Members of YoungRAPAR, who have been working on a project with Dr Grainne McMahon of Huddersfield University, pictured at the University when they attended and contributed to Dr McMahon's lecture on migration and asylum.
YoungRAPAR is a group of RAPAR members who are aged 30 and under. Young RAPAR is involved in a variety of campaign-focused participatory action research projects, and other work.
YoungRAPAR’s main project, funded by the University of Huddersfield, with Dr Grainne McMahon (University of Huddersfield) and Dr Rhetta Moran (RAPAR Trustee), is about the lived experiences of young people seeking asylum in the UK.
‘Faceless’ The first part of this research was part of a Europe-wide study (Partispace), in collaboration with the University of Huddersfield, which explored young people’s social and political participation in eight cities across Europe. YoungRAPAR was a key part of the study because of the unique experiences, perspectives, needs and desires of young people seeking asylum in the UK’s ‘hostile environment’. YoungRAPAR produced a short film for this project, called ‘Faceless’. Faceless depicted, dramaturgically, the young people’s lived realities, and aimed to reach out to the public in order to create a dialogue around the lives and experiences of young people seeking asylum. It explored the invisibility of the asylum seeker and featured two ‘faceless’ people and their interaction with a ‘stranger’. Faceless and was written and filmed by one YoungRAPAR member and performed by three others. Faceless has been screened in numerous places: at HOME, Manchester, as part of Refugee Week; at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Partispace Colloquium; at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Community Development Week 2018; and at the Partispace Final Conference in Paris, where YoungRAPAR was represented by Dr Rhetta Moran.
YoungRAPAR was founded during a research project about young displaced people's views on education post-16, which brought together three groups of young people: children from families seeking asylum, families with refugee status and migrant worker families.
YoungRAPAR volunteers ran the focus groups from similar backgrounds to the group members, acting as peer researchers. For the young people involved (both the researchers and the young participants) this was the first time they had been in a situation with other people who faced the same challenges in their lives and where they felt comfortable and safe enough to speak about their problems and experiences.
The peer researchers were moved by the participants’ desire to meet again, outside of the research. The researchers and participants wanted the chance to be part of a group of individuals that could offer mutual support, friendship and a safe environment for them to be free to be themselves.
Since its creation in 2009, YoungRAPAR has secured funding and run creative workshops in creative writing, poetry and photography, as well as working together on anti-deportation campaigns.
YoungRAPAR’s previous campaigns
Much of YoungRAPAR’s previous campaigning work was concerned with young asylum seeker’s access to higher education. This issue remains a prevalent concern for young people who cannot access university places because they do not have status.
As part of the work, YoungRAPAR engaged in participatory action research workshops to explore the issues around access higher education and the young people’s perspectives on their exclusion. Some of the findings are:
"No one is talking to us about this barrier to our future"
- 16 and 17 year old currently at school and 6th form
"Being told by college admin staff that I can't go onto an access course because I don’t have ‘proper status’"
- In 2010, a young man in Manchester who is now 23, waiting for a decision for a year; in 2013 & a 20 year old young woman in Manchester.
"At a uni open day, speaking to tuition staff who said, 'If you can’t remain in the UK indefinitely, then we can’t give you a student loan'"
- 20 year old working young man in Manchester (3 A Levels & Distinction)
The young people also produced a short film presenting some of the media created with YoungRAPAR where the members talk about how they are struggling with their exclusion from higher education.
Members of YoungRAPAR worked with Student Action for Refugees to produce a film for Breaking Education Barriers: