Call for Contributions: Opening Up the University: Teaching and Learning with Refugees

April 10, 2019

Invitation to participate in the edited volume:

Opening Up the University: Teaching and Learning with Refugees

What principles might guide education programmes for refugees? How can a collection of texts inspire individuals, groups or institutions to start programmes (or to do them better)? How can we bring the experience and expertise of teachers, organisers and scholars into targeted dialogue with policy makers? Opening Up The University seeks to answer these questions and more through a collection of contributions from activists, scholars and students who happen to also be refugees, pedagogues and university staff.

The Issue

The question of access to universities for people with refugee status is often made out to be a subject for experts in education or integration. This may be, in Europe, a dominant way of addressing the question of how refugees may access and then flourish in higher education. However, there are other approaches and perspectives. These might come from solidarity groups and other grassroots movements, from teachers who work with refugees and other marginalised groups on a regular basis, or from those refugee learners who experience successful and unsuccessful programmes and interventions. These groups and their perspectives are not in regular and sustained dialogue with each other: policy worlds, activist worlds, learner worlds and academic worlds are often vastly disparate.

One result of the lack of sustained cross-cutting conversations that acknowledge each other’s frames of reference, is that the subject appears curiously circumscribed – refugee access to higher education is not usually thought in relation to pedagogic development, including reform of curricula and teaching, nor for example to university administrative and governance structures. Indeed it’s unclear to many people why the ‘problem’ of refugee integration into higher education should bring up these questions at all.

Our Response

In this edited volume, we seek to put in conversation different actors involved in the question of access to higher education for people with refugee status or those engaged in rethinking the university in related ways. Our aim in doing so is to convey some of the key principles in regards to refugee education; explore what types of ethos work in such contexts; and examine how pedagogic practice can and should respond. Furthermore, we want to be self-reflexively critical about the process of setting up and running a refugee outreach programme; inspire other groups and individuals who are considering creating their own interventions; and finally speak to policy makers and university administrators on specific points relating to the access and success of refugees in higher education in Europe today.

The volume builds on a conference held in March at Central European University’s Budapest campus where such conversations led us to think about refugee education in relation to pedagogic innovation, solidarity, university governance and administration, and national policy development. Thinking about the access of people with refugee status in relation to these different frameworks led to critical questions about how the issue can or should be thought in relation to curricular development, teaching practices that incorporate care and compassion, and also to the manifold challenges to universities as ‘producers of elite knowledge’ when they seek to include people who are marginalised socially, economically and politically.

We believe that thinking the issue of refugee access to higher education should be a holistic process and should further be seen as an opportunity to challenge knowledge production and its purposes.

Call for Contributions

We invite contributions that seek to address policy, solidarity, pedagogic and other issues relating to how refugees may access higher education and how they may flourish therein. Interventions could focus on policy or pedagogic innovation, on the role of knowledge and its purposes, the role of the university in public life, as well as other related issues and questions.

We are happy to receive contributions of varying styles, genres and lengths (with an upper limit of 20 pages). We encourage creative, non-standard and alternative approaches and are also very happy to receive academic (or non-academic) essays, policy briefs, curricular guides, and so on.

Possible ideas: first-hand accounts from refugee students who have experienced education outreach programmes; annotated syllabi; examples of solidarity practice with refugee students to enhance access to higher education; examples of education programs for people with refugee status located outside traditional universities; comparative explorations of alternative education with other groups of marginalised people; theorisations of how opening up access changes and challenges knowledge production; manifestos or principles for access and success.

Please email by April 29th with:

a) Proposed title;

b) A one paragraph summary including notes on genre/style and estimated word length;

c) A short bio.

Editorial team: Cristina S. Bangau, Celine Cantat, Ian M. Cook, Marius Jakstas & Prem Kumar Rajaram