Conference: Racism, anti-racism and forced migration in Ireland
Call for Papers
2022 saw a sharp rise in the number of those seeking international protection in Ireland as a result of protracted conflicts, climate crisis, food insecurity and gender/sexuality persecution throughout different parts of the world. This has been compounded by the COVID19 pandemic and border closures as well as Brexit and the British government’s hostile environment with respect to asylum. The war in Ukraine forced more than 8 million people to flee their country, of whom approximately 80,000 came to Ireland. The number of Asylum seekers from Algeria, Somalia, Yemen and other countries in situations of conflict more than doubled in 2022 alone, with an increase of 186% in people seeking international protection since 2019.
Ireland’s asylum system operates an egregious system of containment, housing asylum seekers in institutionalised living spaces called Direct Provision centres. However, the Irish government has struggled to provide appropriate living conditions for many of the displaced. It has also not endeavoured to keep to a timeline commitment to end the direct provision system by 2024. These broader geopolitical crises coupled with a national housing crisis, an increase in homelessness and an ailing public health system(in spite of the relatively good performance of the economy as a whole) has opened a space for populist contestation. The far right, which until recently had been contained to the fringes of the Irish political landscape, has become much more vocal, organising local protests against asylum seekers and refugees, thus raising the spectre of populism which already plagues many of Ireland’s European neighbours.
This conference aims to address the many issues that a surge in demand for international protection raises for a country such as Ireland. It seeks to understand where what seemed like a sudden outbreak of racism originates and what feeds this specific narrative. The conference will also analyse the drivers of forced migration into Ireland, the reception, resettlement, and social inclusion mechanisms in place and the manner in which these may or may not address the needs of both the host populations and the IPAs. It will also look at how local, grassroots organisations, political parties and government bodies have responded to this political crisis. The conference is also interested in comparative insights, open to analyses from other contexts with similar experiences. Ultimately the aim of the conference is to foster a dialogue between those working at a local level, service providers, refugees and international protection applicants, and academics working in the fields of social or political sciences.
We welcome papers and presentations on topics related to, but not limited to:
- History of forced migration on the island of Ireland
- Climate crisis and forced migration
- Conflict/post-conflict and forced migration
- Socio-political and legal dimensions of forced migration
- Housing and Direct Provision
- Representations of the Other in Irish literature, film and the media
- Historic roots of racism in Ireland
- Best practice in integration and social inclusion in Ireland and beyond
- Populism in Ireland
- Gender and sexuality in forced migration contexts
- Language and migration
- Resettlement and forced migration
- Sanctuary and forced migration
- Activism, Anti-racist and solidarity initiatives and empathy projects (grassroots and other)
- Humanitarianism and forced migration
Papers on the above themes from other geographical contexts are also welcome
Workshops on issues such as anti-racism, gender and sexuality, integration and social inclusion, will be organised so as to share best practice, explore different ways of raising awareness at local, national and international levels on the issues faced both by IPAs and the host communities and design toolkits for those working in this area.
- Sanctuary lecture: Dr Veronica Crosbie, Chairperson of Places of Sanctuary Ireland
- Social empathy and integration, guest lecture, Prof. Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement
- Round table, with participants from civil society and grassroots organisations, State representatives and International Protection applicants
- Launch of “Ordinary treasures: Objects from home”, a video produced by the Irish Refugee Integration Network
- Exhibition of visual artefacts produced by the Mellie project (Migrant English Language, Literacy and Intercultural Education