The RSA Research Network on Politics of Displacement, Identity and Urban Citizenship in Migratory Contexts organised an event: Participatory Action Research and Ethnographic Theatre: I Am Rohingya: Staging a Genocide, a presentation by Yusuf Zine held on March 10, 2020 in Toronto, Canada.
- Hulya Arik is an assistant professor at the Human Geography at the University of Toronto Scarborough.
- Johanna Reynolds is research coordinator based at the Centre for Refugee Studies, York University (Toronto, Canada).
This event focused on participatory action research and ethnographic theatre as a research method. In order to engage with alternatives to mainstream research methods on migration issues, we invited a speaker who works at the intersection of research, arts, and community participatory methods., and we were joined by Yusuf Zine, director and producer of I Am Rohingya, a documentary film that follows fourteen Rohingya refugee youth who re-enact their harrowing experiences of the genocide through a live theatre production.
In this workshop, Zine reflected on his research and production processes that were designed to allow the Rohingya youth to be heard through story-telling, performance and self-reflection, with an aim of fostering a deeper understanding of their political agency. He engaged directly with Rohingya youth whose families were displaced and came to Canada as refugees. The workshop provided important discussion on how to ethically ‘do’ research with displaced populations especially from the position of being an ‘outsider’ as well as utilizing the arts as an effective knowledge dissemination tool.
The workshop focused specifically on research methodology, and more specifically, ethnographic theatre. The speaker discussed the process, and production of his piece I Am Rohingya, which was designed alongside Rohingya youth in Canada. The discussion included questions on political agency, the importance of storytelling and whose stories get told, the ethics of working with youth, participatory research, and the use of arts as a vehicle for translating research and making it more accessible to a wider audience.
The event was very well attended and included approximately 50 attendees (both undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty) interested in ethical considerations and research methods in migration contexts.