Panel 2

Intersectionality as a lens to educational inequalities during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

November 12, 2020
10:00 – 12:00 (Germany)
/ 11:00 – 13:00 (Greece) / 12:00 – 14:00 (Turkey)

The concept of intersectionality, which was introduced by U.S. lawyer and academic Kimberlé Crenshaw, addresses gaps in legal and institutional frameworks to acknowledge the interplay of multiple forms of discrimination. Hence, “refugee children” can experience discrimination on an individual, institutional, and structural level based on different social categories of marginalization that are often intertwined and reinforce each other. The concept of intersectionality also sensitizes the scientific, political, and educational field and work to see children in their multiple belongings and identities as they are often obscured in the case of so-called “refugee children.”

In this panel we ask which forms of discrimination against children seeking protection in Turkey and the EU are reinforced by COVID-19 and how these forms intersect within different educational systems and settings. Therefore, we take a critical look at one-dimensional notions of the term “refugee children” and associated practices in educational institutions. We also discuss whether and how the intersectional approach can help to better understand and address the needs of marginalized groups in education. And how can those approaches be fed into policy responses to the pandemic, promoting equity in education more systematically?


Ellen Kollender

is a 2019/20 Mercator-IPC Fellow at Istanbul Policy Center, Sabancı University, and Research Associate at the Department for Intercultural and Comparative Education at the Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg. In her research and recently published book (“Parents – School – Migration Society. New formation of racist inclusion and exclusion in times of neoliberal statehood”, transcript 2020, published in German), she focuses on educational inequalities in migration societies, especially on how dynamics of racism and neoliberalism impact social justice and equity in urban school settings. Ellen has evaluated and developed approaches for an anti-racist teacher education and provided trainings and counseling on diversity strategies for civil and state actors such as the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees in Germany. In 2016, she co-initiated a project aiming to empower communities in the Berlin districts of Kreuzberg and Neukölln in addressing institutional discrimination in schools and in working on a common social justice policy. Her current research project focuses on “Voices of Civil Society Actors on Inclusive Education in Times of Forced Migration” through empirical case studies in Istanbul and Berlin. 

Joanna Krzemińska

studied Dramatic Arts and Social and Cultural Anthropology (BA) and Intercultural Education (MA) at the Free University of Berlin. Since finishing her studies, she has volunteered and worked for NGOs, international organizations, and public institutions in Germany, Poland, Belgium, and Turkey, where she has been active in the fields of youth exchange, (inter)cultural learning, and refugee inclusion. For more than four years she participated at the Plattform Kulturelle Bildung, which is part of the Mercator program “Creative Potentials” – a program promoting the incorporation of cultural education into German school systems. At Plattform Kulturelle Bildung, Joanna provided strategic counseling and initiated conferences and networking events to foster and support access to arts education in the rural regions of Brandenburg. As a 2018/19 Mercator-IPC fellow at Istanbul Policy Center, Sabanci University, she further explored cross-sectoral arts education programs from Istanbul and their role in the strengthening of inclusive learning in public primary schools. Beyond that, she is engaged in classical singing and physical theatre.


Nivedita Prasad

is a professor at Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences in Berlin. She studied social pedagogy at the Free University in Berlin and did her PhD at the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg. She has worked on issues of intersectionality (long before it was labeled as such) from an academic and activist perspective. In addition, she is very active in the field of social work with refugees and is also the director of the German master’s study program “Social Work as a Human Rights Profession.” In March 2012 she was awarded the “Anne Klein” Prize for her ongoing dedication to the human rights of migrant women. Nivedita will speak on “The concept ‘Intersectionality’ and its implications for analyzing and addressing the situation of asylum-seeking children.”

Kemal Vural Tarlan

is a researcher, documentary photographer, and general coordinator of “Kırkayak Kültür” in Gaziantep, Turkey. Since 2000, Kemal has been conducting visual sociology and anthropology research among Dom communities living in the Middle East. His studies, articles, and photos were featured in numerous international symposia, congresses, exhibitions, and other events. He has penned articles on the rights of refugees from the Middle East and worked as an activist. He lives in Gaziantep and is the Head of the Center for Migration and Cultural Studies for The Middle East. He has been conducting research on Syrian refugees, immigration theories, and social harmony. He is a visiting lecturer at Gaziantep University Communication Faculty. Kemal will speak on “The ‘other’ refugees: The (educational) situation of Dom children in Turkey and the EU.” (interpretation: Oliver Kontny)

Ayşe Uzun

is a lawyer and leader of the LGBTI+ protection team at the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM) in Istanbul. Ayşe graduated with a Bachelor’s in Law at Istanbul University in 2012. She then started to work as a research assistant and completed a Master’s in Law at HKU. She graduated from Istanbul Bilgi University’s Cultural Studies Master’s Program in 2020. The title of her thesis was “Impact of International and National Laws and Policies on LGBTI+ Syrian Migrants in Turkey.” She has been working and studying refugees and forced migrants for six years. Ayşe will speak on “Intersecting forms of discrimination (in education) against LGBTI+ refugee minors.”

Tuĝba Tanyılmaz

is currently the managing director of the Migration Council Berlin. She is the co-founder and project manager of the “initiative of intersectional pedagogy” (i-Päd). She focuses on intersectionality, power-critical education, racism-critical education and upbringing, LGBTQI discrimination, empowerment, crisis intervention, and conflict management. As a freelance education consultant and mediator, she offers (edutainment) lectures, workshops, process support, organizational development, and corresponding courses.

Koray Yılmaz-Günay 

is the co-managing director of the Migration Council Berlin, an umbrella organization for Berlin-based migrant organizations, organizations of black people, and organizations of People of Color. He has been politically active since the early 1990s, firstly in the “Schüler_innen-Bewegung” (student movement) and later, after the attacks during German reunification, also in anti-fascist and anti-racist groups. At the end of the 1990s, he founded, together with other’s GLADT, an organization for queer migrants, black people, and people of color. This is also how he became engaged in the Migration Council, where he has been active over a longer time period on the board, before taking over the co-director position in January 2020. He also works as an interpreter, translator, and political educator. In 2015 he started his own publishing company, Yılmaz-Günay publishing company. He has published numerous publications on intersectionality, (multiple) discrimination, and intersectional educational work, which can be found online: for example, [with Claudia de Coster, Salih Alexander Wolter] “Intersektionalität in der Bildungsarbeit.” in Marcus Hawel & Stefan Kalmring (eds.), “Education with the Left! Social Critique and emancipatory Learning Processes in Flexible Capitalism”, Hamburg 2014, S. 118-135.

Tuĝba and Koray will speak on “How can a better understanding of the complexity of identities be promoted in different educational settings?” (interpretation: Oliver Kontny)


Anna Carastathis

is a political theorist with a PhD from McGill University, the author of “Intersectionality: Origins, Contestations, Horizons” (University of Nebraska Press, 2016), and co-author (with  Myrto Tsilimpounidi) of “Reproducing Refugees: Photographìa of a Crisis” (Rowman & Littlefield International, 2020). She is co-director of the Feminist Autonomous Centre for Research. She is also a postdoctoral fellow in “TRANSCITY: Gender, Space, and Transitions in Athens”, based at the Department of Social Anthropology at Panteion University, and a researcher in the strategic partnership funded by Erasmus+, “BRIDGES: Building inclusive societies: Diversifying knowledge and tackling discrimination through civil society participation in universities.”

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