A strong family tradition of generous hospitality and a flair for languages led Professor Alison Phipps to volunteer as an interpreter at the Immigration Detention Centre at Dungavel.
But her life was changed forever when a teenage girl from Eritrea, who arrived in Scotland after a difficult and dangerous journey alone, became part of their family. Alison found herself becoming a mother to a daughter who did not share her mother tongue.
As her daughter’s right to remain in the UK was challenged, Alison found herself increasingly asked for public and media comment. Today, in her appointment as the UNESCO Professor of Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts in the University of Glasgow, Alison’s is an important voice, not just in Scotland but across the world.
Her UNESCO Professorship is very much a shared project of opening out a world which people can imagine inhabiting, one of shared life, relationships and hospitality. As increasing numbers of people are forced to move, questions of land, language and belonging become increasingly important.