Research to help integrate Syrian refugees in Scotland

Dr Konstantina Martzoukou and Professor Simon Burnett
Dr Konstantina Martzoukou and Professor Simon Burnett

Researchers at the School of Creative and Cultural Business at Robert Gordon University (RGU) have been awarded funding to help integrate Syrian refugees in Scotland.

Dr Konstantina Martzoukou and Professor Simon Burnett, from RGU’s iSchool, have been awarded a bursary from the Information Literacy Group (ILG) of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) to conduct research on ‘Syrian new Scots’.

The research aims to examine the information related experiences and information literacy practices of Syrian new Scots (the Syrian refugees in Scotland) during their resettlement and integration.

The project will explore critical social inclusion needs of Syrian refugees such as housing, welfare, education, benefits, employability, rights and entitlements and examine the barriers they encounter, such as language and socio-cultural differences. The project will also investigate how Syrian new Scots could be further supported to adapt to their local communities, feel a sense of belongingness and successfully establish their identity into the Scottish society.

Dr Martzoukou said: “I am delighted that we have the support of the CILIP Information Literacy Group to conduct this significant research into the information literacy experiences of Syrian new Scots.

“We are looking forward to working together with key stakeholders and, particularly, with public libraries to raise awareness and promote the social wellbeing and integration of Syrian refugees in their new communities.”

The project, which will run until February 2017, is conducted by means of interviews with Scottish Refugee Council representatives and focus groups with Syrian new Scots families in Scotland.

The outcomes of this research will help towards making recommendations on how to best aid Syrian newcomers in their social inclusion and community engagement and how to support their habitual and emerging information landscapes for their resettlement and adaptation.