Our Migration History: Documenting Immigrant Lived Experiences in Norway Using an Inclusive Participatory Approach


  • Linn Normand Universitet i Stavanger
  • Kimble Walsh-Knarvik University of Stavanger


migration, inclusive participatory research, Norway, deficit perspective, minority-majority perspectives


This paper examines the inclusion/exclusion of immigrants’ perspectives and lived experiences in the teaching and learning of social studies at Norwegian upper secondary schools. Its aim is to expose the so-called minority ‘blindspots’ and ‘deficit’ perspectives that exist within the hegemonic discourse of the Norwegian educational system (more specifically, within classroom climate, school books and the national curriculum). It asks: How can we develop an educational in-class workshop that highlights the ‘blindspots’ of hegemonic narratives and targets the ‘deficit’ perspectives of immigration? How might such a workshop provide a basis for student learning that is more mindful of minority perspectives and narratives? With these questions in mind, the paper presents ‘Our Migration History’ - a community-based participatory project developed in collaboration with a team of researchers at the University of Stavanger, school teachers and pupils at two local high-schools, and the local cultural history museum of Stavanger. The paper outlines the project's learning objectives, inclusive pedagogy and lesson plans with a view to addressing the need, motivation and rationale for this type of workshop model. Our goal is to showcase how pupils in Norwegian social studies classes can be introduced to research and included in the learning process as an essential resource to help document and voice lived experiences of immigration. The paper is therefore relevant to both the research- and practical/pedagogical fields. It carves out educational spaces which highlight often neglected immigrants’ perspectives – so called ‘blindspots’ - and reframes dominant ‘deficit’ perspectives of immigration by taking an inclusive strength-based approach. By sharing the content and pedagogical rationale of this inclusive community-based educational workshop model, we hope that educators are inspired to adopt similar hands-on and inclusive projects throughout the Nordic region.


Linn Normand, Universitet i Stavanger

Linn Normand is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education at the University of Stavanger, Norway. Her current research interests include immigrant narratives, attitudes towards and representations of immigrants, and inclusive participatory research. She is lead-PI for the Our Migration History project.

Kimble Walsh-Knarvik, University of Stavanger

Kimble Walsh-Knarvik has a Masters in Literacy Studies from the University of Stavanger, where she also completed her teaching qualification. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Indigenous Studies at Norway’s Arctic University in Tromsø on the Sámi Pathfinders.