Postdoctoral Researcher, Trinity College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin
Prior to commencing her PhD under the supervision of Professor Robbie Gilligan at Trinity College Dublin's School of Social Work and Social Policy, Derina spent three years living on the Thailand-Myanmar border. There she collaborated with refugee and migrant groups on culturally appropriate and sustainable psychosocial care programmes for children and youth. Prior to this Derina ran her own play therapy practice in Dublin. Derina obtained her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology from University College Dublin, and studied Play Therapy and Psychotherapy at the Children’s Therapy Centre with Eileen Prendiville.
Derina's PhD research explored the lives of young people growing up in legal and social marginalisation on the Thailand-Myanmar border. Drawing from 11 months' fieldwork, the research provides a glimpse into the realities of growing up in displacement and lack of documentation; as an “illegal migrant”, facing restricted mobility, limited access to education and other essential services, narrow migrant labour market demands, and everyday vulnerability to exploitation and poverty.
The research revealed nuanced insights into the legal and social precarity which characterises the young people's lifeworlds and ways of being in the world, and the normalisation of suffering and struggle in the quest to create a better future for them and their families. Within this extreme adversity, optimism and pragmatism, resistance and endurance, determination and flexibility emerged as key facets of the young people’s engagement in their worlds, as well as their agency and resilience in the face of certain uncertainty.,
Derina continues to work at Trinity College Dublin, as a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Medicine (Paediatrics) and Trinity Research in Childhood Centre, and as project manager of the Horizon 2020 funded energy efficiency socio-economic research project CONSEED.