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Newcastle University Research Conference

Show Racism the Red Card were presented the findings of a research project undertaken by final year Politics students at the Newcastle University Community Based Research in Politics Annual Conference. Students work in collaboration with local community-based partners of which Show Racism the Red Card were one.

Simon Philpott Head of Politics introduced the event and gave thanks for the unique opportunity made available for students to turn their knowledge into skills and address the problems in society “We know our knowledge is good, but what is it good for?”

As an alternative to the traditional dissertation students are able to work with local partners to establish and fulfil policy relevant ‘hands-on’ research on a social issue which develops their skills and delivers valuable actionable results for the partnered organisations.

Over the last year Show Racism the Red Card have worked in collaboration with the Bosnian Genocide Educational Trust to develop and deliver a vitally important educational programme for delivery in primary schools. Written and led by Alba Shone – Senior Education Worker. The aim of the project is to explores themes around what it means to become a refugee and an asylum seeker in another country.

It takes young learners on their own journey through immigration, via personal accounts, writing tasks, interactive activities, and critical thinking discussions. Our aim is to cultivate compassion and empathy in doing this. Why is it important? With negative narratives being pushed in the media and polarised views being formed, our aim is to humanise the stories and history of why people make these journeys.

The 5-week course consisted of 90-minute face to face sessions with Primary school age children. Exploring the need for storytelling, a foundation of history, and moral questioning such as ‘what is home?’, ‘why do people leave their homes?’, and ‘can good people do bad things?’. The workshops take us on our speaker – Smajo Bešo’s own personal experience during the Bosnian War. Alongside this, the learners have workbooks, drama sections, and art tasks. In the final session, Smajo meets the learners for a Q&A and to look at the work they have produced.

Our working group, 3rd year Undergraduates Maddy Haslem, Tomas Bogdansky, Sophie MacDonald, Katherine Sharkey have worked with us and two primary schools to design research and data collection tools. The annual conference held the opportunity for the students to present the conclusions of their data, impact report and recommendations for future projects.

When Judy approached SRtRC to become a community partner organisation, I felt that this was the perfect opportunity to have the programme externally assessed by the young people and for SRtRC to learn from their findings. It has been amazing to work with the students and we are very excited to receive their final report.

Sue Schofield Education Manager

Their presentation gave insight into pre and post workshop school/teacher engagement, operational restraints and considerations, content and delivery style, and communication and branding. The Q&A opened to the audience with students asked if/how their research considered children informing and educating their own parents,  any recommendations for adapting content to make accessible to all children, and links to curriculum objectives.

The conference was an opportunity for us to hear about the other amazing work in the local area tackling issues in domestic abuse and the support women need when in crisis, the role of charity shops in funding local hospices – linking to environmental and cost of living concerns and how green spaces contribute to mental health.

Having the research students taking a thorough look at the programme in its pilot stage has been invaluable. Often when you are working on a project, it is hard to truly take an unbiased and outside view of improvements that need to be made. It was really lovely to hear of all of the positive points of the programme, and we will definitely be following the recommendations that have been made. The final report will be truly beneficial when looking for further funding to continue this project and to try and get the message in as many schools as possible in the region.

Alba Shone – Senior Education Worker

We look forward to receiving the full report and would highly recommend other organisations to consider the opportunity to work with the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology. We thank Smajo Bešo and Emily Scullion, Bosnian Education Trust, SRtRC Patron John Anderson, Dr Judy Murray for the partnership and look forward to future collaboration and finally Maddy, Sophie, Tomas and Katherine for their hard work and commitment to the project.

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