Tuesday, 6 February 2018

'History in the Making', a kitchen table conversation at the 2018 Families in Global Transition (FIGT) Annual Conference in The Hague, 10 March 2018


2018 Families in Global Transition (FIGT) Annual Conference, The Hague, 8-10 March 2018 (http://www.figt.org/2018_Conference)

Session Title:

History in the Making

Session Time:

Saturday, 10 March 2018 from 13:45-14:30 -- http://www.figt.org/2018_Kitchen_Table_Conversations

Session Synopsis:

We all have personal stories of our lives abroad, and most of us end up at least informally documenting those stories in some way, whether in journals, blogs, letters, emails, or even on Facebook or Twitter. But did you know that academic researchers in a variety of fields have an interest in our international lives?

In this session, the Expatriate Archive Centre (EAC) presents a conversation with the EAC’s Director, a researcher, and an expat blogger working on an exciting new project. They talk about why your story is important, what researchers are looking for, different ways you can make your story available for research, and how that research can improve all our lives.Like FIGT, the Expatriate Archive Centre (EAC) began in the 1990’s as a group of women sitting around a table, talking about how their own stories and the stories of people like them needed to be shared, honoured, and brought together. Their quest to document expat life eventually grew into a whole archive dedicated to expat life stories. The EAC provides valuable primary source material to academic researchers and continues to expand its collection to encompass more diverse experiences and new types of personal documents like blogs and social media.

Session Description:

In an era where an increasing number of people from more and more diverse parts of the globe are travelling to, temporarily residing in and permanently settling in countries outside of those in which they were born, scholars from an ever-broader range of disciplines are increasingly trying to make sense of the scale of transnational mobility and its impacts on the individuals, families, communities and societies it touches both directly and indirectly. To do this, linguists, philologists, anthropologists, sociologists, geographers, psychologists and historians are interested in gaining insight into transnationally mobile peoples’ everyday habits and practices and the ways in which they themselves make sense of, negotiate and cope with their experiences of ‘in-betweenness’. While some scholars prefer to generate their own primary research data through undertaking interviews and observation themselves, many others turn to already existing material to be able to tap into the lives of people they wish to study across time and space. The EAC, therefore, offers rich opportunities to scholars seeking to examine the social, psychological, political, economic and cultural impacts of increasingly relevant and diverse temporary forms of transnational mobility – from the postings and deployments of aid workers, missionaries, soldiers and corporate executives to the stints abroad taken by international students and researchers to the refuge sought by people in political exile and so-called ‘lifestyle’ migrants.”

This panel, moderated by Sarah Bringhurst Familia, Public Relations Manager at the EAC, brings together Kristine Racina (the EAC’s director), Dr. Meghann Ormond (a researcher in transnational mobility and care), and Lucille Abendanon, (an expat blogger) to discuss why expat, TCK, and other international life stories are interesting to researchers. We aim to bridge the gap between expats and other internationals and the researchers who study them. We will discuss why recording and preserving our experiences, whether the momentous or the everyday, is important, whatever the medium used. We’ll talk about which types of documents are most useful to researchers, and why, including a discussion about the differences between primary source documents and retrospective memoirs. Finally, we will talk about some of the many different ways internationals can make their life stories available to further academic research.


Sarah Bringhurst Familia has lived on five different continents, but she’s still not sure where (or if!) she wants to settle down. In the meantime she lives in Amsterdam and manages Public Relations for the Expatriate Archive Centre in The Hague, where current projects include @wearexpats, a Twitter RoCur, other digital archiving projects, and Saudade: An Intersection of Archives and Art.
She serves on the editorial board of HiraethMagazine.com, a digital magazine and podcast that explores migration and homecoming via the literary, visual, and performing arts. Sarah blogs about her international adventures at Casteluzzo.com: in search of a dream to call home.

Kristine Racina, originally from Latvia, is a self-described “military brat” and has experience as an adult expatriate in Yemen, the Netherlands Antilles and the Netherlands. She attended her first FIGT conference in 2014 and was one of the Ignite session presenters. She collaborated in starting an FIGT affiliate in the Netherlands in 2014. She is the Expatriate Archive Centre’s director. Kristine is an experienced consultant and manager of projects and teams in government roles in Latvia and Yemen, and a number of NGOs and local organizations in the Netherlands. She speaks multiple languages, including English, Latvian, Russian, Dutch and French. Kristine has two Master's degrees in Economics from University of Latvia and Financial Management from Centre EuropĂ©en Universitaire de Nancy.

Meghann Ormond is Associate Professor in Cultural Geography at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Meghann is a human geographer, and her research focuses on the intersections of transnational mobility, health and care. Her work offers insight into how shifting visions and practices of citizenship, responsibility and belonging impact health and social care arrangements and transform social and economic development agendas. For further information, please visit: https://www.wur.nl/en/Persons/ME-Meghann-Ormond-PhD.htm

Lucille Abendanon lives an unconventional life on the move. Over the past 15 years she has lived in six countries on three continents. Her identity is stuck, not so much between a rock and a hard place, as between Dutch canals and the African sun…and English country lanes…and Turkish minarets…and chaotic Thai streets… Lucille holds an MA in International Studies and is a published writer. As an amateur historian she explores her personal identity partially through researching her family, which has been moving around internationally for generations. She blogs about her expat life and her exploration of identity at www.expitterpattica.com.