Nav: Home

Research examines challenges facing refugee artisans displaced by civil war in Syria

November 17, 2016

The impact of forced displacement on Syria's traditional crafts and cultural heritage, and the people directly involved in it, is to be analysed in a new research project.

Academics from the University of Plymouth will study the industries that have survived among refugee communities forcibly displaced to the neighbouring state of Jordan since 2011.

They will assess ways in which male artisans have been forced to adapt in exile and away from their traditional processes, materials and studios, and the impact this has on the finished products. Training and advice programmes will also be developed with the aim of allowing the men involved to grow their work into sustainable social enterprises.

The research is being led by Dr Haya Al-Dajani, Associate Professor (Reader) in Entrepreneurship at the University of Plymouth, and funded from the Global Challenges Research Fund Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)/Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Forced Displacement call 2016.

It will contribute to the aims of the call by focusing on the experiences, vulnerabilities and resilience of Syrian artisan men forcibly displaced to Jordan since the war in Syria erupted in 2011.

Dr Al-Dajani said: "Traditional Syrian arts and crafts are highly valued in the Arab world for the quality of the workmanship. But five years of civil war has destroyed the studios and factories where many artisans were employed, and they have been forced to flee as refugees. It is possible that both quality and productivity have been negatively impacted as a result, but assessing how these traditions are being continued could help others facing similar challenges in the future."

The study also involves co-investigators from the University's Faculties of Business and Science and Engineering, including Professor of Human Geography Geoff Wilson, a renowned researcher in fields of community resilience and environmental transitions, and the Director of the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre, Dr Marta Hawkins, an expert in creative industries, cultural identities and strategies of coping among creative entrepreneurs.

They, in turn, will work with two organisations based in Jordan - the King Hussein Foundation Information and Research Centre, and TIRAZ, a centre dedicated to preserving Arab cultural heritage and living traditions.

During the course of the two-year project, the research team will stage up to 80 interviews with Syrian male artisan refugees, to find out more about their resilience, the challenges they face and how they have adapted their Syrian artistry.

Working with Jordanian agencies the researchers will then aim to train people in the establishment, and successful operation, of social enterprises, which could potentially have a positive impact on the Syrian community in Jordan, the host nation and its economy, and other forcibly displaced communities such as Iraqis and Palestinians.

Dr Al-Dajani has previously conducted studies into enterprise and empowerment among women refugees in Jordan, and is also currently leading and ESRC-DfID funded project exploring the extent to which entrepreneurship is a catalyst for empowerment and poverty alleviation among women refugees in Arab countries.

She added: "Our previous work has always focussed on women refugees while this centres on traditionally male-dominated industries. That gives it a different dynamic straight away, but then we are also looking at men whose evolved skills are helping to keep historic traditions alive. So while they could initially have been forced to flee Syria in order to keep providing an income for their families, they are now playing a significant role in preserving the cultural heritage of their homeland."

University of Plymouth

Related Entrepreneurship Articles:

Growth mindset intervention boosts confidence, persistence in entrepreneurship students
A low-cost intervention aimed at fostering a growth mindset in students gave the students more confidence in their entrepreneurship abilities and helped them persist when challenges arose.
EU sustainable development policy defines entrepreneurship in three distinct ways
A new study has found three distinct ways in which the European Union defines what entrepreneurship means for sustainable development, producing a blurry message of the role entrepreneurs and business owners have to play in tackling the global issue.
Mindfulness and sleep can reduce exhaustion in entrepreneurs
When entrepreneurs are feeling exhausted but can't afford the time for adequate sleep, they may be able to replenish their energy with mindfulness exercises such as meditation.
Canadian small businesses leading the way in sustainability
New research from the University of Waterloo shows that Canadian small businesses are important- and often overlooked- drivers of sustainability and the green economy.
Would-be social entrepreneurs need more than a kind heart
To want to be a social entrepreneur, empathy is not enough for millennials.
How universities are fostering innovation and entrepreneurship
Technology and Innovation 19.1 zeroes in on innovation and entrepreneurship, with a special focus on what universities are currently doing to foster growth in those areas both for their success and the success of the communities and regions to which they are connected.
PolyU launches InnoHub to support regional start-up collaborations
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) launched on March 15 the PolyU InnoHub, a co-creation and co-working space on campus for the University community and stakeholders to further promote innovation and entrepreneurship at a regional level.
Harnessing ADHD for business success
The symptoms of ADHD foster important traits associated with entrepreneurship.
RIT selected to receive National Science Foundation I-Corps grant
Rochester Institute of Technology is among eight National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) sites across the country selected to each receive $30,000 grants to increase participation and promote inclusion of underrepresented populations in the National Innovation Network.
University incubators may lead to lower-quality innovation, new study shows
The establishment of university-affiliated incubators is often followed by a reduction in the quality of university innovations, according to a new study co-authored by a Baylor University entrepreneurship professor.
More Entrepreneurship News and Entrepreneurship Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.