Ongoing Project:

Syrian Refugee Children’s Representations of their Memories of Syria, a Transition Country, and Early Days in Canada

Researchers: Mehrunnisa Ali1 and Cyrus Sundar Singh1
Affiliation: Ryerson University1
Keywords: Syrian refugee children, transition country, Canada, memories, autobiography, art-based research, documentary
Jump to: Methodology, Video, Publication


Objective: This study looks at Syrian refugee children’s memories of Syria, Jordan/Lebanon, and early days in Canada through autobiographical drawings and writings. A short video documentary was produced showing how the children remember fear, violence, and uncertainty, but also joy, friendship, excitement, and wonder, as well as their adaptive strategies.

Justification: Several scholars have advocated for children’s experiences to be articulated by children themselves. We are unaware of any previous research recording the unique memories of Syrian refugee children, This short video document of children’s memories will help refugees, those providing services to refugees, and academics better understand their experiences.

Practical goal: To produce a short documentary and share it widely with a diverse audience.

Primary audience: Syrian refugee children and their families, service providers, sponsors, educators, and academics.


This study is based on a recent project that recorded thirteen (5 to 13 years old) Syrian refugee children’s memories of Syrian, Jordan/Lebanon, and early days in Canada. The children produced autobiographies with drawings and written/dictated texts and talked about these with the researcher during the process. Towards the end of the project, they presented their work to each other in two small groups. All these interactions were video recorded. This dataset, including photographs of the children’s drawing and writing, video-records of their conversations with the researcher and presentations, and transcripts of research conversations, were selected, edited, and compiled to form a coherent narrative in the form of a video documentary.

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