• TURNING THE LENS

  • PERSONAL NARRATIVES IN DISPLACEMENT

     

    Turning the Lens is a first-person storytelling platform on displacement, centred on the principle of humanitarian dignity.

     

    We spotlight written, spoken word, and visual storytelling as effective tools for empathy-driven counternarratives in a time of extraordinary politics and unfolding crises.

     

    We work with journalists, photographers and filmmakers to promote crisis reporting grounded in rights, ethics, and accountability towards displaced people, focused on bringing greater understanding of the mental health impacts of documentation and reportage on both sides of the lens.

     

    Turning the Lens features the work of organisations and individuals putting agency into the hands of those that wish to tell their individual story in displacement - building a network of storytellers evidencing the power of personal narratives to rehumanise the debate over displacement.

  • ETHICS IN CRISIS REPORTING

    COUNTER-

    NARRATIVES

    STORYTELLING

    EMPATHY

    +

    LANGUAGE

  • PARTNERS

    The following features from our partners evidence the use of first-person narratives focused on dignified, agency-driven and empathetic storytelling.

  • WE ARE NOT NUMBERS

    When the world talks about Palestinians living under occupation and in refugee camps, it is usually in terms of politics and numbers. Moving beyond the impersonal narratives, We Are Not Numbers conveys the daily struggles and triumphs, the tears and the laughter, the aspirations that are universal among youth and resonate everywhere.

     

    We Are Not Numbers has established a platform for connecting "word artists" from around the world with youth in Gaza and Lebanon to share and celebrate their stories, with experienced authors mentoring the youth.

    Living among the Dead

    Mohammed Arafat

    The Trauma of Being Palestinian

    Mohammed Alhammami

    Working in the Border Zone

    Tarneem Hammad

    SINGA FRANCE

    Initially a citizen movement, SINGA creates opportunities for refugees and their host communities to meet and cooperate. Our aim is to build bridges between people, encouraging dialogue, fostering cultural enrichment and creating job opportunities. We seek to improve awareness and change perceptions about refugees and asylum seekers.

    On March 7th 2017, in partnership with Singa France and FRED & FARID Agency, for one day an entire Liberation issue was written by 21 refugees from different countries with one challenge: explain beyond today’s news how they see France. A paper by the refugees but not on refugees.

    CLOWN ME IN

    Clown Me In is a theatre company founded by Sabine Choucair of Lebanon and Gabriela Munoz of Mexico. Through interactive workshops and performances, the company uses clowning to spread laughter and provide relief to disadvantaged communities while exploring human vulnerabilities and helping individuals to accept them. Clown Me In has worked in communities around the world, including in Mexico, Lebanon, India, Brazil, Morocco, Jordan, Syria, Greece and the United Kingdom and with Palestinian refugees.

     

    Clown Me In's Digital Storytelling workshop is based on social therapy process, but with an emphasis on exploring personal stories and turning them into short movies. All movies are shown within the group, and some go on to be screened in the participants’ home communities or at film festivals.

     

    Developing their personal stories helps participants to explore difficult aspects of their lives, and sharing these stories helps to highlight the struggles and experiences shared by many people.

    Participants need no technical background in filmmaking to attend the workshop, though most assist in the technical process by shooting footage, recording sound and assisting the project facilitators during editing

    Workshop led by Sabine Choucair with Al-JANA/ARCPA that works with communities that face marginalization in Lebanon in building on their strengths, and documenting and disseminating their empowering experiences and cultural contributions. Stemming from its work in the arts, AL-JANA also produces learning and creative resources by and for children and youth.

    THE CARAVAN LEBANON

    For several years Clown Me In has also produced a street theatre performance called The Caravan of which Sabine is the artistic director. Currently in it's third iteration, the Caravan aims to put the stories and voices of Syrian refugees living in Lebanon at the heart of a street theatre performance by travelling up and down the country recording their stories and playing them out loud as part of the performance. The first Caravan's performance was created in a collaboration between professional theatre makers and non professional refugee artists, the second, entitled 'Back to School' focused on teaching children and their parents the importance of going to school and encouraging them to register for the upcoming academic year and the third, entitled 'Van 12', aimed to raise awareness for children's rights across the country.

    Four wonderful actors come to tell Lebanon how children's rights are being violated and teaching them about their rights.

    A 15min documentary detailing the process of the Caravan project.

    The process of harvesting stories is a very interesting and important process facilitated by the Caravan workshops.

    #MEWESYRIA

    #MeWeSyria works to activate storytellers and change-makers in Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp and in refugee communities in Turkey and Lebanon in partnership with Questscope NGO, UNFPA, DARB-SYR and others.

    THE WORLDWIDE TRIBE

     

    The Worldwide Tribe use creative storytelling to bring a personal, human perspective to the issues that people want to know about, while investing in grassroots projects that make a direct difference to the lives of those in need. They believe that the world is getting smaller, and want to connect people all over the globe in one community of international citizens: The Worldwide Tribe.

    Before I was a Refugee

    "If they've got a smartphone...they're not a real refugee!"

     

    People often think that refugees are poor. We asked some of the friends we made living in a camp in the port in Athens, what they did before they were labelled a 'refugee'...

     

    ...this is what they told us...

    Yaman

    This is the story of Yaman.


    Crossing the border from Syria to Turkey, he faced landmines, machine guns and the loss of his family in order to get out of a war zone.

    Zeinah

    This is the story of Zeinah.

     

     

    The day she realised that the only way to survive was to leave the home and the country that she loved.

    Jangala

    An intimate view of life inside a refugee camp

    Football Without Borders

    The Liberté Cup was more than just a football tournament for refugees in Dunkirk. It broke down stereotypes. It brought together people from all over Europe. It gave people something to look forward to. It allowed them to shed the label 'refugee'.

    Pokemon Go in the Calais Camp

    Pokemon Go has swept across the world. So we took it to the refugee camp in Calais, known as the Jungle, to play it with our friends there

    VOICES OF THE CHILDREN

    Voices of the Children provides a vibrant platform for creativity and self-expression through the arts and media giving a safe space for children affected by displacement and trauma to reclaim their individual agency, positivity and confidence.

    On location in the Za'atari refugee camp filming for "Welcome to My House" music video collaboration with Luc and the Lovingtons. Dancing and filming with a class of kindergartners, Voices of the Children turned the tables and gave them the cameras to film. This is the result.

    BEYOND TRAUMA: ON CREATIVITY FOR HEALING

    Photographer, Tasneem Alsultan, reflects on her time teaching photography to Syrian refugee youth with Voices of the Children in February of 2016 in Amman, Jordan.

    MY DREAM, MY RIGHT

    My Dream, My Right is the result of the Za'atari Film Workshop; an initiative co-sponsored by Voices of the Children and Save the Children that included a three-week filmmaking experience for Syrian refugee teens in Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan. Using camera phones as their recording device, this workshop provided the basics of documentary filmmaking. The end result of the workshop is nine documentary shorts filmed entirely by the teens on a subject of their choosing. In addition, each film is scored independently by music composition students at McNally Smith College of Music in the USA.

    Mohamed & Mohamed

    Mohamed and Mohamed's submission for "My Dream, My Right."

    Khaldia, Marah and Bayan

    Khaldia, Marah and Bayan's submission for "My Dream, My Right."

    Anuar, Israa and Rehab

    Anuar, Israa and Rehab's submission for "My Dream, My Right."

    Roqaya, Nariman and Rahaf

    Roqaya, Nariman and Rahaf's submission for "My Dream, My Right."

    MY DREAM, MY RIGHT TRAILER

    KITABNA

    In Arabic, kitabna means "our book". Since 2014, Kitabna has been writin, illustrating and publishing multi-lingual (Arabic-English/Kurdsih-Arabic-English) children's book for children displaced by the sectarian violence in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Turkey, Iraqi Kudistan, and Jordan.

     

    Author Helen Patuck spent one year developing the project in Lebanon before moving on to the camps in France (Calais), Iraq and Jordan. Over 13,900 of Kitabna's books have been distributed to children in displacement now, including distribution with United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the Norwegian Refugee Council and Save the Children International. In 2016 they were requested and deposited at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, the University of Cambridge Library, Trinity College, Dublin, and the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales.

     

    In 2017, Kitabna is in the final stages of creating an anthology of stories written by Syrian teachers in Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps in Jordan. Helen illustrated the anthology and will be co-publishing it with the Norwegian Refugee Council, building on their story-writing workshops of 2015. This beautiful anthology collects five stories written by the teachers and tries to capture the al-hakawati storytelling tradition Helen first experienced in Damascus, before the war back in 2008. The al-hakawati tradition of oral storytelling has existed in Syria for many generations and the folk tales capture social and moral values, entertainment and heroic epics. With this anthology Kitabna hope to share and add to the storytelling culture of Syria, even from within these two refugee camps, arguably some of the hardest places for displaced communities to live. By publishing these stories Kitabna wishes to give hope not only to Syrian refugee children and teachers living in camps and communities within Jordan, but also to Syrian communities across the world who may want to reconnect with their rich history of storytelling. To the wider world, Kitabna hopes that these stories tell a different kind of refugee story: one of playful creativity, not war, religion and political strife.

     

    The books are themed around life in refugee camps, and aim to create pride and dignity in the stigmatised displacement experience. They work as educational tools to keep reading alive when formal education is unavailable, as bridges between linguistically and culturally diverse communities, as naturally safe spaces for children suffering from PTSD to revisit and reorganize difficult memories of displacement and as sources of hope and inspiration to children and teachers in displacement.

    THEIR STORY IS OUR STORY

    Their Story Is Our Story (TSOS) give individual refugees voice through social media, art, exhibits, and publications, thus empowering them to share their experiences, their feelings, and their hopes on a worldwide platform. Their accounts invite mutual understanding, share common emotions, and help build bridges within our worldwide family.
    Zarrin's Story
     

    All the time the Taliban was warning my husband. "Why your wife go to school and teach children? If your wife goes to school we'll throw acid on her face and take your children."

    There Was War Most of the Time in Our Village
     

    Ghezal has lost her husband, father, a sister, a brother, cousins and neighbours to war and terrorism in Afghanistan.

    Ali's Story
     

    Ali crossed mountains on foot helping his young nieces and nephews along the way.

    Akhtar's Story
     

    Akhtar is an expert craftsman in marble and granite. His life's work. All gone.

    Amal's Story
     

    "My family lives in western Iraq under control of ISIS so whenever I see something in the news that has happened in Syria, I feel lke my family is affected."

    Kamaria's Story
     

    Kamaria and her son are now in their third camp. Intellect on hold, school on hold.

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  • Reshaping the Narrative. Reclaiming Agency. Reimagining the Future

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