They make the Université de Lyon: meet Mila Daval

On The June 25, 2020

Crédits : Tissu Solidaire
Crédits : Tissu Solidaire

The Université de Lyon met with Mila Daval, a social and environmental psychology student at the Université de Nîmes. Mila decided to end her studies with an internship at the Université de Lyon’s Science Shop and to use her skills to work on social innovation. In February 2020, she joined Tissu Solidaire, an organization that uses sewing as a mediation tool to encourage the social inclusion and professional integration of refugees.

What does your study involve?

Created less than five years ago, Tissu Solidaire is a growing organization. To better understand the effects of its initiatives, the organization is conducting an impact study with the help of the Science Shop. This study will allow us to assess the changes brought about by our activities, such as the outcomes or effects of the biweekly sewing workshop for people from different backgrounds, including both migrants and residents. Gaining a better understanding of these changes will help us to communicate better, to justify why this type of organization is important to society, and maybe even to revisit or rethink some of its aspects. This is the reason why I am now carrying out a qualitative study that involves conducting semi-structured interviews with the people involved in the organization. The results will be used to draw up an initial assessment and to design a questionnaire. This questionnaire will then be distributed among the Tissu Solidaire community in order to provide quantitative data and support the impact study. We will also be able to use this tool to measure any potential long-term developments.

How did lockdown affect your work?

Naturally, the lockdown situation has delayed some of the organization’s activities, such as the professional remobilization program, but has also led to new activities, including making masks. It did not have too much of an impact on the focus of my research, but the situation certainly made it more difficult to conduct the impact study. Interviews were originally intended to be face-to-face, but were instead done over the phone, which made it difficult to put interviewees at ease and gain their trust. This can make the discussion more impersonal and can even alter the content of the interviews to some extent. Additionally, some program beneficiaries speak very little French. You can’t use gestures or facial expressions over the phone.

How did you adapt to the situation?

During the telephone interviews, depending on who I was talking to, I tried to change the way I introduced the discussion and sometimes reworded the questions. There was nothing I could do about the situation, but I was able to build on its advantages. The telephone interviews meant that the people I spoke to were always available. There were no time constraints or noisy environments. I was also able to conduct a lot of interviews in less time, giving me more time to analyze the information I had collected. In addition to the study itself, these interviews helped us to get to know the new members of the Tissu Solidaire community, especially the most isolated people who were finding lockdown quite difficult. The situation has also revealed new ways of helping each other, which are certainly something worth noting. Although the organization’s groups and workshops have been temporarily suspended, a new sense of solidarity has developed in Villeurbanne, particularly with the “Villeurbannais masqués” collective. This sense of citizen involvement is something that should be encouraged and maintained in the future, in particular through the activities proposed by the organization (once they have fully resumed).