Learning from solidarities in times of COVID-19 in The Hague

On the beach at sunset - LEF
Your stories of solidarity - LEF project - The Hague

Your stories of solidarity - LEF project - The Hague

‘"We won’t think what we don’t do": Learning from solidarities in times of COVID-19 in The Hague'

Everyday stories of solidarity by members of communities across The Hague displaying resilience, adaptation to, and negotiation of new conditions brought by COVID-19. 

The LEF-Stories of Solidarity (SOS) team co-led by Dr Aminata Cairo and Dr Rosalba Icaza conducted research on the stories of solidarity taking place in the city of the Hague under COVID-19 and amidst Black Lives Matter global mobilizations. The project main research question asked how could these stories become part of a new and expanded narrative that does not regard already marginalized populations as lesser than the dominant norm?

Using the power of storytelling

Through the active engagement of community centres, faith-based communities and open markets' social infrastructures, this research has weaved together plural meanings of solidarity running along two main threads: the possibilities for collective learning and life affirming practices that emerge across the city. 

The original aim of this research was to understand how solidarity experiences are articulated by marginalized communities in the City of the Hague during COVID-19. These experiences of solidarity would be transformed into stories to be publicly shared to expand the City’s landscape of narratives. However, COVID-19 rules made public gatherings uncertain or impossible.

The research’s aim shifted towards the development of an innovative research approach with marginalized communities whose lives are marked by plural experiences of exclusions. Conceptualized as Holding Space, this approach to collective knowledge cultivation foregrounds an ethics of reciprocity and relationality. Practically, this means that the team developed COVID-19-proof and virtual spaces to listen to and share their own stories of solidarity while practising solidarity as members of collectivities in the city.


  • Students from Leiden University College discuss their research and new solidarities with vendors at The Hague market.

LEF Stories of Solidarity: Students and the marketplace

LEF Stories of Solidarity: Students and the marketplace

Future expected outputs

  • one academic article that advances a conceptualization of solidarity that foregrounds bodily relations and the body
  • a Research Handbook directed to mentors, instructors, teachers and young researchers
  • a virtual archive of solidarity infrastructures under physical distance regulations designed by Hague University of Applied Sciences students with community centers
  • a policy brief for societal actors in the city, including local government and NGOs
  • a series of short films documenting the research’s conceptual highlights, approach and methodology, partnerships and student involvement
  • a series of social media interventions in ticktok, twitter and facebook

Research Team

Rosalba IcazaAminata CairoUmbreen Salim, Steven Asei-Dantoni

Additionally, this project has welcomed two new two new partners based at Leiden University College (LUC): Dr Daniela Vicherat and Dr Jyothi Thrivikramn. 

Dr Vicherat and Dr Thrivikramn joined this project as leading researchers of one of the project's thematic focus on local food markets. They are leading a team of 5 BA students from different majors in LUC who are researching 5 different locations and initiatives in The Hague.

Partnerships and collaborations

As collaborative research, this research has established new relationships and consolidated previous ones. Our partners include:

  • Aminata Cairo consultancy
  • De Mussen Community Centre
  • De VaderCentruum Community Centre
  • De Vaillant Theater 
  • The Church of our Saviour
  • The Hague University of Applied Sciences
  • Leiden University College
  • Leiden Global Transformations and Governance Challenges Program
  • Pathos Studio

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