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How to study migrant workers, precarious labour and community organisation in the north of Ireland : between sectarian communities and labour markets. Participative methodology (video and theatre)

Stewart, Paul and Garvey, Brian and Tijam, F. and Amosu, I. and Tarach, J. and Kulinska, J. and Ribeiro, A. and Busnelo-Garvey, J. and Wazna, M. (2010) How to study migrant workers, precarious labour and community organisation in the north of Ireland : between sectarian communities and labour markets. Participative methodology (video and theatre). In: Work, Employment and Society Conference 2010, 2010-09-07 - 2010-09-09. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This is an innovative participative long term action research project being carried out by an action research group on the initiative of migrant workers. The research group is known as the Migrant Action Research Project (MARP) and is sponsored by the Independent Workers’ Union, Strathclyde University and CAIRDE (an association of communities in Armagh City). The team (six nationalities) comprises; migrant workers, former migrant now long term settled workers, academics, union activists, youth and community workers and media workers in the north of Ireland and Scotland. The research utilises semi-structured interviews and focus groups and is conducted by the team who are subject-initiator-participants. This action research will be presented at a range of fora, inter alia, the Armagh and Belfast festivals and local migrant community events though the medium of video and theatre. Our project is based upon a democratic participative methodology deriving from Freire’s (1970) Education for critical consciousness and Boal’s (1979) Theatre of the Oppressed. In MARP’s research practices interviewer and interviewee are understood as action participant-subjects as opposed to objects of research. MARP goes beyond, while recognising the import of the academy and union recruitment, objectification of our participants. Research aims are: to present our agenda to increase shared knowledge with the goal of participant social change in work and the community; second, for the purposes of social and political change, to link together the relationships engendered between work, or non paid work, and community-worker organisation. In discussing of our methodology we present some of initial findings.