Exploring Diverse Adolescents & Youth Education Across the Displacement Linear: Education in Emergencies (EiE) Experiences and Colonial Entanglements

Jessica Oddy
University of East London

This thesis explores diverse, forcibly displaced youths’ experiences of education in emergencies (EiE) responses in South Sudan, the UK and Jordan and how colonial legacies continue to permeate the types and modes of education programmes that are designed, funded, and implemented. This thesis draws on the Black radical tradition (BRT) as a conceptual and methodological framing. In addition, connecting EiE and BRT scholarship enables new discourses that counter hegemonic and ahistorical narratives of aid to surface and instead illustrate power asymmetries, coloniality, and conflict-affected communities’ cultural wealth in challenging limited educational opportunities. This study intends to contribute to critical EiE scholarship, highlighting the heterogeneity of forcibly displaced youth and challenging universalising discourses that erase the EiE experiences of racialised and othered identities. To explore the research inquiry, I use a multi-sited, multi-scalar research approach to co- design a digital storytelling action research praxis with 60 young people in South Sudan, Jordan and the UK, alongside 26 key informant interviews with EiE practitioners to address the research areas. The key findings highlighted that intersectionality matters in EIE, in that forcibly displaced young people’s educational experiences are intimately connected to their situated positions, often shaped by colonialism. Similarly, these dynamics profoundly impact and shape the EiE sector. Notwithstanding, some young people resist limited education trajectories, in myriad ways, from leveraging family and community networks to exercising personal agency, seeking out, and setting up learning opportunities. A secondary objective of this study is to challenge the dominant modes of knowledge production and ways of working in the EiE field and to interrogate its conceptual framings by bringing to the fore the issues that young people want to highlight in their educational experiences when enabled to do so through using the digital storytelling research praxis.