Cigdem Esin

Dr Cigdem Esin

Senior Lecturer

Psychosocial Studies; Co-director of the Centre for Narrative Research

, School of Education and Communities

Cigdem Esin is a senior lecturer in Psychosocial Studies and co-director of the Centre for Narrative Research.

Her research interests are in interactions between individual stories and grand socio-cultural narratives within historically specific contexts, narrative methodologies, migrant and refugee narratives and visual storytelling.


  • PhD

Areas Of Interest

  • Narrative Methodologies
  • Interconnections between power networks and narratives
  • Visual Storytelling, Multimodal Narratives
  • Migrant and Refugee Narratives
  • Life Stories in Transnational, Multilingual Contexts
  • Narratives of translation within research practice
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Cigdem Esin is a senior lecturer in Psychosocial Studies and co-director of the Centre for Narrative Research. Her research interests are in interactions between individual stories and grand socio-cultural narratives within historically specific contexts, narrative methodologies, migrant and refugee narratives and visual storytelling. She has listened to and analysed narratives of mostly women in various research studies on gender, employment, women's movements and organisations, sexual health of young people and sexuality. She worked in a feminist information and communication centre before she pursued her passion for research.

Cigdem's work on visual narratives explores the possibilities that visual storytelling and multimodal narratives could offer for an in-depth understanding of life stories within multilayered, transcultural and multilingual contexts.She uses a Foucauldian approach to narratives to explore the power relations surrounding individual and public narratives. She worked with a small group of young British-Muslim women in East London as part of this ongoing methodological project. She also facilitated projects in the Calais refugee camp and London, together with Aura Lounasmaa and Corinne Squire. Cigdem is a member of the academic team running OLIve  (Open Learning Initiative for refugees and Asylum Seekers) at UEL.


I am one of the co-directors of the Centre for Narrative Research.

I facilitated 'Creating multimodal narratives with refugees' projects together with Corinne Squire and Aura Lounasmaa. The initial project was supported by the UEL’s impact fund. It involved photography and visual storytelling workshops with the residents of the Calais refugee camp. The project continues as part of OLIve (Open Learning Initiative for Refugees and Asylum Seekers) at UEL.

I am a member of MigART, together with Corinne Squire. This is a network of researchers using creative and collaborative methods in migration research.

I organise the annual graduate conference 'To Think is To Experiment' at CNR. Postgraduate students and early career researchers from various institutions and countries participate in this event. 

Selected Conference Presentations and Workshops

  • 'In interaction with refugee-storytellers: exploring relationality and mobility in storytelling' presented in Narrative Matters 2018 in July 2018.
  • 'Ethical complexities of Working with Refugees and Refugee Narratives', together with Aura Lounasmaa, Queen's University Belfast, September 2018 (invited workshop)
  • Creative spaces of resistance in narratives by refugees',  together with Aura Lounasmaa in Narrative and Memory: Ethics, Aesthetics, Politics" Fiction and Facts in Narratives of Political Conflict (Symposium in Narrative and Memory: Ethics, Aesthetics, Politics network), Norway
  • 'We were both immigrants but in a different way': An analysis of narratives of Turkish and Iranian academic migrants living in London, presented at International Society for Political Psychology Annual Conference, July 2016.
  • 'Understanding life stories in a transnational context through a multimodal narrative approach' presented at UEL Social Sciences Conference, London, November 2015.
  • 'Looking into the moments of resistance in sexual narratives', presented at BSA conference, Glasgow, April 2015.
  • 'Telling stories in the picture', presented at Narrative Matters, Paris, June 2014.
  • 'Space in the picture: Reflections on research with youth in East London' (together with Corinne Squire), presented at Radical Space, London, October 2013.
  • 'Narratives of Re-politicing Selves', presented at Narrative Matters: Life and Narrative, Paris, June 2012.
  • 'Disciplined Negotiations: Listening to Sexual Stories of Educated Women in Ankara', Invited Seminar, Hacettepe University, Women's Research and Implementation Centre, Ankara, April 2011
  • 'Visual Autobiographies from East London and their destinations' together with Corinne Squire, presented at The Travelling Concept of Narrative II, International and Interdisciplinary Symposium, London, November 2010.
  • Disciplined Femininities, Sexual Armours: Telling Stories beyond Modernist National Narratives presented at ISA World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg, July 2010.


  • Esin, C. and Lounasmaa, A. 2020. Narrative and ethical (in)action: creating spaces of resistance with refugee-storytellers in the Calais 'Jungle' camp. International Journal of Social Research Methodology. 23 (4), pp. 391-403.
  • Lounasmaa, A., Esin, C. and Hughes, C. 2020. Decolonisation, Representation, and Ethics in Visual Life Stories from the Jungle. in: Dodd, S. (ed.) Ethics and Integrity in Visual Research Methods Vol: 5 Emerald Publishing Limited. pp. 11-28
  • Voila, A. and Esin, C. 2020. Movement, Embrace: Adriana Cavarero with Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger (and the Death Drive). Hypatia
  • Doná, G., Esin, C. and Lounasmaa, A. 2019. Qualitative Research in Refugee Studies, Sage Research Methods Foundations, 1-12
  • Esin, C. (2019) A New Narrative for Psychology (book review), Qualitative Research in Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/14780887.2019.1579506
  • 'Telling Stories in Pictures: Constituting Processual and Relational Narratives in Research With Young British Muslim Women in East London' (2017) Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum:Qualitative Social Research, 18(1), Art. 15,
  • Narrative Analysis: the Constructionist Approach (2014) together with Mastoureh Fathi and Corinne Squire in Sage Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis, Uwe Flick (ed)
  • What is Narrative Research (2014) together with Squire, C., Andrews, M., Harrison, B., Hyden, M., Hyden, L.C. and Davis, M., Bloomsbury Academic: London.
  • Guest editor of special section, 'Narratives of Translation within Research Practice' (2013) in Narrative Works
  • 'Visual autobiographies in East London: Narratives of still images, interpersonal exchanges, and intrapersonal dialogues' (2013) Forum: Qualitative Social Research together with Corinne Squire
  • 'You Are Here': Visual Autobiographies, Cultural-Spatial Positioning, and Resources for Urban Living (2013) Sociological Research Online together with Corinne Squire and Chila Burman
  • Esin, C. (2011) 'Narrative Analysis Approaches' in N. Frost (Ed.) Qualitative Research Methods in Psychology: Combining Core Approaches, Open University Press: Buckingham.
  • Esin, C. (2011) Review of Southeast Asian Lives: Personal Lives and Historical Experience 2007 by Roxana Waterson (ed.), Asian Journal of Social Sciences.
  • Esin, C. (2011) Review of Shifting Polarized Positions: A Narrative Approach in Teacher Education 2009 by Xin Li, Carola Conle and Freema Elbaz Luwisch, Gender and Education, 23 (3).
  • Frost, N., Holt, A., Shelbourne, P., Esin, C., Nolas, S-M., Mehdizadeh, L. and Brooks-Gordon, B. (2011) 'Collective Findings, Individual Interpretations: An Illustration of a Pluralistic Approach to Qualitative Data Analysis',  Qualitative Research in Psychology, Vol. 8, Issue. 1.pp. 93-113.
  • Frost, N., Nolas, S-M., Brooks-Gordon, B., Esin, C., Holt, A., Shelbourne, P., and Mehdizadeh, L. (2010) 'Pluralism in Qualitative Research: the impact of different researchers and qualitative approaches on the analysis of qualitative data'. Qualitative Research Vol.10, No. 4. pp.1.-20.
  • Esin. C. 2007 Review of Venus on Wheels: Two Decades of Dialogue on Disability, Biography, and Being Female in America 2000 by Gelya Frank, Feminist Review. Vol 85. pp.131-33.
  • Esin, C. & Kurt, A.S. 2006. 'Multiple Ways of ‘Giving Back' among Immigrant Women in the UK' Research Report in A. Rindoks and E. Vonk (eds.) Migrant Women’s Philanthropic Practices from the Diaspora, Amsterdam. pp.35-46.
  • Aslan, D. Ozvaris, S. and Esin, C. 2003. 'Gender and Health Status of Women in Turkey/Turkiye'de Toplumsal Cinsiyet and Saglik Durumu'. Kadin/Woman 2000.
  • Akin, A., Esin. C. and Celik K. 2003. 'Kadinin Saglik Hakki ve Dunya Saglik Orgutu'nun Avrupa'da Kadin Sagligi'nin Iyilestirilmesine Yonelik Stratejik Eylem Plani' in A. Akin (ed) Toplumsal Cinsiyet, Saglik ve Kadin (Gender, Health and Women). Hacettepe University Publications: Ankara.


  • 'Creating multimodal narratives in the Calais camp' project (together with Aura Lounasmaa and Corinne Squire). University of East London's Impact Fund. April-July 2016.
  • NCRM International Visitor Exchange Scheme (IVES) (CNR project, together with Corinne Squire and Molly Andrews). November 2016.


BA (Hons) Psychosocial Community Work

Psychosocial Studies derived out of a desire to develop a programme in the Social Sciences that enables us to think about individuals' lived experiences not just from a psychological perspective or a sociological one but in a much more holistic way.

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Cigdem teaches in the Psychosocial Theory and Practice BA Programme.

  • PS 5001 Research and Reflective Practice
  • PS 5005 Psychosocial Approaches to Constructions of Difference
  • PS 6000 Dissertation Module

She supervises PhD students, is Deputy Chair of the School Research Degrees Sub-Committee and a member of School Research Ethics Committee.

Current PhD Students

  • Bayan Karimi, 'The (gendered) experiences of Kurdish women activists in Kurdish Movement(s) in Iran-1979-1999'.
  • Masiha Vaala, 'Sites, Places and Spaces in Re(imaging): Iranian Youth and Traumas of the Past'.