Interviewing Dynamics: Husbands present and correct

Before I arrived in Lebanon, my supervisors and I had discussed where I might conduct interviews. I had gamely listed ‘public places’ and ‘safe areas’ on my ethics and risk assessment forms. But what this actually means in practise is far more complicated. … More Interviewing Dynamics: Husbands present and correct


Takiyah’s Story

We meet Takiyah on a Saturday afternoon in at her house. She lives with her husband and their 6 children in 1 room with a bathroom and kitchen out the back. The children sit with us throughout the interview, one cuddles up next to me watching me type intently, and towards the end her husband … More Takiyah’s Story

Yaminah’s Story

Yaminah greets us like she we are long lost friends. She grasps us and kisses our cheeks and invites us in with a stream of Arabic that doesn’t stop. As we sit, she keeps talking to our community contact, eventually dissolving into tears. My translator tries to keep up and we eventually manage to explain … More Yaminah’s Story

Zada’s Story

Zada is at pains to express her family’s appreciation for Lebanon and the fact that they are more protected from the conflict in Syria, but it is clear that life in their host country has been challenging for them. She says ‘I don’t want to paint a different picture of Lebanon, but it is not … More Zada’s Story

Alyas’s Story

Alyas is my first interview. She is very welcoming, and has the most beautiful smile. She and her husband and their four children live in two rooms with a bathroom/kitchenette. There is no furniture, save for a small TV, and we conduct the interview in a bare room. Her four children and visiting friend play … More Alyas’s Story

Refugees and Forced Migrants: Distracting debates in terminology

For me ‘Forced Migrant’ is not at all a term I would use to describe the Syrians fleeing their homes and settling in other countries. I often feel that the term is unsteady ground to a slippery slope. Merely including the term ‘migrant’ in defining someone who was forced from their home in the dead of night fleeing Isis, bombing, or conscription – gives an illusion of choice. … More Refugees and Forced Migrants: Distracting debates in terminology

Stealing Innocence: The ethics of interviewees ‘scaring’ & informing each other

Too add to the nerves and language hurdles, my very first focus group provided quite a delicate situation for me to negotiate and an ethical issue that I had never debated or discussed any pre-fieldwork ethics class. … More Stealing Innocence: The ethics of interviewees ‘scaring’ & informing each other

Wajida’s Story

Wajida came to Lebanon as a divorced, single mother of three sons. She shares her story, often with tears running down her face, while we drink freshly made Arabic coffee and she sits cross-legged on the floor of her home. In Syria, her husband was married to her and another woman, but the other wife was abusive towards Wajida’a children. So she divorced her husband to get away from the situation and fought for custody of her children, which was eventually granted to her. Life in Syria was arduous before the bombs even fell. … More Wajida’s Story


This is a first for me – blogging my experiences and reflections for the world to see. I had to give myself a little pep talk when I was accepted to do my PhD that I would need to get used to people reading my work, critiquing, praising and disagreeing with me. I was absolutely terrible at this during undergraduate, … More Beginnings