The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Student Profiles

Jenny Smith

Project title: Home  from Home? Intercultural Interactions, Identity  and Belonging for Refugees living in Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK

Supervisors: Prof Peter Hopkins and Prof Anoop Nayak

Contributing to research on geographies of refugees, intercultural engagement and urban space, my ESRC-funded PhD will look to explore the nature of intercultural interactions and intimacies encountered and negotiated by refugees living in Newcastle. Using the everyday as an analytical tool, it will work to unpack such interactions and their impact on a refugee’s use of space, identity and emotional well-being.

Mobility is central to the project, shaping both conceptual and methodological approaches. Firstly, liminal and transitional spaces across Newcastle such as public space and different modes of transport become critical locations for the complex presence of both everyday racism and conviviality. These contact zones for individuals of cultural difference demonstrate crucial moments of identity formation, hybridity, exchange and hostility. Secondly, the project will utilise its collaborative relationship with the asylum seeker and refugee charity, West End Refugee Service (WERS) to execute innovative methodologies, situated within the mobility paradigm, with participants. Specifically, participatory map making and walk-along ethnographic interviews will be used to identify how such experiences materialise and are (re)worked across space.