‘Imagine … a world where migration is normal. Envision a time when all forms of migration are seen as an asset and all world citizens have the same right to travel. Think of a language in which every type of migration is seen as an opportunity. How can we turn the current conversation on migration around to something realistic, yet constructive and positive?’ That is how we called on everyone to submit ideas, in whatever form, on the question: What is the future of migration?
How can we prepare and equip our societies for migration as a part of all our lives? Which policies can we create to integrate migration into everyone’s daily reality? What language would we use if we considered everyone a (potential) migrant? How can we make all migrants equal? How can we make migration work for everybody?
The reason OneWorld and Partos joined forces to address migration in a more creative way is because we feel migration is misrepresnted. If you follow most news on migration, you would think that people started moving across the globe a few years ago instead of since the beginning of time. Migration is often presented as something abnormal and as a constant crisis. This has led to disproportionate negative attention towards migration and migrants by (Western) politicians and media outlets. Migrants are often kept out of the debate. Meanwhile, no new ideas are offered.
Fortunately our call attracted many migrants: from academics, poets, dancers to development workers, video artists and students. We received essays, analysis, think pieces, video and other visuals. We selected the most significant submissions to publish on our platforms and be part of a sold out live event held on September 24th at the Migration Museum in The Hague. The event consisted of workshops and panels on circular migration, youth employment and the framing of migration in language and media to live performance and video art.
PositiveNegatives, for example, participated with an impressive animation ‘North Star Fading’ inspired by the testimonies of 4 Eritrean refugees who fled their homes to make the dangerous journey to Europe. The multi-media project ‘The Migrant, a bird on the run’ by Anais Lopez reflects on the position of migrants in northern societies. Amoukanama Circus presented their personal story on crossing borders from Guinea to Europe through dance and acrobatics. Zuleika Sheikh shared her poem on the position of migrants in the past and reflected on what we can learn from that.
This poem was also one of the selected submissions for publishing. It starts in 1562, jumps to 1878 and ends in 2018, with boats, the sea and exploitation as the connecting symbols in search of a safe and dignified life for different types of migrants throughout centuries.
Another one of our selections came from Özge Bilgili, an assistant professor at Utrecht University and an expert on immigrant integration and transnationalism. She proposes that Europe learns from how the small, East African country Rwanda handles migration from surrounding countries. Read her full article here.
Activist, lawyer, performer and writer Olave Nduwanje submitted a video (below) in which she suggests that we need to look at an entirely new sector that should be held accountable for not only the root causes, but also the consequences of forced migration: multinationals and the war-industry.
Our final pick came from Anila Noor, a human rights activist and member of the European Migrant Advisory Board and as an independent advisor. She wrote an article on how to include migrants and refugees in policies and decisons on their own issues.
We hope these creative ways of thinking about migration will push the debate forward, towards the future.