Within the course Media and Participation by Annette Hill (HT 2015) at Lund University we tried to create our own participatory project. So we asked our class to participate and share their experiances about the refugee crisis. Every Blog post is a contribution from one of our fellow students of the course.
Dialogue: Burak and Kevin
It is the biggest refugee crisis since the end of the Second World War. Over 60 million people are fleeing from poverty, suppression and terror. Everyday the media covers a variety of topics around the crisis whilst the number of refugees still increases.
Kevin: Without a doubt the refugee crisis is one of the most crucial topics within the current media discourse. Everybody somehow is confronted with this topic, however everybody has different experiences with it. Within our project we tried to create a participatory environment to use the unique experiences as an asset to show a different side of the refugee crisis – the daily life encounters of people. We wanted to show an alternative to the abstract way the refugee crisis is represented in mainstream media.
Burak: Exactly. We more or less tried to find a way to encourage people to reflect their realties about the on-going crisis. Just like we peek out of our windows into daily life. In mainstream media the stories are constructed around the extreme example or its relation towards political outcomes. Nevertheless, in our daily lives we can observe, listen, read or watch and pay more attention to the effects of the on-going crisis. So, how do we get this part of their reality in a participatory manner?
Kevin: It was hard to find a consensus with eight people leading this project. We decided that to get a true insight into individual realities about the on-going crisis, we couldn’t be the ones who shape the formal outline of the project. Our idea led to a simple question: “How did the refugee crisis become part of your daily life?”
Burak: The stories were really touching and original. Participants had the opportunity to share their unique stories in a medium we created, without any actual attempt to change their stories. Rather than one big story, we used a diverse approach that allowed for the uniqueness of the various stories. This working style led us to reflect the power the media elite has over circulating information.
Kevin: This made our project a little different to what you can usually read in mainstream media. This view is more balanced; media content creates our reality but this project can maybe be understood as a tiny mirror of individual realities. It is not abstract nor shows the big picture – instead it shows many little ones. In my opinion we need more alternatives to the big and abstract world, because if we all take small steps together, we can make a difference.
Burak: In the end, I think the project was successful. We managed to get original user-generated content about a very important topic. Finally, I would like to thank Agne, Una, Burcum, Merilin, Quentina, and Christin for making this project possible. It would be impossible to create a participatory project without participation.
Burak Sayin and Kevin Witzenberger
Here you will find the project Refugee crisis