The Manchester Refugee Support Network archive: A right to history

You might think there is something contradictory about a refugee archive: archives are the permanent repositories of physical history, whilst refugees are transitory and homeless – those who have lost their history.

But the archive of the Manchester Refugee Support Network (MRSN), recently deposited with us following completion of a major heritage project, challenges this assumption. Not least in the sheer amount of material; 12 boxes of physical material and more than 30,000 digital files, charting the 20 year history of this remarkable organisation. From governance, services and partnerships to cultural programmes (such as the Refugee World Cup and Manchester Refugee Cultural Festival), campaigning activities and the many community organisations that made up the network.

photograph of archive items in a display case, including Manchester Refugee Cultural Festival brochure and te How to set up a Refugee Organisation guidebookBuilding this archive and depositing it with us, here at Central Library, creates permanence and acceptance, carving out a place in history for Manchester’s many refugee communities. Continue reading

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The Refugee Experience Book Reviews: Bad News for Refugees

With the Syrian refugee crisis dominating the news at the moment, Jo Manby has been looking back at her archive for reviews of books, available in our library, that look at the refugee experience. Read the others here and here.

This review is adapted from an original piece published in the Centre’s journal Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World.

Book review: Bad News for Refugees by Greg Philo, Emma Briant & Pauline Donald (Pluto Press: London; Palgrave MacMillan: New York, 2013)

A forensic examination of the media coverage of refugees and asylum seekers in the United Kingdom and the negative effects this has not only on the public’s perceptions of these groups, but on the everyday lives of immigrants, both new and established. Alternative perspectives are delineated, and the study is aimed at those concerned with the consequences of misleading media accounts on vulnerable communities in British society.

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The Refugee Experience Book Reviews: Educated for Change?

With the Syrian refugee crisis dominating the news at the moment, Jo Manby has been looking back at her archive for reviews of books, available in our library, that look at the refugee experience. Read the others here and here.

This review is adapted from an original piece published in the Centre’s journal Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World.

Book review: Educated for Change? Muslim Refugee Women in the West by Patricia Buck and Rachel Silver (Information Age Publishing, Inc.: Charlotte, North Carolina, 2012)

An unexpected outcome of war and migration has been an increase in Somali girls’ and women’s educational opportunities, when historically their literacy levels have been ‘among the lowest in the world’ (United Nations Development Programme [UNDP], 1998) (p.xv). Authored by Patricia Buck and Rachel Silver, co-founders of Matawi, a nonprofit NGO that works to increase educational opportunities for girls and women from the predominantly Somali Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, this anthropological work examines the impact of ‘new-found access to schooling ….. in the everyday lives of Somali refugee girls and women’ (p.xvi).

Source: UK Department for International Development. CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Source: UK Department for International Development. CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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The Refugee Experience Book Reviews: Border Watch

This week the government announced that the UK will take 20,000 Syrian refugees between now and 2020. This has prompted Jo Manby to look back at her archive for reviews of books, available in our library, that look at the refugee experience in Britain. Read the others here and here.

This review is adapted from an original piece published in the Centre’s journal Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World.

Book review: Border Watch: Cultures of Immigration, Detention and Control by Alexandra Hall (Pluto Press: London and New York, 2012)

This ethnographically researched volume uncovers the hidden day-to-day world of the immigration detention centre from the perspective of the officers. Its premise is that an understanding of the effects of the act of detaining individuals relies upon an awareness of the intimate details of how exactly the ‘secure regime’ works on the level of ordinary, everyday experience and interaction.

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