While I am writing this someplace else, an incubator is taking place in Berlin, designed by Beyond the Now in the context of Re-framing Migrants in the European Media.
The collective aim of the days in Berlin is to bring socially engaged artists who are shaped by migration and displacement into a collaboration with investigative journalists and digital activists – to match and integrate the place-based skills of socially engaged art with the forensic skills of journalism and the storytelling practices of digital activists.
The premise of our ‘collaborative incubator’ is to facilitate experimentation and risk-taking (mixing methodologies and approaches to storytelling), for new alliances to be formed. To think and reflect together, to (un)learn practices and ways of working with the aim of co-designing a series of collaborative commissions running from February – April 2023.
The Collaborative Incubator is a space for co-creation and ideation; to pose challenging questions, to collectively imagine new ways of telling the story of migration through the lens of creative practitioners who have lived-experience of migration and choose to work with allies exploring migration through a range of storytelling mediums and platforms. The incubator specifically supports practitioners and actors who have lived experience of displacement or are diversely shaped by inter-generational histories of migration.
Why bring socially engaged artists into a collaborative conversation with investigative journalists? Socially engaged artists are often agile at accessing spaces, developing relationships, and engaging with communities on the ground and at the margins. Artists use a variety of innovative place-based methodologies and skills in their projects to nurture participation and cooperation with communities and audiences. Such as, the process of deep listening, the implementation of visual, oral and performance ethnography, in addition to the use of drama and non-fiction conventions developed through a mix of art forms and media, including social media and digital curation.
Investigative journalists, on the other hand, use methods that are systematic and in-depth, resulting in original research and the reporting/unearthing of information that has been concealed to the public. The journalistic method often pioneers new techniques in its embrace of digital platforms and data. Using public records, social media, and data with a focus on social justice and accountability and a form of storytelling characterized by depth and the need for accuracy. Generally, the journalistic method is reliant on primary sources to test hypotheses by way of rigorous fact-checking and verification of sources.
The aim is to bridge and integrate these clearly different yet complimentary ways of working. To learn from each other through a mutual exchange of methodologies, evidence, content, and different forms of media, including social media and virtual platforms.
A key methodological goal is to move beyond narrowly humanistic stories (often presented as individualistic morality tales) about migrants and community displacement, to research, map and communicate a more interconnected, systemic story. A story about displacement that is shaped by multiple points of entry across a complex ecosystem, featuring many actors, places, structures, and sectors. A story that is inter-sectoral/sectional, comprising intricate relationships between the spheres of health, education, human rights and crimes against humanity, environmental destruction, housing, family and community.
Contributors to the Incubator include Daniel Trilling, Dana Olărescu, Abdullah Alkafri, Nafiseh Fathollahzadeh, Ismail Einashe, Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi, Khaled Barakeh, Sarah Allen, Kit Braybrooke and Juliana Ruhfus.
You know the Re:framing Migrants in the Media partners. Let us briefly introduce Beyond Beyond the Now in their own words. They aim “to open up new creative cultural and political affinities/solidarities for a post-pandemic world. We comprise small to medium arts, civic, research and digital organizations: co-culture (Berlin); Counterpoints Arts, (London); Mozilla Festival (Amsterdam); Ettijahat-Independent Culture (Beirut and Brussels); CREATE (Ireland); in addition to individual researchers and producers working at: Open University (UK) and Arts University Plymouth (UK).
Keep an eye out for the forthcoming collaborative commissons!