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UEL to host forced migration conference

Dr Claire Marshall and Professor Rachel Tribe have organised the much-anticipated conference

The School of Psychology at the University of East London will host a conference focused on forced migration on September 4.

Organised by Dr Claire Marshall and Professor Rachel Tribe, the University of East London Forced Migration Conference 2020 will serve as a platform for forced migrants, scholars, researchers, policymakers and practitioners to share ideas, research and experience and is set to feature more than 20 speakers. 

World-renowned experts will inspire attendees, sharing their cross-cultural experiences and knowledge on forced migration and psychosocial issues. The conference will also allow attendees to propose alternative psychosocial practices.

“In the contemporary context, issues of forced migration and ‘the refugee’ have become symbolic of broader social, cultural, epistemic, economic, political and psychological processes, such as the securitisation of migration, bordering practices and representing the refugee as an emergency, a crisis or a problem to be solved,” said Dr Claire Marshall, lecturer in counselling psychology at the University of East London and co-organiser of the conference.

“If we are to participate and promote a more ethical approach, the context out of which psychosocial theory and practice emerges should be critically deconstructed.”

The Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support (MHPSS) approach understands ‘mental health’ as existing within the individual psyche and ‘psychosocial’ as the interconnection between the person and their environment, explained Rachel Tribe, professor of applied psychology at the University of East London and the conference’s co-organiser. 

In terms of the operationalisation of this paradigm, psychosocial support is often delivered through interventions that focus on behaviour, emotions, cognition, functioning and changes in relationships. 

Interventions are varied, from women’s groups to one-to-one counselling. These interventions are delivered by a wide range of people, from professionals with no related training to specialists in the field. The field of MHPPS is broad and complex, based on a particular understanding of what constitutes wellbeing, and its areas of policy and intervention are extremely diverse.

Professor Tribe and colleagues established a portal on mental health and refugees, which was created as an international resource to enable refugees and asylum seekers, mental health and social care professionals, community organisations, statutory, international and national third sector organisations, to easily access the wealth of information and resources, and practical tools many of which are not accessible in one place. The Refugee Council archive is also held at UEL.

Professor Amanda Broderick, vice-chancellor and president, University of East London, said the conference’s online format will allow the University to welcome audiences from across the globe to participate and discuss these important issues and propose adequate interventions.

Register here.