Tara Fiorito

What is your scientific background and expertise?

I have a bachelor in sociology (cum laude), a research master in the social sciences (cum laude) and a PhD in sociology from the University of Amsterdam. I identify as a critically engaged sociologist/anthropologist, an ethnographer, a teacher/student and an artist-activist.

My research background, interests and expertise include topics such as migration, integration, refugees, diversity, inclusivity, emancipation, identity/subjectivity, social movements, urban geographies and dynamics.

From a theoretical and methodological standpoint, I work with critical-, feminist- and postcolonial theory, Freirean popular education and pedagogies of the oppressed, and qualitative research methods (ethnography, life-histories, narrative analysis, discourse analysis, policy analysis, participatory research, interviewing and focus groups).

My PhD research concerns longitudinal ethnographic research (2011-2018) on the politicization, emancipation, subjectification, agency and political strategies of undocumented Latino youth in Los Angeles, USA.

As part of my commitment to engaged scholarship and touching hearts and minds beyond academic publics, I co-directed (with Dirk Eisema) the documentary film Undocumented and Unafraid in Los Angeles. I also engage in theatre projects with migrants and refugees in the Netherlands and the United States.

What role do you have within the Refugee Academy, and what keeps you busy in this role?

Connecting and sharing knowledge, experiences and people (networking, co-creating, co-theorizing, co-learning). Supervising research. Participating and co-creating in meetings.

My postdoctoral research is affiliated with the Refugee Academy and focuses on challenges and opportunities for promoting refugees’ social inclusion through engaged scholarship in South Africa and the United States. Engaged scholarship is a stream of research that aims to produce knowledge through close community engagement with the aim of enacting social transformation.

What do you feel is the most important about/central to the Refugee Academy, and why?

Connecting and sharing knowledge, experiences and people (co-creating, co-theorizing, co-learning) to bring about social transformation and enhance the possibilities for refugees’ full participation and inclusion in society.

What is your personal ambition within the Refugee Academy, and how would you connect this to your work and/or life outside the Refugee Academy?

Using different forms of engagement to connect different people, organizations and experiences and to combining scientific, personal and professional knowledge, policy, everyday practice, pedagogy and the arts to make a real change in lives of refugees.