Associate Professor Design and Development
Neelam Raina is Associate Professor Design and Development at Middlesex University London
Dr Neelam Raina's research explores the links between culture, conflict, poverty and development. Her doctoral research analyzed this from the perspective of Muslim women in post-conflict Kashmir and the role crafts plays in generating income for them. Crafts and working within them have changed the lives of women who have borne the impact of the conflict in Kashmir: their new and changed roles as head of their families and income earners has had deep repercussions for them and their families.
Dr Neelam's current research focuses on how Muslim women in other conflict zones cope and their needs of income generation in unstable environments, with limited skills and resources, and the question of whether vocational training could impact their ability to generate income through culturally relevant activities. She is interested in exploring women in Afghanistan and their survival strategies; and, in reverse, the impact on income generation on their socio-cultural identity.
Dr Neelam simultaneously continues to work in Kashmir with women's crafts groups, exploring the impact of skill based training on their income and in the long run on the quality of their lives. This work also feeds into development thinking with regards to post-disaster construction as well as the role that design plays in development.
Her research interest lies within the understanding of the potential role of design in economic development of conflict areas, with a special focus on women. Conflict areas and their presence within the broader zone of disaster recovery and reconstruction have been an area of interest and debate that emerged from her doctoral research. She is keen to explore the mechanisms that govern donor priorities while approaching reconstruction, and is also keen to explore the links between ethno-cultural identity, its economics and its importance to reconstruction.