Beyond the text

Aissatou, Evangelia Prokopiou, Lucy Leon, Musharraf Abdullayeva, Mirfat, Osman, Pauline Iyambo, Rachel Rosen, Rebin, Veena Meetoo, Zak, and in collaboration with Louis Brown (2022) “Stories Too Big for a Case File: Unaccompanied Young People Confront the Hostile Environment in Pandemic Times”. Sociological Research Online, 27 (3): 550-558. — an article in the inaugural special issue of ‘Beyond the Text’

Abstract: What imagery best evokes the violence unaccompanied child migrants feel when asked, or made, to tell their story over and over, as well as the violence of not being asked nor being heard? How can we show both strength and struggle in difficult times and often uncaring places such as the UK’s hostile migration regime? Taking these questions as a jumping off point, this article offers three key responses, drawing on experiences of co-producing the research-based film, Stories too big for a case file, which accompanies this text. These reflections highlight the importance of participatory, change-oriented research that ‘cares’ for participants; the value of creative forms of knowledge production and aesthetic modes of expression for communicating the affective complexities of research material; and, the importance of turning the representational gaze outwards towards systems and institutions to avoid situating social inequities as individual failings and to, instead, invite viewers to ‘walk together’ in solidarity with research interlocutors.