Refugee Advice & Casework Service

Upcoming Events

Past Events

"Little Fires Everywhere”: Reese Witherspoon, Motherhood & Maternal Ambivalence

Dr Margo Lowy draws on Reese Witherspoon’s character, Elena, in the television mini series “Little Fires Everywhere” to question and reflect on the taboo areas of the mother’s life and how silences surface in her experience of maternal ambivalence. This showcase trawls taboo areas such as the mother who never wanted her child, the mother who lives vicariously through her child and the mother’s experience of her hateful feelings. Questions of contemporary media and mothering are explored, such as: How are mothers presented in the current media? Is this a genuine representation? Have expectations about mothering changed? Do we identify with Elena? This conversation will disrupt our pre-conceived views about mothering from a psychic and social perspective.

The first On the Pulse seminar will be hosted by Associate Professor Mary Zournazi


17 May 2023

During this hybrid event Professor Jane McAdam will moderate a panel discussion with the book’s authors Eileen Pittaway and Linda Bartolomei and one of their key collaborators, Apajok Biar, a former refugee from Sudan and Chair of the Women Gender and Diversity Working Group, Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network.

They will share a series of short film clips of their work with refugee women and girls in refugee camps and at the United Nations and discuss their motivations for their 33 years of research and advocacy to address sexual and gender-based violence and support gender equality for refugee women and girls, and the importance of rigorous academic analysis as part of advocacy Apajok Biar will speak briefly to her part in this research and advocacy journey and to the importance of working with refugee women and girls as equal partners.

This book charts the roller coaster ride taken by the authors over the past 33 years, in the ongoing fight to acknowledge, prevent, and respond to the rape and sexual abuse of women in conflict and displacement situations. They have worked with an international network of academics, refugee women, and human rights activists in 22 countries. The story moves between refugee camps and the United Nations, refugee settlements in cities and national governments. Theory and ethical research methods are an important part of the story. At times it is very confronting, sometimes amusing and often uplifting.