Journeys into Identity

Incluusion conference 2019

On 21 June Incluusion hosted their third annual conference Journeys into Identity. How do refugees navigate ‘old’ and ‘new’ identities? What influence does labeling and stigmatization have on the lives of refugees? What role do education and communities play in shaping one’s identity? During the conference refugee students and international speakers tackled these questions. The conference consisted of a plenary session followed by several workshops. On this page you can rewatch the talks and performances by Seema Samara, Naema Tahir, Thana Faroq and Roos Beerkens.

Freedom by Seema Samara
Incluusion student and artist Seema Samara creates a glue and glitter painting with a story during her performance 'Freedom'.
Refugees, the wandering, the worries and the wonders by Naema Tahir
Writer Naema Tahir sheds light on why we should connect the stories of refugees with people who are not refugees.
The Passport by Thana Faroq
Photographer Thana Faroq followed several refugees and asylum seekers and documented their stories. She shares some of the stories she captured and the things she learned.
Cultural identity, framing and stereotypes by Roos Beerkens
Lecturer Roos Beerkens talks about the psychological research on cultural identity, framing and stereotypes. She highlights some of the things that we can do to counter biases and negative stereotyping.


Identity and community

Your identity is personal, but it’s not something that is only formed by yourself. You are always in contact with a larger community. Our community changes our identity just as much as our identity shapes the community that we are part of. During this workshop participants were asked to express their own community through art and visual representations.

Identity and education

How can education impact the lives of newcomers? How and what effects does education bring about to one's identity? In a game and in an interesting discussion this workshop tackled the interplay between identity and education.

Negotiating identities: new, old and inbetween

Refugees, or academic papers about refugees, often talk about them having ‘new’ and ‘old’ cultural identities, shaped by their home country and their country of residence, but in practice it is never that black and white. Identity is something that is dependent on context. In this workshop, Incluusion students and participants looked at how identities can develop and how people deal with having different identities.

The refugee label

The word refugee can mean different things to different people, but it often has a negative connotation. During this workshop Incluusion students talked about their personal experiences with navigating Dutch society and having been labelled as a refugee.

Media, politics and stigmatization

In the media and politics there is a lot of talk about refugees yet people rarely hear a refugee’s own voice or story. During this workshop Incluusion students shared the experiences they had with the media, politics and stigmatization.


Morning program

The making of 'Journeys into diversity'

Diversity is a hot item in education. But what does diversity entail in practice? How is it experienced by Utrecht University students in the context of their education? Creating an exhibition was part of the project Making Journeys. Building Blocks for Diversity. The project created a space where refugee students, their fellow students and teachers could present topics of learning and understanding in relation to their journeys into the classroom - for which there is no time or place in the classroom itself.

In a series of workshops and interviews we explored what these journeys can mean in the context of Utrecht University education. The exhibition ‘Journeys into diversity’ presented a complex picture of diversity through photographs, writings, drawings, paintings, filmed portraits, and quotes. The personal journeys evoked go beyond national or ethnic identifications.

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