Syrian refugee study shortlisted for Research Project of the Year award

Wednesday, 04 September 2019

Professor Tina Miller shortlisted for THE Award

A research project focused uniquely on the missing voices and experiences of Syrian refugee fathers and the integration of their families has been recognised by the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2019.

Professor Tina Miller’s British Academy research, which is a shared project with Professor Esther Dermott at the University of Bristol, was today (5 September 2019) shortlisted for the Research Project of the Year accolade recognising Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences.

It is a great honour to receive this recognition from the THE Awards. The objective of the research has been to contribute to our critical understanding of what is regarded as good fatherhood, ‘successful’ refugee integration and to inform policies related to supporting everyday family practices.

Professor Tina Miller

Large-scale forced migration to Europe resulting from the war in Syria hit its height in 2015-2016. At the time, debates typically portrayed male migrants as being a problem and were often depicted as being aggressive and potentially a risk to society.

However, such depictions ignore the fact that many of these men were also fathers with family responsibilities, including for their children’s wellbeing. While existing research has documented aspects of refugee integration, it has focused primarily on individual refugees or mothers who are often regarded as primary actors in family lives.

Professor Miller’s research entails working with a Syrian research assistant (Ziad Ghandour) and international collaboration with colleagues in the UK (Professor Esther Dermott at the University of Bristol) and Sweden (Dr Therése Wissö at Gothenburg University) to examine how the experiences of fathers, policies and integration processes differ between the two countries.

Insight is being shared across various arenas including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, a European Sociological Association conference and an event involving the participants themselves. 

The project has also provided a foundation for a proposal which has progressed to an advanced stage for a larger comparative research study focused on the UK, Sweden and Denmark. Based on the emerging findings, this new study will adopt new avenues of exploration, taking a more nuanced approach to ideas of integration and explore this through fathers in a later period following arrival (3-4 years) once familial integration is usually assumed to have been achieved.

Responding to being shortlisted Tina Miller, Professor of Sociology at Oxford Brookes, commented: “It is a great honour to receive this recognition from the THE Awards. The objective of the research has been to contribute to our critical understanding of what is regarded as good fatherhood, ‘successful’ refugee integration and to inform policies related to supporting everyday family practices.

“As soon as the interviews commenced, the deep pockets of unmet need among the fathers became clear. Comparative studies such as ours, provide a vital missing perspective in relation to everyday experiences of navigating family lives in new and different circumstances. The findings will inform societal understandings of refugees, family migration and integration expectations and experiences, uniquely from the perspective of fathers.”

THE editor John Gill said: "The THE Awards hold a place in the hearts of many in UK higher education and have now been a fixture in the calendar for well over a decade. This will be the biggest celebration of higher education that we have ever hosted. I am delighted to say that the ‘Oscars of higher education’ go from strength to strength. With 23 categories this year, we’re also showcasing more exceptional stories than ever before, and it’s a real honour for us to shine a spotlight on all those who have made it as far as these shortlists – their stories deserve much wider circulation."

Details of the THE Awards 2019, which will be held on 28 November 2019 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, can be found on its dedicated website
 
Further information on Professor Miller’s research can be found on our University profile page. Learn more about the courses and research taking place within the University’s Department of Social Sciences online.