Art practice with migrant women. Mastoureh Fathi and Rabia Nasimi

 Action researchers Mastoureh Fathi and Rabia Nasimi chose to explore the notion of home for migrants through art practice. They have just published with ARJ: Art practice with migrant women: Three challenges to rediscovering home. They explain the challenges explored in their paper.

What does “home” mean for migrant women? By simply asking “what home means to you?” a researcher may encounter multiple problems. The main one is the lack of language skills and ways of communicating across different backgrounds.

We partnered with an NGO where Rabia was affiliated to and started art sessions. Multiple collaborative strategies that we developed brought challenges throughout our research project.

  • A major challenge concerned the problems that can arise between institutions. In our case university and partnering NGO. We argue that research process is understood differently by people who work in different sectors. The whole point about employing art was to bridge these differences and challenges and we were successful to a great extent. We note additional challenges working with 36 migrant women.
  • Collective decision making was quite challenging. How do researchers who work with a research team, volunteers, practitioners, and participants make the process of the decision making fair? Where does one draw the line between research agenda and fair process of decision making that involves everyone? This was an integral part of our practice and we report on moving through the challenges.
  • Then there was the challenge of developing art skills among women for whom art was perceived as a non-priority activity. All our participants in this research were housewives. They were married and had children. Living a busy life that mostly revolved around family life, learning an art technique was initially far from their desired practice. However, they found the experience more rewarding when we figured out how to display their art work in an exhibition in London.”

Read the article at the forever DOI link here: