Tag: storytelling

Positive Negatives

Positive Negatives, founded by Benjamin Dix, brings social and humanitarian issues to light through the production of animations, comics and podcasts. They integrate ethnographic research with illustrations and adapt life-stories into art. Their methodology consists of direct collaboration with the participants, by travelling to meet them face-to-face and interviewing them about their personal experiences. They then spend time immersed in the local culture to further understand the context and to take photographs which will later be given the artists as references. Once the drafted script receives the approval of the participant – who may choose to remain anonymous for safety reasons – the script and references are passed to the artist. The final result is then released as widely as possible, as a way to reach the general public globally and showcase the personal stories behind everyday headlines. One of their most recent works is North Star Fading, the story of four Eritrean refugees who dangerously crossed Ethiopia, Sudan and Libya to reach Europe. The animation is a consistent zoom into the path ahead of them. The illustrations, alongside the audio and voice over, cause the viewer to feel absorbed and hypnotised, tasting a small portion of the overwhelming confusion and terror these testimonies share.

Building Bridges

Building Bridges is a project which focuses on storytelling through the use of outdoor theatre, crafts and puppetry. This project is run by Creating Ground CIC, a non-profit organisation founded by Laura Marziale in 2016. This organisation promotes cross-cultural awareness through educational programs and collaborative arts. In this project, the participants are groups of asylum seekers, refugees and migrant women, who work alongside the moderators. Throughout the first half of their process, they explore the themes of “home” and “journey” and they develop their drama and puppetry skills. These activities take place over the course of 16 weeks, in collaboration with Theatre Témoin. As a result, the participants have enough material to structure their final performance. The participants discuss the mediums of their storytelling before each session through the guidance of the moderators – all discussions are recorded. Through these discussions it is key to tackle the type of story they want to tell, what kind of character they want to tell it through and what “home” represents for everyone. The by-product, in this case, was a puppet named Nja, who represented a citizen of the world through the physical attributes they chose for her – such as jewellery, a head wrap and also make up. The outcome of the participants’ work was showcased at the Greenwich Family Arts Festival in June 2019.

The Sex Worker Zine Project

The Sex Worker Zine Project is a publication featuring the stories of 24 women, men and transgender individuals, who live and sell sex across several South African provinces. The aim of the project was to generate material produced by migrant sex workers to challenge the stereotypes around their nationality and occupation. The Zines reveal stories of migration, trajectories into sex work, and other aspects of life that were important to the participants. Many of the stories shed light on the experiences of selling sex and being discriminated for their job. Funded in 2015 by the Open Society Foundation and Wellcome Trust, the project was conducted by Elsa Oliveira and Jo Vearey through MoVE over the course of two weeks. During the first week, participants took part in the multimodal visual and narrative exercises, such as storytelling and art making. Throughout the second week, participants selected either a story or a theme to focus on with the support of peers and facilitators. The end result is a collection of beautifully assembled zines that can be found here. MoVE explores the ways in which research can be co-created between participants and researchers, to give migrant persons an option to create their own representations to share with public audiences.

Migration Museum

The Migration Museum presents exhibitions and events which explore themes of integration, migration, and the identities of the people who migrate from and to Britain. The range of their methods and activities vary greatly, from multi-disciplinary storytelling approaches, to the use of visual medias, such as film, photography, and performing arts, to more alternative ways of engaging with the public, such as their annual Imprints fundraising walks across London, in which the walkers can explore the migration history of the city. The Migration Museum has staged several successful exhibitions, such as: 100 Images of Migration, a collection of photographs which tell the story of migrants in the UK and what their experiences means to them; Call Me By My Name, a multimedia exhibition identifying the complexity of the migration crisis; and No Turning Back, an exploration several stories of migration which have changed the course of Britain’s history. The Migration Museum provides a vast range of educational programs as well, including workshops, teaching resources and partnerships. Their educational materials are based on the themes explored in exhibitions. All materials are downloadable and are provided across the UK to primary, secondary and university students. The Migration Museum aims to bring studies of migration to the school curriculum and to expand their audiences beyond BAME communities, migrants and refugees, reaching those of a lower socio-economic background and those with a less positive attitude towards migration.

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.


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.