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Mobilising Global Voices 2019: Perspectives from the Global South

The Global Challenge Research Fund was launched by the Government in 2015 to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. The money is enabling the AHRC to develop opportunities for the arts and humanities research community. So far there have been 230 awards made to projects which are co-designed with partners in 90 developing countries.

This research is increasingly making an impact in the international disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation policy world, as well as across a range of other development challenges and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The GCRF projects below, which focus on climate change and forced displacement, are taking part in the ‘Mobilising Global Voices 2019: Perspectives from the Global South’ event which is taking place in the Houses of Parliament in collaboration with the International Development Committee. See also our Mobilising Global Voices 2017: AHRC International Development Summit page for further background.

World map with areas shown where Global Voices research is being done.
The world map shows some of the GCRF projects (displayed by colour region or pin) have researchers in different countries who all work collaboratively together. Click on the image to open in a new window.

 

Select a link from the two lists below, to find out more.

Climate change projects:

  1. Global Gender and Cultures of Equality (GlobalGRACE)
  2. From mangrove to milpa: what determines resilience to extreme weather events in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico?
  3. Risk and resilience in the coastal Caribbean
  4. Resilient Pastoralism
  5. Untold Stories of Mental Health and Resilience of Internal Migrants in India
  6. Indigenous Knowledge and the Revival of Millets for a Changing Climate in South India
  7. After disaster strikes and other stories: Living with typhoons and insecurity in the Philippines
  8. Enduring connections: Heritage, sustainable development, and climate change in Kiribati

Forced displacement projects:

  1. Moving with Risk: forced displacement and vulnerability to hazards in Colombia
  2. Arts for Advocacy
  3. Unknown City: The (In)visibility of Urban Displacement Project
  4. Refugee Hosts
  5. Global Research Network on Parliaments and People

Climate change

Global Gender and Cultures of Equality (GlobalGRACE)

Organisations: Jointly AHRC-ESRC funded, this project is led by Dr Mark Johnson from Goldsmiths, University of London, in collaboration with the University of Cape Town.

Jane photographs exhibit

Project background: The ‘Exchanging Cultures of Equality’ exhibition marked the launch of the GlobalGRACE project. It featured a series of postcards from project partners in Bangladesh, Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, and the UK. The idea was to create a ‘global museum of equalities’, exploring what it means to request, send, exchange and migrate materials, ideas and visuals in a global and historical context.

 

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From mangrove to milpa: what determines resilience to extreme weather events in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico?

Professor Sarah Metcalfe holding a resilience class

Organisations: This NERC funded project is led by Professor Sarah Metcalfe from the University of Nottingham.  

Project background: This project brings together UK and Mexican researchers to develop novel approaches to building resilience to the impacts of extreme weather (specifically hurricanes and droughts) and to provide capacity building opportunities.

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Risk and resilience in the coastal Caribbean

Organisations: This AHRC funded project is led by Professor Henrice Altink from the University of York and collaborates with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Caribbean branch of the International Red Cross (IFRC) and the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI).  

Scenic shale beach with boats

Project background: This research focusses on the coastal Caribbean, an area that experiences numerous and increasing environmental risks, including rising sea levels and fierce tropical storms.

So far, the project has brought together a multi-disciplinary group of scholars from the UK and the Caribbean with organisations from the region to explore the key challenges in developing environmental resilience. They assessed a range of cross-disciplinary approaches that would help provide a comprehensive study of the challenges and have developed a three-part research proposal.

The proposal was presented during a stakeholder workshop in Jamaica, which included the Jamaican Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management and the World Bank. The feedback from the workshop is currently being used to develop a further GCRF proposal.

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Resilient Pastoralism

Organisations: Funded by NERC, this research is being jointly led by Dr Caroline Upton and Dr Sarah Johnson from the University of Leicester, along with Dr David Sneath from the University of Cambridge. Project partners include Egerton University in Kenya, the Mongolian Academy of Sciences and the Rural Investment Support Centre.    

Horse and three camel train

Project background: Kenya and Mongolia are the focus of this project that looks to explore the concept of resilience within diverse pastoralist societies. The research team was made up of UK-based and in-country academics, NGOs and pastoralist communities. It brought together geographers, anthropologists, economists and livestock production specialists, with the local pastoralists and policy communities who live, practice and manage pastoralism on a daily basis.

A key part of the approach was to integrate insights into local histories and responses to environmental change to explore pathways to more ‘resilient’ futures. This included in-country workshops, interviews with policy makers and fieldwork with pastoralist communities. It developed and tested new questions to better understand policy uptake and ‘pathways to impact’, with a view to shaping larger scale research projects in the future.

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Untold Stories of Mental Health and Resilience of Internal Migrants in India

Organisations: Led by Professor Raghu Raghavan from De Montfort University, this is an MRC-AHRC jointly funded project. Project partners include the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bengaluru, the Institute of Health Management in Pachod and Pune’s Swatantra theatre group.  

Gathering of mainly village women

Project background: This innovative interdisciplinary project uses theatre storytelling practices to raise awareness of mental health and resilience of migrant slum dwellers in Pune, a city in Western India.

Mental health narratives of internal migrants in India have tended to focus on the prevalence of psychological distress, anxiety and depression; but there is scant evidence about the resilience of migrant slum dwellers. The psychological distress and experiences as a result of migration can be a risk factor for higher prevalence of mental disorders, but the lack of knowledge on how migrants’ mediate risk in the midst of adversities and construct resilience for positive living is an untold story.

The project is working with migrants living in Pune’s slum communities to examine their mental health and resilience in the face of adversity. Their stories will then be told in the form of theatre performances by the Swatantra theatre group and the performances will be shown back to the community in the hope that their reactions can be captured and more memories can then be collected.

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Indigenous Knowledge and the Revival of Millets for a Changing Climate in South India

Organisations: Led by Dr Sandip Hazareesingh from Open University, this project is funded by the AHRC and is a partnership of researchers in the UK with the NGO Green Foundation in India.  


'Our Grandmother used to sing whilst weeding' from Sara Penrhyn Jones on Vimeo.

Women harvesting by hand

Project background: The Changing Farming Lives in South India, Past and Present project brings an original arts and humanities perspective to the crucial development challenges of food security, biodiversity, and climate adaptation faced by small and marginal farmers in South India.

It explores the potential of oral history, recorded in film and sound, to document and support small farmer creativity in developing resilience to these livelihood challenges. It especially highlights the importance of women farmers’ knowledge of biodiversity in achieving the goal of food security, bringing new voices from poorer communities into debates on sustainable development and livelihoods.

There were collaborative events and activities in India last year, with publications and audio-visual outputs due to appear during 2019.

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After disaster strikes and other stories: Living with typhoons and insecurity in the Philippines

Organisations: A Partnership for Conflict, Crime & Security Research (PaCCS) project, funded jointly through AHRC, it is led Dr Ayesha Siddiqi from Royal Holloway University of London (RHUL), in collaboration with Swito Corporation a social enterprise based in Davao city.

People sharing temporary shelter

Project background: This research examines local constructions of risk and resilience amongst communities in southern Philippines. This is an AHRC (GCRF & PaCCS) funded project that uses innovative arts-based approaches, to understand the lived experience of hazard-based disasters, in contexts of underlying insecurity due to insurgency and conflict. The project co-created digital stories of residents, who lived through super Typhoon Pablo in 2012, and of the officials from the Municipal Disaster Risk Management office who responded to that disaster. These documented narratives tell a story of ‘resilience’ and ‘security’ that run counter to state-imposed agendas of risk reduction.

This work has been extended through a small internal RHUL grant, and with collaboration of Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre, to examine similar issues amongst residents of Democratic Republic of Congo living in exile in South Africa. The wider research will also be contributing to the UN Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2019 (GAR19).  

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Enduring connections: Heritage, sustainable development, and climate change in Kiribati

Organisations: This AHRC funded project is led by Sara Penrhyn Jones from Bath Spa University. It also includes Exeter University and Kings College London.  

Enjoying tribal festivities

Video: Kiribati - climate change and heritage from Sara Penrhyn Jones.

Project background: This project works through ideas of loss but focuses on connections; specifically, finding enduring connections to potentially lost objects to carry us into the future, caring for our current connections to land, water and non-human life, and accepting moral connections between the most polluting- and vulnerable- countries.

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Forced displacement


Moving with Risk: forced displacement and vulnerability to hazards in Colombia

Ancestoral dancing at towns festivities

Organisations: Led by Dr Roger Few from the University of East Anglia, this project is jointly funded by AHRC and ESRC. It’s a collaboration with the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management, University of Manizales, Colombian Red Cross and the National Centre for Monitoring Natural Disasters. 

Project background: This project uses the creative arts to work with people to explore the connections between forced displacement and vulnerability to hazards in Colombia. It aims to deepen understanding of how and why the transition to new risk occurs, analyse how people perceive and respond to risk in their places of resettlement, and strengthen the capacity of both themselves and the agencies responsible for supporting them to manage the implications on their lives.

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Arts for Advocacy

Organisations: Joint AHRC-ESRC funded, this project is led by Dr Laura Jeffery from University of Edinburgh and Dr Mariangela Palladino from Keele University. Project partners in Morocco include: GADEM, ALECMA, DABATEATR and GRAMNET.

Ghostly super-imposed figures

Project background: It used innovative and participatory arts-based methods to explore migration and forced displacement in Morocco. It has become a country of transit and immigration, notably for sub-Saharan migrants fleeing a range of socio-economic and political precariousness as well as more recently for those fleeing the enduring conflict in Syria. Yet Morocco has featured little in recent depictions of the 'migration crisis' and has largely been overlooked by research.

The project used creative arts-based methods to generate fresh insights on displacement and migration in Morocco as a case study. This included an exhibition titled ‘MIGRATION. RÉCITS. MOUVEMENTS' which was the result of two participatory photography/filmmaking and physical theatre workshops which took place in Rabat. It explored issues of togetherness, migration, displacement, loss, heritage, identity and diversity through the creation of visual artefacts.

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Unknown City: The (In)visibility of Urban Displacement Project

Organisations: Jointly funded by AHRC and ERSC, this project is led by Professor Michael Collyer from the University of Sussex. Project partners include the International Centre for Climate Change and Research (ICCCAD) in Bangladesh, the Migration Research and Development (CMRD) in Sri Lanka, the Observatory of Conflict and Violence Prevention (OCVP) in Somaliland and the Development Government Institute (DEGI) in Harare.

shop counter behind wire mesh

Project background: This project aimed to change the way that key stakeholders think about a city, particularly the impact of forced migration within it. Their research focused on three low income neighbourhoods in Colombo, Dhaka, Harare and Hargeisa. It focuses on the vulnerability and opportunities of migrants in some of the world’s most pressured cities.  They worked with local government authorities, city planning departments and other key public authorities, as well as civil society organisations, including residents’ associations. This included surveys of 500 households in each city.

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Refugee Hosts

Organisations: A Partnership for Conflict, Crime & Security Research (PaCCS) project, funded jointly through AHRC and ESRC, it is led by Professor Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh from UCL. It also involves Queen Margaret University, Durham University and University of Birmingham. Project partners include the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities, English-PEN and PEN-International.

Man and kids all smiling down into camera lens

Project background: This project focuses on the plight of some of the 5 million refugees who have fled Syria in search of safety in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. It aims to improve understanding of the challenges and opportunities that arise in local responses to displacement, both for refugees from Syria and for the members of the communities that are hosting them.

Through interdisciplinary and participatory research in and with nine local communities in the Middle East, and working closely with local researchers at all stages of the research process, this project fills a major evidence gap about the roles played by local communities – including established refugee communities and those that explicitly or implicitly identify with and are motivated by faith – in supporting, and/or undermining, people affected by conflict and displacement: refugees and hosts alike.

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Global Research Network on Parliaments and People

Organisations: Established by Professor Emma Crewe from SOAS, University of London in 2017, the Global Research Network for Parliaments and People at SOAS is a grant-making programme to support national scholars to study the relationship between Parliaments and People in Myanmar and Ethiopia (supported by Arts and Humanities Research Council/Global Challenges Research Fund).

Man and kids all smiling down into camera lens

Project background: This project links researchers, artists and activists, enabling them to discuss and imagine what democratic politics might look like in a more engaged and inclusive political world. It offers a range of grants to habitual residents of Myanmar and Ethiopia for research that helps scrutinise, understand, communicate and support the processes and relationships required to deepen democracy.

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