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Final Conference

The SOGICA final conference is on 7-8 July 2020 at the University of Sussex, Brighton (UK). Below are details including how to register (deadline: 30 April) and how to contribute to our bursary fund.

 

Invitation to register

The SOGICA project final conference is now open for registration and we are pleased to invite you to reserve your place. The conference will take place at the University of Sussex, Brighton, UK on 7-8 July 2020. The conference will:

  • present the SOGICA project findings and recommendations;
  • give a platform to academics, policy makers, practitioners, activists and refugees addressing sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) asylum in innovative ways;
  • foster interdisciplinary, cross-sector and international engagement between individuals with an interest in this topic, including those most directly involved as asylum claimants in European countries.

About the project

SOGICA – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Claims of Asylum: A European human rights challenge’ is a four-year project (2016-2020) funded by the European Research Council (ERC). Based in the School of Law at the University of Sussex, it aims to produce the necessary evidence base for a more just and humane asylum process for individuals seeking refuge in Europe on the basis of their SOGI.

To this end, since 2016, the project has studied the social and legal experiences of SOGI asylum claimants across Europe, by exploring the European Union (EU) and Council of Europe (CoE) frameworks and by focusing on Germany, Italy and the UK as case studies. During this time, SOGICA has carried out more than 150 interviews and focus group discussions with asylum claimants, refugees, decision-makers, practitioners, and experts in the field, and has conducted observations of hearings of SOGI claimants in courts and tribunals. The team has produced a number of publications on different aspects of SOGI asylum (such as credibility, persecution, discretion, domestic and European adjudication of these claims) and made presentations at conferences and seminars across Europe. A database of materials, website of resources and network of more than 1,000 friends and allies beyond academia has been established. The SOGICA project will conclude in 2020 with the publication of a monograph and further peer-reviewed articles, all of which are intended to inform fairer SOGI asylum processes in Europe and greater sensitivity and humanity for SOGI minorities outside the legal process.

Deadline

The registration deadline is 30 April 2020.

Who should attend

We look forward to welcoming asylum claimants and refugees, academics, policy makers, practitioners, activists, and anyone with an interest in sexual orientation and gender identity asylum. Registration is being publicised alongside our call for submissions (see below) which closes on Wednesday 22 January 2020.

Fee and bursaries

Conference registration is free. However, we are keen to provide bursaries to enable some of the project participants – asylum claimants, refugees and activists – to take part, and do not have the resources to do this. We are thus asking participants who feel able to do so to contribute to a bursary fund using the link on the University of Sussex registration web page. We are very grateful to everyone who contributes. All funds raised will pay for modest travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses of individuals who have generously contributed to the SOGICA fieldwork without reimbursement and who would otherwise be unable to take part in the conference.

Please let us know when you register if you would like to apply for a bursary and we will contact you after the closing date for registration.

Registration is limited to 100 people on a first-come-first-served basis. If you register and subsequently find that you are unable to attend, please email us at info@sogica.org and we will offer your place to someone else.

Accommodation

Accommodation in Brighton is in high demand and can become expensive or unavailable. We therefore encourage you to make your accommodation arrangements as soon as possible. You can follow this link to choose from some alternatives made available through Visit Brighton, including some accommodation at the University of Sussex. You may also wish to look into Couch Surfing or Hospitality Club for cost-free alternatives. If you are willing to share your home or rented accommodation for free with another conference participant, please let us know and we can put you in touch with other participants we are not able to afford accommodation.

Specific requirements

Please let us know of your dietary and access requirements when you register and we will do our best to meet your needs.

Further details, including the provisional programme and keynote speakers, will appear on the project website in due course.

Please feel free to contact info@sogica.org with any questions you have about the event.

You may download our invitation to register here.

 

SOGICA conference bursary fund

The SOGICA project has established a bursary fund and is seeking support in sponsoring LGBTIQ+ asylum claimants, refugees and supporters without other sources of funding to come and participate in the SOGICA conference in July.

As part of the project, we have interviewed LGBTIQ+ asylum claimants refugees and people working to support them in small NGOs and community groups. They have generously given us their time and we are keen that they have the opportunity to take part in the final conference.

We hope to raise a total of £12,000-£15,000 to enable 30 or 40 people, mainly from our project fieldwork countries of the UK, Germany and Italy, to attend the conference. We estimate the average bursary will be £250 (varying above or below this amount depending on location). We hope enough people will sponsor one or more bursaries to reach our goal.

All funds raised will pay directly for budget travel, two days modest accommodation in Brighton, and a small amount of subsistence to the participant for local travel and meals. Bursaries will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, prioritising our interviewees. Conference registration is free and the online registration form asks whether a bursary to attend is required.

Any support you wish to give to will be greatly appreciated and will be acknowledged (on a named or anonymous basis, as preferred) at the conference and on our website. You can contribute using the University of Sussex website link.

Please contact us if you would like to support someone directly or in other ways, or if you have any suggestions for us.

 

Call for submissions (this call is now closed)

The SOGICA project is pleased to announce a call for submissions for its final conference taking place at the University of Sussex, Brighton, UK on 7-8 July 2020. The conference will:

  • present the SOGICA project findings and recommendations;
  • give a platform to academics, policy makers, practitioners, activists and refugees addressing sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) asylum in innovative ways;
  • foster interdisciplinary, cross-sector and international engagement between individuals with an interest in this topic, including those most directly involved as asylum claimants in European countries.

About the project

‘SOGICA – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Claims of Asylum: A European human rights challenge’ is a four-year project (2016-2020) funded by the European Research Council (ERC). Based in the School of Law at the University of Sussex, it will produce the necessary evidence base for a more just and humane asylum process for individuals seeking refuge in Europe on the basis of their SOGI.

Considering the frequently unfair treatment of SOGI asylum claims, the disproportionately high refusal rate, and the particular difficulties in establishing SOGI claims (in particular concerning credibility, relocation and discretion), the project addresses the following questions:

  • How have European countries incorporated SOGI related human rights violations into asylum policies?
  • How do these violations constitute, and how are they seen to constitute, causes of asylum requests?
  • How are SOGI related asylum claims legally adjudicated at domestic, EU and Council of Europe levels?
  • Does the legal adjudication of SOGI related asylum claims influence claimants’ identity and integration in the host society and community of fellow nationals/ethnic group? If so, how?
  • How can domestic, EU and Council of Europe legal frameworks adjudicate SOGI related asylum claims more fairly?

Submission details

We welcome submissions on a range of relevant topics, including, but not restricted to:

  • The SOGICA project questions above;
  • Country of origin factors;
  • Social integration of SOGI asylum claimants and refugees;
  • Roles of different actors at international, regional and national level, including United Nations, Council of Europe, European Union, domestic asylum authorities, NGOs and support groups;
  • Theoretical approaches to SOGI asylum, including those building on queer theory, feminism, human rights, intersectionality and homonationalism;
  • Practical work presenting new ways of addressing specific group and individual needs;
  • Interpreting and SOGI asylum;
  • SOGI asylum in the context of asylum reforms and policies, including externalisation of migration controls, at EU, German, Italian and UK level;
  • Comparative work on SOGI asylum policies and experiences in different European states – including the SOGICA project fieldwork countries of Germany, Italy and the UK – and beyond;
  • Methodological analysis, including ethical issues in relation to research with SOGI claimants;
  • Social experiences of SOGI claimants, including the role of place and space;
  • ‘Vulnerability’ and SOGI claims;
  • Activism and lobbying in the field of SOGI asylum.

Proposals can take the form of individual oral presentations, panels or thematic sessions, posters, workshops, dramatic and interactive sessions. You may also be able to give a paper via Skype, depending on conference space and project resources.

Exhibition space will be available at the conference, details of which will be published on our website in due course. Individuals and organisations attending the conference will be offered the opportunity to have a stand and distribute materials related to their SOGI and asylum related work.

Submissions should be made by email by Wednesday 22 January to info@sogica.org and include:

  • Title of the submission;
  • Abstract of up to 300 words;
  • If not an oral paper presentation, specify duration, space or other presentation requirements;
  • Contact details and brief biography (up to 50 words) for each author.

We will respond to all submissions by 22 February 2020.

Conference papers and other submissions can be published on the SOGICA project website after the event, with the permission of the authors. For these purposes, authors are asked to submit a final version of their work by 30 June 2020.

Please contact info@sogica.org with any questions.

You may download our call for submissions here. Remember: the deadline is 22 January 2020!