Women refugees chronicle COVID experiences in a creative research project

by Margie Cheesman, volunteer editor

The Open University (OU) is marking International Women’s Day with a social media campaign to ‘cut through the global chatter’ and focus attention on the perspectives of women asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in the UK and beyond.

Many of these perspectives come from women based in Swansea.

The OU’s digital ethnography project COVID-19 Chronicles has created a ‘living archive’ of stories, artwork, videos, and testimonies from marginalised groups navigating the pandemic.

Without partnerships with grassroots organisations like SASS, this work would not be possible. SASS has been a key partner in facilitating the research, and Swansea-based refugees and asylum seekers are a core part of the research team.

The SASS ‘telephone tree’ – a supportive network of people and phones – has not only mitigated disconnection, isolation, destitution, and material need in Swansea. Through the COVID-19 Chronicles project, the telephone tree has also provided a safe way for people to voice their experiences in this extraordinary historical moment.

The OU has also worked closely with SASS sister projects, Swansea Women’s Group, Share Tawe, and Swansea City of Sanctuary.

Check out Share Tawe’s Facebook page for information about International Women’s Day activities. If you are interested in contributing to this research, please get in touch.

‘They let us go and we hugged each other tighter’. Picture by Afghani refugee and feminist activist Sweeta Durrani for International Women’s Day.