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The experiences of refugee creative writers: An intersectional feminist study

CHAPLIN, MELISSA,RAE (2019) The experiences of refugee creative writers: An intersectional feminist study. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This qualitative narrative study adopts an intersectional feminist approach to investigate the refugee authors’ experiences of the creative writing process. The study is significant because it highlights the multiple axes of marginalisation these authors can experience, and considers the ways that negative stereotypes of refugees in the UK might be resisted.
Several key findings arose from the study. Primarily, the refugee writers interviewed expressed that their feelings about the creative writing process may fluctuate between frustration and/or release from cultural dogma. Second, it was found that refugee writers can experience feelings of pressure to conform to a ‘native speaker’ style of expression in English, both in creative work and in daily life. Third, the complexities of different cultural conceptions of creative writing sometimes resulted in feelings of alienation for participants from their work in English. Fourth, some participants viewed their writing as a means of processing their experiences personally, but also of communicating their narratives to a wider audience. Performance of creative work was highlighted as a key way of engaging with others about their experiences. The group setting of the creative writing workshop played a significant supportive role in the lives of participants, both in terms of their creative development and as a social space. Fundamental to this support were: the relationships participants formed with others in the group; the system of mentorship in place; and the establishment of the workshop environment as a ‘safe space’. Finally, this study has demonstrated opportunities presented by an intersectional feminist framework for research involving multilingual and/or refugee participants. This framework contextualised participants’ experiences within wider structures of systematic oppression; and facilitated effective development of rapport between researcher and participant.
This research has important implications in for researchers in the areas of refugee studies, comparative literature, and intersectional feminism. The findings offer insight for policy makers and facilitators of creative arts projects for marginalised people, highlighting effective ways to meet the needs of those taking part.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:refugee creative writing multilingual intercultural feminist intersectional
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:21 Oct 2019 08:38

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