Empowering Migrants in Reframing European Media

Dear friends, fellow media enthusiasts and changemakers! I’m thrilled to share with you the incredible work that took place within the Re:framing Migrants in the European Media project. As the communication expert for this groundbreaking initiative, I had the privilege of witnessing the transformative power of migrant-led media initiatives in reframing the European media landscape. As we enter the final weeks of our project, let’s take a moment to reflect on the journey and explore the exciting details together!

The closing event of the Re:Framing Migrants in European Media project, the Community Assembly, organised by the project’s partner organisation Here to Support, brought together a diverse group of talented media makers with migrant backgrounds at Pakhuis De Zwijger on May 11 and 12. Over the past few months, this group has tirelessly worked to challenge the inequalities prevalent in our media sphere, striving to provide a platform for self-representation and inclusion, rather than being sidelined as subjects of public debate. The pinnacle of the group’s efforts was the launch of a groundbreaking magazine called “SHIFT! Actions for Migrating Perspectives.”

The launch event, which took place two weeks ago, was a vibrant gathering where international journalists, media makers, and media activists united. It served as a platform for a community assembly, fostering interactive breakout sessions where participants shared their experiences, initiatives, and insights. The highlight of the evening was an exhilarating “anti-racist meme battle,” providing a creative and engaging way to challenge existing narratives. Additionally, attendees had the opportunity to learn from the hands-on experiences of the pioneers behind the first decolonized newsroom.

“SHIFT!” magazine, the brainchild of this collective effort, acknowledges the alarming reality faced by journalists with migrant backgrounds in Europe. These remarkable individuals have experienced discrimination and exclusion within mainstream media, leading them to establish independent initiatives and platforms. Through the magazine, they aim to share best practices for creating inclusive newsrooms that authentically represent the diversity and experiences of migrant communities.

The pages of “SHIFT!” feature inspiring examples of migrant-led media initiatives, highlighting the exceptional work that has paved the way for a new media space in Europe. These initiatives have enabled migrants and their communities to reclaim their narratives, providing safe spaces that foster inclusivity and challenge racist narratives. By amplifying diverse voices, our friends have promoted understanding and shifted the conversation on migration.

It’s important to acknowledge that this journey hasn’t been without challenges. Migrant media makers have had to overcome financial constraints and establish sustainable models for their work. They have prioritised their mental and emotional well-being while reframing and challenging deeply ingrained prejudices. “SHIFT!” magazine explores the innovative solutions and practices that this new generation of media makers has experimented with in their day-to-day work. Furthermore, it sparks conversations on how foundations can offer more sustainable support to these emerging media platforms.

During the event, attendees had the opportunity to participate in breakout sessions that explored crucial aspects of the media landscape. One session focused on the power of collaboration across sectors, where journalists, activists, and artists came together to amplify their impact through shared methodologies. Another session delved into the importance of language and image use, recognising their profound influence on shaping narratives. Finally, a session empowered individuals to take the media into their own hands, celebrating the stories and platforms created by refugees and migrants themselves.

The creation of “SHIFT!” magazine was an incredible journey that culminated in a pop-up editorial event called the “Decolonized Newsroom.” Held in Amsterdam, it provided our content team with the opportunity to work closely together, reflecting on their unique approaches. The magazine builds upon the network established during the “Decolonizing the Newsroom” event that took place in Madrid last summer and the research conducted by Eticas.

The Re:framing Migrants in the European Media project has sparked a remarkable change in the media landscape. By empowering migrants to tell their own stories, challenging stereotypes, and promoting inclusivity, we are witnessing a profound shift in perspectives. As the communications person for this project, I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve achieved together. Let’s continue to support and amplify these voices, ensuring a more diverse and representative European media landscape for generations to come.

The Re:framing Migrants in the European Media project is a pilot project, co-funded by the European Union. The European Cultural Foundation is leading a consortium of five European organisations under this program, and this project supports the development of a European public sphere inclusive of the perspectives of refugees and migrants. It was launched in February 2022.