Riadh Ghemmour is a doctoral researcher in education and a teaching assistant affiliated to the University of Exeter. His doctoral project investigates Algerian EFL students’ lived experiences of learning about research methods and writing MA dissertations using Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy as a framework. A particular focus of this research involves interrogating issues of power, voice, and the reproduction of the social world and patterns within classroom.

Riadh’s scholarship and practice is also grounded in decolonisation, Indigenousness, anti-racism, social justice education and critical theories in education. He is the co-founder of Decolonial Dialogues which is a shared space advancing understanding of decolonisation across disciplines. He is also part of the Exeter Decolonising Network and an associate at the MA-Education consultancy.

Riadh is passionate about poetry, storytelling, and Indigenous folklores.

Navigating ambivalence, identity, and (in)visibility through poetry 

Poetry. I have never thought nor envisaged to be able to produce poetic lines to express certain emotions and stories which can only be well-captured through poetry.

We tend to believe that poets write poems but actually poetry writes us…it writes our untold story, our complex emotions, our self in ambivalence. Poetry becomes a shelter, a home, a safe space, a weapon, a dance, a performance!…Poetry is there for us when nobody  wants to give you the pen.

In the following poem, I speak about how the decolonial project is the hope of historically supressed communities for a better, socially justice and equitable future.

To honour the tradition

I start with myself in relation

Relationships which I have with you, the living and the non-living

In this space, we are trying to dream for a better future

Where Freire’s practice of freedom fight systems of repression

Decolonisation is our project

It is my voice…our voices

The voices which have been dissolved in water…water that is colonisation

Water that becomes flooding and expands further…..imperialism

Who is responsible?….Responsible for our healing…

Maybe ourselves? Maybe our stories? Maybe our truth? Maybe nobody?

They say decolonisation is an illusion…a metaphor

You say this because you have probably forgot what ethics of care and love are..

Decolonisation is not an illusion nor a metaphor… (Tuck & Yang, 2012)

Decolonisation is a place where we store our humanness, and claim our histories, our voices and our spaces

Through loving ourselves, our ideas, our past and future!

Colonisation destroyed us

But through compassion, research becomes an act of love….