(Re)creating home: the journeys, mobilities and experiences of Sri Lankan refugees in Sydney, Australia.

Authors: Charishma Ratnam*, University of New South Wales
Topics: Cultural Geography, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: Sri Lankan refugees, home, visual ethnography, senses, mobility
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Galvez, , Marriott, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Changing modes and means of global mobility has seen increased interest in the study of the movement of people and things in social sciences. For many, the private place of the home is most important since it is a frequented place where we undertake our daily interactions and routines. For refugees particularly, (re)creating places such as the home can form part of maintaining such routines as well as cultural, religious and familial ties. Geographical research on the home widens theoretical understandings about these places, informing the way we understand migrant journeys/mobilities. Developing these knowledges, however, demands methodological consideration.

This paper will present preliminary findings from fieldwork examining the journeys, movements and experiences of Sri Lankan refugees as they settle in Sydney. In their homes I have used a combination of mobile and visual methods to provide more nuanced understandings of how refugees experience place(s). This method comprised two key parts; firstly, a walk-along interview in each participant’s home combined with videography. Next, participants undertook an in-depth interview about their journeys to Australia as refugees, their memories and identifications with the homeland during settlement. The paper presents vignettes of Sri Lankan refugee journeys in order to understand how their movements affected the way they (re)created ‘home’ and developed a sense of place in Australia.

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