IPS Responsible Research Workshop
The Institute of Palestine Studies organised a research workshop titled “Towards Engaged and Responsible Research: The Case of the Palestinian Refugee Camps of Lebanon” on the 5th and 6th of May 2016 in Beirut. The main theme of the workshop was to build on the multiplication of criticism towards the practices of research on this field in a constructive manner, but without hiding from conflict if necessary. The rationale was as follows:
The Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the most protracted conflicts of our time and has produced one of the largest refugee crises in contemporary history. In the continued absence of a political solution Palestinian refugees remain in exile for over six decades. Reflecting the importance of this longstanding and fundamental crisis, the academic study of Palestinian refugees generated, and continues to generate, a large body of knowledge across a variety of disciplinary fields. In contrast little research has been devoted to investigate its impact on the researched community. This workshop, convening scholars and community workers, will focus on the study of the Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon which have been, and continue to be, one of the most coveted sites of fieldwork for researchers year after year and decade after decade. It asks: How has research, spanning several decades, affected the Palestinian community? What responsibilities do researchers carry towards the researched community in under-privileged conditions? Are there strategic intersections between activism and research in Palestinian camps? What new forms of research are emerging in Palestinian camps? Are these practices challenging traditional roles of researchers in marginalized contexts?
The workshop had for main advantage to be at least a platform in which we – researchers – had to account for our practices in front not only of notable and respected colleagues (such as Rosemary Sayigh, Mahmoud Zeidan, or Sawsan Abdulrahim), but also in front of concerned audiences, in particular field practitioners and activists who were also engaged with research (Isma’il Sheikh Hassan and Mohammad-Ali Nayel are among examples of these actors). Finally, in preparing the workshop, some enquiry on the panelists had been done. What you will find here are links to summaries of every panel and of the one keynote. You can find the detailed program here. I have not included the roundtable and discussions which, as usual, are much harder to summarise than prepared presentations. This post is going to evolve during the coming days and weeks. Of course my reports will be based on what I understand and note from the presentations, and not about the original papers.
As noted above to ease reading these are only links which you can follow to the actual summaries.
Thursday 5th May, 2016, Panel 1:
Researchers Examined, with Mr Mahmoud Zeidan (Nakba Archive Project, Beirut, Lebanon), Mohamad-Ali Nayel (Independent journalist, London, UK and Beirut, Lebanon), and Ms Alaa Mustafa (American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt)
Thursday 5th May, 2016, Panel 2:
Researchers’ Responsibility, Impact, and Effect, with Dr Mayssoun Sukarieh (King’s College London, London, UK), Ms Anne Irfan (London School of Economics, London, UK), Pr Anaheed al-Hardan (American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon), and Dr Perla Issa (Institute of Palestine Studies, Beirut, Lebanon).
Thursday 5th May, 2016, Panel 3:
Research Impact: Technical Brokers and Digital Maps, with Mr Alex Mahoudeau (King’s College London, London) and Pr Monika Halkort (Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon)