Category: Activism

Little Portugal: Stories of Portuguese speakers living in London

The Little Portugal Project is an activist London-based project led by Ana Có and Carolina Mesquita. The aim of the project is to represent the diverse voices of the Portuguese-speaking community in London including those of African and Latin American descent. Through videos, photographs, and other visual content, the Little Portugal Project explores the stories of Portuguese-speakers in Stockwell, an area in the Borough of Lambeth in South London known as Little Portugal. Migrants in this area have created a community where Portuguese businesses are managed by the migrants themselves, offering everything from traditional dishes to Portuguese-made products. The Little Portugal Project actively enables the subjective experiences of Portuguese speaking migrants to be heard. The use of visual media is effective in capturing the experiences of Portuguese speaking migrants and depicting their work trajectories, which can function as possible role models for other migrants. Video interviews featured by the Little Portugal Project are produced at a professional standard and successfully capture the worldviews of these migrants who are largely unrepresented in the media and in accounts about London in general. The visual methodology in this research enables interviews to become personal and intimate, allowing the embodied experience of these migrants to be communicated meaningfully to a larger audience.

Migrant Child Storytelling

Migrant Child Storytelling acknowledge that every child has a story to tell. Supported by the Rights and Opportunities Foundation, Migrant Child Storytelling gather and share stories submitted by migrant children from all around the world, whether in the form of pictures, photographs, video or text. It is a platform through which the child’s voice, too often ignored, can be heard, and the child’s vision of their world can be seen. The term ‘migrant’ is deliberately used in order to refer to all children who have been forced, or have chosen, to leave their home country for any reason, and who are trying to establish a life in another country. Anyone who is under the age of eighteen is welcome to submit material. If you are working with children under eighteen please encourage them to make use of this site. Guidelines for how to run a workshop with young people to gather materials is available here. The materials must be collected following UNICEF guidelines and with the consent of the child’s parents/caretakers if they are under 16.


Artists at Risk

Artists at Risk is a platform offering Safe Haven Residencies to artists, curators, and critics who are persecuted and threatened for political reasons. The platform provides art practitioners safe exit and travel from their countries of origin into the residencies, as well as legal assistance. AR develops cooperation-programmes with artist-in-residency centres, art/film/theatre unions, cities and human-rights networks which help provide artists at risk a safe place of temporary relocation. The platform was initiated by the curatorial vehicle Perpetuum Mobile who also create and curate events, conferences, and the “AR Pavilion” in Europe and internationally.  

Make Art Not Walls

MAKE ART NOT WALLS is a platform through which West African asylum seekers translate their experiences into works of visual art. Founded in 2016 by the artist Virginia Ryan, the organization provides an open studio to newcomers in the small town of Trevi in Italy. The art tools consist of recycled materials and items donated by shops and businesses. Through making art, the asylum seekers are provided with an occupation which facilitates coping with traumas in a therapeutic manner and at the same time allows them to introduce their stories to the community of Trevi. In their last exhibition in Rose Gallery in Los Angeles (in conjunction with Human Rights Watch), MAKE ART NOT WALLS featured a series of sequential, vividly rendered tableaux, in which each artist tells their story of leaving their home country. Although each story is uniquely expressed, certain visual themes that emerge from the collection reveal the commonality of refugees’ experiences: groups of figures huddled shoulder-to-shoulder in overcapacity boats and trucks; sleeping on floors; hiding in trucks; saying goodbye. The works are soon to be housed in the new Casa della Cultura in Trevi.

Holot Theater

The Holot Theater is a theatre group of asylum seekers and Israelis who came together in order to present the many problems caused by the policies regarding refugees and asylum seekers in Israel. Inspired by Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed, the Holot Theater has been exploring various techniques, exercises, and improvisations in order to address and process asylum seekers’ personal and social problems in Israel. Founded at the Holot Detention Camp in 2015, the theater group provides a democratic framework whereby legal issues can be critically examined and discussed with the audience who is invited to actively imagine the possibility of policy and legal change toward asylum seekers in Israel. During the performance, which is based on the participants’ personal testimonies, the group offers new readings of the Refugee Convention with the intention to inspire public discussion and social transformation.

Migration Trail

Migration Trail is an audio-visual project that uses maps and data visualisation in order to retrace the journeys of people travelling from Turkey and North Africa to Europe in search for a better life.  The journeys can be followed in real time and include the fictional characters’ thoughts, which can be sent as messages (written by Elnathan John and Nadia Asfour) to one’s phone, viewed on the website, or listened to on the project’s podcast.  Migration Trail started in 2014 in reaction to little attention the issue of migration to Europe had been getting in the media.  The real-time story-telling project was officially launched in 2017 as a way to address and convey the urgency and immediacy that the issue demanded, but lacked.


Atlas of Transitions – New Geographies for a Cross-Cultural Europe (2017-2020)

Atlas of Transitions – New Geographies for a Cross-Cultural Europe is one of the 15 large-scale projects of the 2017 Creative Europe programme (2017-2020). It promotes cross-cultural dialogue between European citizens and newcomers – migrants, refugees, asylum seekers – by bringing local communities closer together through culture and performing arts. The project looks at the potentialities arising from the contemporary migration phenomenon and seeks new ways of experiencing public space and cohabitation through art. Its aim is to counter radicalism and anxiety towards migration within society by developing strategies of co-creation and interaction between citizens and migrants, with the participation of people with diverse cultural backgrounds in traditional as well as non-conventional public spaces such as squares, neighbourhoods, and suburbs. To achieve this result, Atlas of Transitions promotes workshops, creative productions, festivals and academic research, thanks to the collaborations of cultural institutions and universities in seven European countries: Italy, Albania, Belgium, Poland, France, Greece, and Sweden. Together with national and local theatres and associations and artists from Europe and abroad, Atlas of Transitions supports academic research to promote strategies of emancipation and participatory knowledge and practice by involving universities and scholars from its seven partner countries. Researchers’ findings will be disseminated on our website in the Action Research section, where they can be downloaded without restrictions. To boost the practical knowledge that academic research will put together during this three-year project, in the last semester of Atlas of Transitions, a Summer School will host and provide training opportunities for scholars, social workers, and artists who perform in cross-cultural and migration-related contexts. Here, artists’ knowledge and experience will be shared and creative forms of active participation for social cohesion will be practiced together to teach and disseminate their potentialities in daily work and life.

Baynatna – first public Arabic library in Berlin

Baynatna is the first public Arabic library in Berlin, opened on 18th February 2017. “Baynatna” means “between us” in Arabic: this very popular phrase creates a special kind of intimacy between people who agree to share insights, thoughts or stories even if only just for second. In the process of establishing Baynatna, our international team relied on humor, trust, and sensibility to facilitate a space for dialogs no one knows where exactly they may lead us. An architecture class from Berlin’s Technical University designed and donated movable shelves and furniture that can be folded out to create a comfortable and warm space that remains open to everyone. The library continues to grow based on book donations and voluntary work. Baynatna provides as a safe space for a generation of readers who have lost not only their homelands, but also their books. Our book collection allows the readers to experience a taste of the home they have left and to become acquainted with worlds previously unknown to them. We use the power of stories to convey cross-cultural experiences and to foster an inclusive and progressive environment. On one hand, we provide literature to newcomers who, coming to Germany, are deprived of reading in their native language. On the other hand, we aim to have Arabic works translated into German and/or English so that people in Berlin can discover the long literary tradition that we have to offer. We spark discussions not only with the books on our shelves, but also through weekly live readings, music performances, and workshops. Baynatna is currently based at the Zentral- und Landesbibliothek of Berlin, Breite str. 30-36, 10178. Welcome!

Project initiator: Muhannad Qaiconie, Bard College Berlin

Migration Matters: Bite-sized video courses with top academics and practitioners

Our mission at Migration Matters is to empower the public to have more nuanced and evidence-based conversations about migration. We produce bite-sized video courses that complicate commonly held preconceptions with original ideas, research, and solutions-oriented perspectives from leading thinkers in the field: researchers, practitioners, as well as migrants and refugees themselves. We are awardees of grants from The London School of Economics and Advocate Europe, part of the groundbreaking Erasmus + Virtual Exchange consortium, and a 1st place winner of the 2017 Migration Media Award from the International Centre for Migration Policy Development. Migration Matters is a non-profit organization that was founded in January 2016 in response to media coverage of the so-called “refugee crisis” in summer 2015. You can see all our courses here.

FLAX – Foreign Local Artistic Xchange: A Network for Cultural Collaboration

FLAX is a network for cultural networking and collaboration, which promotes cultural exchange and cooperation for local and newly arrived cultural workers, artists and institutions inside Germany. We do not exclude any nation, color, legal status (as, for example, a refugee status) or religion. We are open and accessible to everybody. We are supporting and organizing interdisciplinary and intercultural artistic projects. We support artists in developing their individual artistic position or obtaining cultural education in Germany. A strong part of our program is a mentoring program established for newly arrived artists and cultural managers from all different parts of the world. We provide support and, if possible, access to university education, scholarships, residencies, information, proposals, and workshops. Our mission is to bring people from the cultural world in contact to each other. We would like to support you as individual arriving newly to Germany. We will try to accompany you through the complexity of the German Cultural Systems. We believe that a strong network is a chance to develop artistically as an individual and that mixing disciplines and backgrounds are a key to creativity and intercultural competency.