Talking About Migration

How are migration and migrants/refugees represented in the media? How can we improve public conversations about migration from the grassroots up? 

What did the project involve? 

This project sought to use Bristol’s Hatchling Event to take a distinctively Bristol look at migration, to widen the range of people that the University engages with, and to design a method for public engagement with issues around migration and asylum.

The project was conducted in three phases:

Phase 1: Workshop 1: Decoding Migration in the Media.

Following the School of Sociology, Politics, and International Studies (SPAIS) model of ‘Decoding Gender in the Media’ and the ‘Decoding Diversity in the Media’ workshops run by SPAIS for local schools, this project developed a session ‘Decoding Migration in the Media’. This started from the question ‘Who counts as a migrant?’. It analyzed local and national media portrayals of migration and gave participants basic background on migration to Bristol past and present and enabled participants to critically analyze media representations of migration issues. It was facilitated by postgraduates, supported by Bridget Anderson. The project ran two workshops with schools, the Creative Youth Network & Bristol Old Vic. Participants cooperated to produce the analysis and discuss its implications.

Phase 2: Workshop 2: Discussing immigration.

The project used this analysis to work with facilitator Pete Cranston to develop techniques to discuss immigration that respectfully allowed a range of different views but allowed the group to identify racism and discrimination and how these are implicated in debates on migration. They ran a follow-up workshop with previous attendees to trial and refine the methods, making them suitable for a Bristol audience.

Phase 3: Performance/blogs preparation 

Following the third workshop, the team worked with workshop participants and leaders at Bristol Old Vic and Creative Youth Network to consider what their presentation will be at the Hatchling event. This could be blog writing, performances, or facilitating their own debates onsite. These contributions drew on the insights derived from the previous workshops to inform these modes of public engagement on issues of migration. Running alongside the Hatchling event, these were an opportunity to contribute to improved public conversation about migration, who migrants are, the impact of migration and mobility and the kinds of rights and obligations that should be accorded to migrants.

Who are the team and what do they bring?

  • Angie Bual (Trigger) is a producer and artistic director of Trigger. She is a consultant and freelance independent producer. She has 10 years of producing experience, and has initiated and run several cross artform and sector projects.
  • Therese O’Toole (Sociology, Politics and International Studies, University of Bristol) is a researcher interests in the fields of ethnicity, governance, political activism and social movements. She is a member of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship.
  • Bridget Anderson (University of Bristol) is a researcher who explores human movement, and related experiences, politics, policies and practices, starting from a recognition that the differences between ‘migrant’ and ‘citizen’ are socially and legally constructed.
  • Pete Cranston (Euforic Services) is co-director of Euforic Services and was a Euforic Associate from 2007. Pete is an ICT, Communication and New Media specialist, with long experience as a facilitator and trainer.