Researchers from the Migrant Tech project represented the United Nations University Institute in Macau at the International Workshop on Forced Migration and ICT: Key Concepts and Future Research. The workshop, which took place from 6-7 April and was hosted by the School of Journalism and Communication at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, was designed to discuss key concepts driving research within migration, particularly with refugees, technology and digital practice in various parts of the world. Dr. Hannah Thinyane presented a discussion around the notion of forced migration, noting that the term itself served to disempower and reduce the agency that we “allow” refugees to show. Instead she suggested using a continuum between proactive and reactive migration, reflecting the changing situations that a migrant finds themselves in. Dr. Thinyane presented that by considering refugees as another type of migrant, there was more space to learn from the experiences of other migrants.
Dr. Juhee Kang and her collaborator Dr. Arul Chib also presented their work on North Korean defectors and their use of mobile phones at the workshop. The presentation discussed the empirical evidence stemming from the qualitative research relating to the fraught use of mobile phones in North Korea. It highlighted the persistently restricted agency of the defectors in the process of resettlement in South Korea despite the ample access to ICTs.