New research project to improve protection of displaced people in North Africa

A major new research project led by Keele University aims to improve the humanitarian protection of vulnerable displaced people in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia - known as the central Maghreb region.

The Maghreb Action on Displacement and Rights (MADAR) - a four year project - aims to directly impact the lives of people affected by displacement in the Maghreb region, where thousands of refugees are fleeing to, from conflict and poverty in countries across Africa and the Middle East.

The £2 million research project is funded by the UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Collective Programme (Network Plus), and is led by Keele’s Dr Mariangela Palladino. MADAR’s team includes Keele’s Dr Maria Flood, Co-Investigators from the Universities of Edinburgh and Manchester, International Co-Investigators and partners in the Maghreb.

Drawing on expertise from across the arts and humanities and the social and political sciences, and from partnerships with civil society organisations in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, MADAR will generate evidence-based solutions to the diverse challenges facing displaced people across the Maghreb.

MADAR will shape and influence national and regional policies and practices that stimulate and facilitate protection for displaced people in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia respectively.

Dr Palladino, a Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial and Cultural Studies at Keele University, said:

“MADAR will facilitate research collaborations drawing on the regional expertise of UK and Maghreb-based scholars; supporting artistic and creative engagements will be at the heart of our approach to tackle the social and political challenges associated with migration and displacement. We will do so by engaging with local knowledge and deploying community-centred approaches.

“The project deploys a bottom-up, challenge-led and solution-focused approach to the multiple and layered protection risks associated with displacement in order to respond to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 16 which aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.”

“Our interdisciplinary, participatory approach aims to mobilise global voices, to improve access to marginal and underrepresented groups, and provide a more active role for displaced people to shape the research process and outcomes.”

In addition to being Principal Investigator on the MADAR project, Dr Palladino will also be a Co-investigator on another £2 million research project - Culture for Sustainable and Inclusive Peace (CUSP) - which is led by the University of Glasgow and also funded by the GCRF. The project aims to prevent conflict and build sustainable and inclusive peace.