2013 Northampton


CoHaB Summer School

The University of Northampton

21-26 March 2013

Between 21st and 26th March 2013, the 12 international Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) or doctoral students affiliated to the Marie Curie Initial Training Network “Diasporic Constructions of Home and Belonging” came to The University of Northampton School of the Arts to engage in CoHaB’s first Summer School on Diaspora Studies. Against the backdrop of unusually cold UK weather and a snow dappled Avenue Campus, the admittedly enigmatically named Summer School was hosted and organised by Janet Wilson, with assistance from Larissa Allwork at the University of Northampton School of the Arts. Two CoHaB Experienced Researchers (ERs) or postdoctoral fellows, Dace Dzenovska from COMPAS and Lynda Ng from the English Faculty at the University of Oxford arranged the syllabus and oversaw the teaching of the  core module of the CoHaB Summer School on Diaspora studies.

Additionally, the Summer School showcased talks and lectures by many of the very best experts in Diaspora Studies, including: Nilufer Bharucha (University of Mumbai); Michael Keith (University of Oxford); Linda MacDowell (University of Oxford); Sridhar Rajeswaran (CAS II, India); Prakash Shah (Queen Mary, University of London); Paolo Toninato (University of Warwick) and Pnina Werbner (Keele University). There were also talks by Janet Wilson on getting published and Katie Jones and Sarah Muzio, from the University’s Research and Strategic Bidding Office, on funding applications. Demonstrating CoHaB’s commitment to fusing the global with the local, these talks by international specialists were opened to staff and student members of the University of Northampton, while a programme of social events in the local town was also offered. This included a conference warming dinner at the Jade Oriental Restaurant, Northampton; a wine reception at the University of Northampton’s Avenue Gallery alongside the 'China's Forgotten Kingdom' touring exhibition as well as a trip to local Spanish restaurant Les Olives and the Royal and Derngate theatre to see a new production of Alan Ayckbourne’s classic 1963 comedy ‘Mr What-Not’.

The CoHaB Summer School also generated a number of permanent academic and creative outputs. These included the innovative CoHaB curriculum on diaspora studies which was designed by Dace Dzenovska and Lynda Ng, with advice from Janet Wilson. There are also the wiki entries summarising the School’s main themes and discussions which were written CoHaB ESRs as well as audio recordings of lectures by Linda McDowell and Pnina Werbner are available online.

Furthermore, a list of recommended funders on diaspora studies is now also accessible thanks to University of Northampton Research and Strategic Bidding Officers, Katie Jones and Sarah Muzio.

The convivial atmosphere of the CoHaB Summer School stimulated much debate and discussion and it is a project to which we at the University of Northampton are very proud to have hosted and played a part. Synthesizing research rigor, excellence and originality with a practical eye for training early career researchers in the professional expectations of academic publication and fund-raising, the CoHaB Summer School sought to bring together theory with practice and the global with the local in order to create a new innovative ‘third space’ for the study of diasporas.

 Dr Larissa Allwork, The University of Northampton