Negotiating Student Narratives and Academics’ Professional Identity in Times of Displacement: Case Study of Three Displaced Universities in Ukraine

24 January, 2018
Time: 17.00-19.00
Room: Drama Studio
UCL Institute of Education (20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL)

Anna Kutkina, University of Helsinki, Finland
Olga Mun, Institute of Education, University College London
Mariya Vitrukh, Ukrainian Educational Research Association, Ukraine

Since the year of 2014, when a military conflict broke out in Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Eastern Ukraine, there have been over 1.5 million (UNHCR, 2015) internally displaced people (IDPs) in Ukraine. People have migrated in groups as institutions, as well as individually. Displacement of the Ukrainians has been enhanced by the problem of permutation of infrastructure: about 31 educational and research institutions, including 18 state universities, 2 private universities and 11 research institutes with 2,844 staff and 39,500 students (Verkhovna Rada, 2015) have been moved from the eastern parts of the country. As military actions in Ukraine endure, the issue of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Ukraine is gradually escalating. Though there is an understanding in educational research literature that access to and certain types of education could contribute positively to well-being of people affected by the conflicts (Winthrop & Kirk, 2011), the role of education remains unclear in the situation such as that of the displaced universities, professors and students of Ukraine. This paper presents the results of the small exploratory project funded by the grant from the US Embassy in Ukraine which focuses on understanding how the displacement affected education experience of 33 students and professional identity of 16 professors and administration staff from three displaced universities. The data from initial interviews is supplemented by the field observations, information provided by the university representatives, Coordination Centre for Displaced Universities, articles printed in mass media and gathered from the informal interviews with the representatives of other nine displaced universities collected during the second fieldwork.

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