This case study investigates intercultural dialogue and understanding, participation, and intercultural responsibility among postgraduate students in a British university and recently resettled Syrian and Iraqi refugees who have been excluded from education due to forced migration and war. The case study is grounded in critical pedagogies that support human capabilities that seek to engage the excluded, disadvantaged, and marginalised; it also draws on the creative arts, narratives about educational experiences and aspirations, and the ecological ‘classroom’ (Van Lier, 2004) to promote intercultural dialogue and contest power relations among these young people. The study is guided by the following question: How can shared and unshared educational experiences, supported by the creative arts and processes of translanguaging, promote intercultural learning in higher education among (included) students and (excluded) refugees? The postgraduate students and youths with a refugee background were brought together through three workshops (over 6 weeks). Before each workshop students and teachers/researchers met to co-construct activities to elicit narratives of educational experience, and shared understandings of home, family, culture, identity, language, and heritage. The first workshop included discussion of photo exposes and learning a song in another language together; the second workshop involved a walking tour of the university and a shared dinner in student accommodation; the third workshop invited participants in groups to co-construct their ideal university. Each workshop concluded with shared feedback in the form of ‘post-its’ and small, informal focus groups. Through their motivation and agency in the workshops the young people demonstrated participation and responsibility in learning with, from and through one another. Power relations became subverted through processes of translanguaging, the displacement of English (through the use of Arabic), and multimodality, encouraged by the creative arts approaches adopted. The study highlights the importance of multilingual, intercultural, and multimodal approaches in higher education, informed by critical and humanistic pedagogies.
Holmes, P., Moskal., M., & Rajab, T. (2022). Participation, understanding and dialogue: Intercultural learning among students in higher education and refugee youth. In P. Holmes, & J. Corbett (Eds.), Critical intercultural pedagogy for difficult times: Conflict, crisis, and creativity (117-137). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003150756