Hari Reed, Research Assistant for Refugee History, is interviewed by Ewan Allinson for Summerhall Radio about the politics of refugee storytelling, the importance of social media as a platform for grassroots perspectives and the role of art in the Calais camp. The two full interviews can be accessed here.
Ewan: You’re looking at how to get grassroots perspectives articulated in a way that can influence the policy frameworks that are imprisoning them, in certain senses. From your perspective, how do you go about it?
Hari: The rise of social media is providing a more democratic space in the media for grassroots organisations, and the refugees who they’re associated with. There are things you can learn from social media that you can’t from a newspaper, for example, where one person’s perspective is prioritised. The case of Calais is important because it is an instance where large government-funded refugee organisations weren’t present, as the Calais camp was never officially recognised. So it left the space for smaller grassroots organisations to develop and to offer different interpretations of humanitarian requirements or humanist ideals.
Ewan: And the narrative around those, presumably. It’s shaping those narratives in a way that hits home.