Dr Neelam Raina
Neelam Raina is an Associate Professor of Design and Development at Middlesex University, London. Her research interests include conflict, security, peace building, material cultures, gender, and livelihood generation. Neelam works mainly in South Asia with a focus on Kashmir where she has conducted primary research over the last two decades both in Indian and Pakistan administered Kashmir. The Women, Peace and Security Agenda is key to Neelam’s work. Her research seeks to foreground voices of vulnerable and marginalised women within fragile, conflict affected areas.
Dr Raina has led several funded research projects which examine material and social practices through which Muslim women in conflict areas reproduce themselves on a daily and generational basis and through which the social relations and material bases of capitalism are renewed to understand both the costs of conflict and the connections between vastly different sites of production. Her work allows connections to be built between, creative home-based workers who are largely seen as peripheral, to development economics, and on the fringes of formal employment and contributors to GDP; to the larger notions of peace building, countering and preventing violent extremism, poverty spirals and conflict theory through culturally significant, socially relevant practices.
Neelam has also worked in Kurdistan and Southern Iraq on the impact of the long-standing conflict in Iraq from the perspective of the Iraqi and Kurdish craftspeople. Her research looks at socio-economic changes in Iraq’s craft tradition, with a special focus on the craftswomen of Samawah in the south and Erbil in the Kurdish north. Raina’s work explores notions of healing, trauma, peace and reflection through the embodied practices of making, using material culture as the underpinning for approaching violence and peace building and for sustainable income generation, that in turn could contribute towards socio-economic reconstruction and post-conflict development.
Neelam has a PhD in Design and Development, and a Masters in Design and Manufacture from De Montfort University, Leicester. She also has a post graduate degree in Textile Design at NIFT in New Delhi. Raina did an undergraduate degree in History (Hons) at Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi University and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and also holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education. She has been a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics at the Centre for Women, Peace and Security. She is an editor for the International Journal of Traditional Arts, and her new work ‘Creative Economies of Culture in South Asia – Performers and Craftspeople’ comes out in 2021. Raina serves on the strategic advisory boards of research think tanks and multi donor projects.
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