Rachel Ayrton is a sociologist with expertise in research methodology and migration. She is currently a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Institute for Research into Superdiversity here at Birmingham.
Rachel’s work centres around questions of power and agency, and how these are expressed and constrained in communities that are marginalised and oppressed. She is particularly interested in how violent conflict disrupts and transforms patterns of sociality and opportunities for everyday practices of peace.
Rachel’s project Conviviality as relief and resistance: practices of togetherness and belonging among the South Sudanese diaspora in the UK focuses on practices of conviviality among a minority, conflict-affected diasporic group in the UK. She takes a Participatory Action Research approach, working in close collaboration with a Research Advisory Group comprising South Sudanese-British volunteers. Together, they seek to identify everyday spaces where South Sudanese people in the UK come together across boundaries of identity which have been reinforced in the ongoing conflict. Practices of conviviality are conceived as acts of resistance to conflict, and the project will explore ways to enlarge these spaces as a means of grassroots peacebuilding.
Methodologically, Rachel is particularly interested in visual, creative, and group-based methods and participatory and inclusive approaches to research.