Knowledge, voice and power

Due out July 2022

Deadline for submissions: 15th February 2022

In the field of forced migration, whose knowledge is valued and whose voices are heard? What needs to change in order to address significant power imbalances in representation in policy, practice and academia?  

Over recent years, debates about race, representation and inequality have brought questions of power and voice to people who had not previously engaged with issues of marginalisation and exclusion, and at the same time have given momentum to others who were already active in challenging the status quo. Localisation agendas within the aid sector, social movements such as Black Lives Matter and wider debates about decolonisation have generated reflection on the inequalities that exist within the field of forced migration, in research and knowledge, policy and practice. Issue 70 of FMR focuses on how knowledge is produced, shared and received, and what changes can and should be made to help ensure that power is shared and more diverse voices are heard and valued.

Recent analysis led by the Local Engagement Refugee Research Network (LERRN) showed that while the vast majority of the world’s refugees live in the Global South, only a very small percentage of articles in major refugee-focused journals were written by authors based at academic institutions in those regions. Within NGOs and advocacy and policy-making spaces, the underrepresentation and sidelining of people most affected by forced migration have meant that they are largely absent from key conversations and decision-making bodies. It is clear that change is urgently needed.

This issue of FMR seeks to encourage debate by asking hard questions about the current situation and what needs to change in order to enrich the field of forced migration research, policy and practice. Ensuring greater representation, and ensuring a real diversity in backgrounds and experiences among researchers and decision-makers, is not straightforward. By inviting a wide range of authors to discuss the questions below, we hope this issue will highlight the challenges that exist and explore how these can be tackled and overcome.   

This issue of FMR will provide a forum to share experience and good practice, debate perspectives and offer recommendations. In particular, the FMR Editors are looking for practice/policy-oriented submissions, including case-studies, reflecting a diverse range of experience and opinions, which address questions such as the following:

Voice and representation

  • Whose perspectives and interests drive policy and practice, and how can this field be made more equitable? What perpetuates inequalities? What is at stake if the status quo remains?
  • What factors explain the current biases in research on forced displacement? How can these interests and factors be changed or overcome?
  • What are the challenges for researchers and advocates located in the Global South in being heard through different channels, for example conferences, policy forums, activism or publishing?
  • How do decolonisation debates intersect with knowledge production and sharing in the realm of displacement? How do other factors such as gender, race and socio-economic status intersect in this arena?
  • How are the voices of forced migrants being excluded from policy debates and research agendas and what are the challenges to inclusion? What examples are there of people with lived experience of forced migration sharing their knowledge in ways which successfully influence policy and/or practice?
  • How do funding flows affect research priorities and approaches, and with what implications in terms of voice and power? How do commissioning bodies and donors shape research agendas and what are the consequences of these dynamics?
  • How does language affect knowledge production and sharing? In particular, how does the use of English and other colonial languages affect what ideas and perspectives become influential? What role do and should local languages play in sharing knowledge and perspectives?  

 

Response and accountability

  • What changes do organisations, governments and publishers working on forced migration need to make in order to increase the representation of people who have lived experience of forced migration (whether personally or in their locality) as leaders, authors and decision-makers? What does and should accountability for change look like?
  • What does co-production or partnership look like in research or in activism/advocacy? How can it be done well?
  • How do different types of communication tools or channels (such as reports, journal articles, oral presentations and social media) affect how knowledge is received by audiences involved in forced migration policy and practice? 
  • What can people working on questions of voice and power in forced migration learn from other fields of practice and study? What case-studies exist and what lessons can be learnt from them?
  • How are forced migrants involved in shaping research or in project design? How do they benefit from the knowledge produced from their inputs?
  • How are tools used for monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (MEAL) and data gathering and analysis engaging with questions of power and voice within the forced migration field?

 

Deadline for submission of articles: 15th February 2022

We welcome articles of between 1,200 and 2,500 words. Please note that the maximum of 2,500 words includes any endnotes. We accept articles in English, Arabic, French and Spanish. If you wish to submit your article in another language, please indicate this when you email us to outline your topic and we will discuss options with you.

BEFORE WRITING YOUR ARTICLE: If you are interested in contributing, please email the Editors at fmr@qeh.ox.ac.uk with a few sentences about your proposed topic so that we can provide feedback. We will then notify you to say if we are interested in receiving your submission, and will at that stage provide you with further guidance and our submission requirements. We are happy to correspond in English, French and Spanish and have some capacity to respond in Arabic.

Please note: We ask all authors to give appropriate consideration to the particular relevance of their responses to persons with disabilities, to LGBTIQ+ persons, to older persons, and to other groups with specific vulnerabilities and characteristics, and to seek to include a gendered approach as part of their articles.

As a magazine, we want to reflect the experiences and knowledge of communities and individuals directly affected by these questions. If you have suggestions of colleagues or others who may wish to contribute, please do email us; we are happy to work with individuals to help them develop an article and very keen to have displaced people’s perspectives reflected in the magazine.

In addition to the usual feedback that the Editors provide to all potential authors, for this issue we will be providing written guidance (available in four languages), a ‘writing for FMR’ webinar in November (with Arabic, French and Spanish interpreting), and some individual mentorship led by the LERRN project at Carleton University. We recognise that many authors are not writing in their first language and so we provide strong editorial input for people needing additional language support.

At FMR, we are committed to examining our own practices and processes in order to take practical steps to be part of the change we want to see. 

 

New to writing for FMR? We're holding a webinar aimed at potential authors, outlining the process of getting published in FMR and answering the questions you have for us. It will take place on 18th November, 2pm UK time. Register here. If you would like interpretation into Arabic, French or Spanish then please contact us at fmr@qeh.ox.ac.uk by the 9th November.

In addition to this webinar, we are launching a mentoring initiative for first-time authors, particularly those living and working in regions with high levels of displacement. For more information on how to apply, click here.

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Forced Migration Review
Refugee Studies Centre
Oxford Department of International Development
University of Oxford
3 Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TB, UK
fmr@qeh.ox.ac.uk  +44 (0)1865 281700