Refugee experiences on show at Mary Immaculate exhibition

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EDII Director Professor Lorraine McIlrath with 'We are Here, HEAR' project lead Dr Sarah Sartori.

THE experiences of people seeking refuge in Ireland are being showcased at Mary Immaculate College until Thursday, April 7 as the ‘We Are Here, HEAR’ exhibition visits the Limerick campus.

The open-air photovoice exhibition aims to raise awareness of the presence of refugees in Ireland by bringing their voices into public spaces and calling attention to the challenges they face.

Curated by Collect Connect – an initiative combining academics drawn from four Higher Education Institutions around Ireland – the exhibition is the culmination of peer-to-peer research with over a hundred refugees on their own stories and experiences.

‘We Are Here, HEAR’ was born of a recommendation from participants that more was done at institutional and cultural levels to highlight some of the barriers faced by refugees and those in the asylum process who aspire to further their education.

The exhibition features eleven large outdoor boards which display 22 photos taken by refugees on their experiences. Its display at MIC follows an invitation from the Director of Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Interculturalism (EDII) and is hosted in partnership with Doras, the Limerick-based migrants rights organisation.

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Project Lead Dr Sarah Sartori said the exhibition is about taking research outside academic institutions and into the public space for debate and discussion.

“That conversation about refugees is particularly poignant now but it is a conversation that needs to be kept alive because the barriers aren’t going away. The hope behind the exhibition is that people will engage with it, see their stories and put themselves in someone else’s shoes while they walk through the exhibition.

“We hope it will help those understand the experiences of those who are living this journey as they try to navigate the policies and procedures that we have in Ireland for refugees and the barriers that are in place.”

According to MIC Director of EDII, Professor Lorraine McIlrath the exhibition is being held at a time when we seek to include people in our society who live in Direct Provision and those seeking refuge from the war in Ukraine.

“Through our MIC College of Sanctuary initiative, we have come together to develop activities to support those from the Ukraine to feel included in our communities. One of these activities is our ‘MIC Teaching for Inclusion Seminar Series’ to support our teaching community develop supports for inclusion within the multicultural classroom”.

Each of the photo boards includes a QR code which brings users to the ‘We Are Here, HEAR’ website, which includes further videos and learning resources, as well as the ability to log a reaction to the exhibition.

Further details here