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EU Horizon 2020 funding to enhance the lives of migrant children

Migrant mother with two teenage sons

An OU academic has won EU funding for a research project which aims to enhance the lives of migrant children and young people in education.

Sarah Crafter, OU Professor of Cultural-Developmental Psychology, will play an important part in the new project titled NEW ABC: Networking the educational world – Across boundaries for community-building.

The overall project, which received just over €3,000,000 from the EU Horizon 2020 fund is led by Professor Rachele Antonini at the University of Bologna and involves 14 institutions from nine different countries – one of which will be the OU.

Empowering young interpreters

Professor Crafter has been awarded almost €400,000 and will work in collaboration with Oxford Brookes University on the OU UK innovation action, which begins in January 2021 and will focus on empowering young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, who take on the role translator or interpreter for their family members, peers or local community (sometimes known as child language brokering). The research team will work collaboratively with young people in the 13-18 age group to give them the skills to design and develop resources, materials and activities that might be aimed at supporting other young interpreters, school educators or families. The innovation action will run in a school in Bedfordshire, UK, where these young translators will work with a club of 10 peers. During the second half of the 44-month project, the UK team also aims to run an innovation action developed in one of the other partner countries, in a school in Oxfordshire.

Focusing on emotional wellbeing

On receiving the funding, Professor Crafter said:

“We are really delighted to be working on this project which seeks to support young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds as they face inequalities and conflicts in learning settings. Young people are facing some really big challenges in their lives at the moment and our approach is to develop young-person led innovative activities.

“There are one or two really great examples of peer mentoring programmes for young interpreters and translators in schools, but they often focus on very practical aspects such buddy schemes or improving communication and leadership skills. Our innovative action will also focus on the emotional and wellbeing aspects and to enhance young people’s understandings of translating and interpreting as a caring practice. We hope to create resources for both the young translator, and those who connect with them during interactions, to build feelings of trust, value, belonging and acceptance – recognising these young people sometimes juggle these roles which vary considerably and are bound to grow at a time when community translation services have been cut significantly.”

Working at scale globally

EU Horizon 2020 is the world's largest EU Research and Innovation programme with nearly €80 billion of funding available over seven years.

Other partners on this project are:

Università di Torino, Italy, University of Jyväskylä, Finland, Synthesis, Cyprus, Interkulturalni PL Association, Poland, Istitituto Comprensivo 1, Forlì, Italy, Combo, France, Universidade do Porto, Portugal, Active Citizen Europe, Belgium, Elhuyar, Spain, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain, União de Refugiados em Portugal, Portugal

Find out more about OU research in psychology

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