Having studied English Literature for four years, I made the switch to urban planning after working with artists in Phnom Penh, whose work on the city shone a light on social injustices around urban development [see http://sasabassac.com/].
My research is a place-based study in Bar Elias, Lebanon, Bar Elias is a town in the Beqaa Valley that has changed since the arrival of tens of thousands of displaced people from Syria following the outbreak of civil war in 2011. Young people living in and around Bar Elias are becoming adult in a time and space characterised by urban change and movement across international and local borders. Whether or not they have been physically displaced, young people’s everyday lives are affected by the socio-spatial conditions of displacement that are unique to Bar Elias. Young people engage in spatial practices, which allow them to get by in, navigate and change these socio-spatial conditions, as they attempt to define themselves and their own futures.
I am working with young people between 15-18 years old with diverse experiences of displacement (including those who have not been displaced in their lifetimes), and whose subjectivities cut across different identities (including abled and disabled girls and boys from different faith, national and economic backgrounds). I am co-creating soundscapes with these young people to learn about the relationship between young people's spatial practices, their subjecivities and their future orientations. With them, I demonstrate the importance of displacement to towns like Bar Elias, not only to young people who live there, but also to the vitality of the town and its future.