most extraordinary purpose. Artistic practices, when they exist, only question very little about the concepts of identity, otherness and dream. They often support a formal copying process or a simple playful or decorative aim. Neither institutions, nor international governmental or non-governmental organizations, seem to measure the stakes involved in such reflection. Literature on these specific issues is virtually non-existent. This study therefore wishes to highlight the density of practices and possible interactions in this type of Participatory Action-Research. This ethnography also shows that, in contexts of forced displacement where the past and the future coexist strangely, children abound in imagination and that it is important for the adults around them and the educational agents to help them to build their future in a creative way. It is also intended to lay the groundwork for a more detailed research project that will examine, in particular, the consideration of the identities, hopes and expectations of children by educational entities.
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Contributor : Albane BURIEL Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 10:00:25 AM
Last modification on : Monday, October 19, 2020 - 11:00:07 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 3:16:13 PM


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  • HAL Id : tel-01621986, version 1



Albane Buriel. Ethnographic study and Participatory Action-Research in Non-Formal Education, Artistic experiences and hope: identity issues of displaced children Ashti IDPs Camp, Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, Iraq June to September 2017. Education. Institut des Relations Internationales et Stratégiques, Paris; Institut Bioforce, 2017. English. ⟨tel-01621986⟩



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