An Exploration of Intigration Journeys and Well-Being: A YPAR Project with Syrian Refugee Youth uses a youth participatory action research (YPAR) process that engages Syrian youth as co-researchers to examine integration experiences. The proposed study seeks to examine from the perspectives of Syrian refugee youth (ages 16 to 22) their integration experiences to better understand protective factors, as well as challenges and vulnerabilities, shaping well-being, identity, and belonging through a YPAR process. A socio-ecological framework is used to explore integration experiences and well-being within contexts of family and peer relationships, schooling and community belonging. Further, an intersectional lens will be used to better understand diverse experiences of integration with respect to gender, age, class and pre-migration.
The proposed study will engage a youth-participatory action research process that integrates narrative and expressive arts-based methodologies. Stories provide insights and communicate meanings of their integration experiences within contexts of family and peer relationships, schooling, work and community. Through expressive storytelling and arts, youth provide a temporal ordering to their experiences and share meanings that tell us about the protective factors, challenges and vulnerabilities shaping their well-being and everyday lives; their family and peer relationships, schooling, and sense of self and belonging. An integration of YPAR and arts-based methodologies serves to center youth and supports a research process wherein refugee youth experience research as a resilience promoting process.
The proposed participatory action research (YPAR) process will engage 8 Syrian refugee youth (4 male and 4 female) as co-researchers and co-creators of the research process and methodologies. YPAR involves mentoring and engaging young people in all aspects of the research process, including the development of research questions and research methods, facilitating research strategies, as well the analysis and sharing of findings (Mirra et. al. 2016).
Youth co-researchers engaged in the process will be mentored throughout and develop expressive arts-based research methodologies to be used in focus groups with peers. The team of researchers will decide upon the strategies engaged, but possible arts-based and narrative strategies can include mixed media collage, journey mapping, spoken word and poetry, and/or digital stories.