Those dear to me would attest to being occasionally reminded of my stated desire to wriggle my way into academia and end the rest of my days there. So it was not much of a surprise that I ended up in Ireland's biggest university (University College Dublin) as a research scholar, albeit for a few months. As fate would have it, this exciting research opportunity popped up almost as my enjoyable sojourn with an immigration NGO was about to end. Briefly, the Egalitarian World Initiative/Combat Poverty Agency Civil Society Research Scholarship (quite a mouthful, hey?) provides an opportunity for research ‘time out’ for civil society activists (that's me!!!) to reflect on and re-engage with their work at an intellectual level. The quite generous scholarship provides scholars with the opportunity to take ‘time out’ from their work on the ground to pursue a research or policy theme of their choosing related to their work. My research focuses on the plight and needs of unaccompanied minors or separated children seeking asylum in Ireland. As one of the two 2009/2010 scholars, I am based in the Equality Studies Centre, UCD School of Social Justice and have access to the university library and most significantly to the highly regarded expertise and knowledge in the Centre. It is gratifying to be sharing the same working space with such academic luminaries who have shaped my own personal, professional and academic interests in equality and social justice.
More of how I get on later!