Refugees have entered European countries but they haven’t entered the public sphere. When they do, it is as characters in other people’s stories – desperate faces, surging hoards and floating bodies – something ‘other’. We rarely hear from young refugees as experts or legitimate voices.
The overall aim of the strategic partnership “Displaced In Media” is to contribute to a European innovative and collaborative infrastructure that supports the training of a new generation of young citizen journalists drawn from Europe’s refugee and migrant diasporas.
This infrastructure consists of (1.) a sustainable community of practice that entails the participating organisations and their networks and a peer group of young migrant citizen journalists (2.) a shared methodology of media literacy education for young migrants and (3.) a collection and dissemination strategy of migrants’ media works from across Europe (4.) improved policy awareness on local, national and European level for the democratic participation of young migrants in their communities.
We want to do this because if refugees and migrants are to become citizens of Europe, we believe they need to be participants in – rather than subjects of – public debate. In this sense we encourage active citizenship, combat segregation and discrimination and we promote the integration of refugees.
We aim to create this infrastructure through four linked areas or activity:
- First, we will develop a ‘community of practice’ bringing together our 9 organisations who have experience, networks and (complementary) expertise in working with young refugees and media. A community of practice is a group of people who share a craft or profession. It is through the process of sharing information and experiences in the group that the members learn from each other, and have an opportunity to develop themselves personally and professionally. Through a 5-day residential training course, we will share practices and approaches of our work. In this way we strengthen the cooperation and networking between organizations. The partners work with a peer-network of refugees who inform and provide ongoing feedback during the process of methodology development. The peer group will stay available for consultation after the project and for feedback on any future education work carried out by media educators across Europe. It will also act as ambassadors for our cause.
- Second, we will develop a new, shared methodology – useful for all organisations seeking to work with refugees and media. Both an ethos and a series of direct interventions, this methodology will be tested in the local practice of each organisation after the training course. The method will then be developed, refined and modified in a transnational partner meeting, which will be grounded in supporting materials commissioned from experts and “experienced” in media, migrants, citizenship and youth. This will help to professionalise youth workers and develop their competences, which is characterised by the diversity and complementarity of (local) expertises and inputs of (local) youth workers, media workers and including refugees.
- Third, we will collect and spread videos and other media made by refugees known to and made through the practices of the participating organisations and their networks. These materials are important for sharing good practice, as well as providing an effective way of bringing migrants voices into public debate. In order to raise the profile of these videos and this work further we will use our pre-existing broadcaster network to promote these videos on different media platforms across Europe. In so doing we will raise awareness about the refugee crisis in Europe from the migrant perspective. Media made by refugees is as such a representation of the empowerment of young migrants as they have been able to raise their perspectives in the public (media) realm. It demonstrates an act of “citizenship”, which is the exemplary tone this project will set as well.
- Fourth, we will contribute to wider policy debates about how European governments create conditions that enable Europe’s new citizens to become a part of the public sphere by bringing together policymakers interested in this area. We will use videos from young refugees to contextualise this dialogue and a set of policy recommendations, based on the issues raised in the videos and a broader exploration into existing policy frameworks. This is another way this project can promote the integration of refugees.
All over Europe ‘changemakers’ who work with media and young people are drawn to working with young refugees. But this practice is often isolated – many are going through the same issues and challenges, but distance, language differences and time are all barriers to them learning from one another – and stop policymakers learning from them. This is why we work transnationally and why there are huge benefits from linking these groups together.