Introducing the Project
This short film is made up entirely of the visuals and narratives of four migrants living in London. As part of a participatory research project, Cina, Anna, Ahmed and Muhammed were invited to film their daily lives in the summer of 2018. This was followed by open-ended conversations with each of them to reflect on their experiences.
These are the lives of people who are marginalised in various ways, encountering legal, political, social, racial borders and hierarchies that might be invisible to others. Yet, they also experience London life like any other with friends, family, leisure, art, shopping and travel. This film shows London as a space of mobility – of continuous movement – and of borders and restrictions.
This film is Cina, Anna, Ahmed and Muhammed’s own perspectives, in their own words.
“We are not there yet. Like, we have never arrived, never quite there. Like, we have not completed the journey yet. The goalpost is always further.”
Introducing the Film Makers
Ahmed Sinno arrived in the UK from Lebanon in March 2016 as an asylum seeker, having been shot and badly wounded whilst volunteering with the Lebanese Red Cross. He volunteers with the British Red Cross and is an active member of Local Welcome Organisation and Migrateful, a charity which empowers refugees through cooking. His dream is to obtain a Master’s degree and set up his own business.
Anna Virabyan is an Armenian artist, a domestic violence survivor and a refugee. During a difficult period in her life, she used her art as a medium of expressing her emotions, which helped her overcome fear and pain. She provides art workshops for people from different cultures and backgrounds, to help them express themselves through creative techniques and help them overcome challenges through art. Explore her beautiful work further on instagram at @intuit.art.
Cina Aissa is a French Tunisian mother, storyteller and multi-disciplinary artist currently working in London. She enjoys delving into the bottomless pit of stories and creative practices to put people in touch with their dormant creative potential, using art especially as a tool for resilience and self-soothing. Check out her workshops at freespaceproject.org/portfolio/baby-singalong/.
Muhammad Arkam Babar is a 3rd year Geography student at King’s College London. He originally came to the UK from Pakistan when he was 10 years old and has been living here ever since. He is also part of Let Us Learn, a group of young migrants dedicated to inspiring young people in school and in their community, offering support and training as well as campaigning for a united and fair society.
Introducing the Project Team
Leonie Ansems de Vries (project co-lead) is a Lecturer in International Relations at King’s College London and Chair of the Migration Research Group.
Koto Akiyoshi (project co-lead) is a graduate of KCL War Studies & Philosophy and a former volunteer of the Migration Museum.
Shamica Ruddock is a filmmaker and multimedia artist working predominantly with sound and text. She has a background in cultural heritage, specifically archives, collections and community engagement. Much of this experience guides their artistic practise. Situated at an intersection between art and heritage, Shamica is interested in memory, the legacies we inherit, and our tools for cultural preservation. Shamica has previously been commissioned by the South London Gallery, lead workshops with the Barbican and Create London and has exhibited work with 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning.
Nadirah Hibatullah is a 2nd year International Politics BSc student at Brunel University London. She runs her own business ‘BakedByNads’- see her website – bakedbynads.com – for sweet treats for every occasion and works part-time in luxury retail. She helps organise workshops for the Migrant Voices. Every workshop was different and expressed migrant experiences in creative and eye-opening ways. During one work shop they created ‘freeze frames’ with their bodies in order to express migrant experiences. She has throughly enjoyed her involvement and feels she has gained a new understanding of the society around her.
Alexandra Blanchard is a writer and co-founder of the organisation and project Wander Women Community, dedicated to supporting and promoting the experiences and work of female migrants, refugees and activists internationally. Check out some of their work on facebook, instagram and twitter @wanderwomencommunity.
Twyla Doone is a Master’s graduate in Conflict, Security and Development from KCL as well as an emerging actor and choreographer. Running theatre workshops for Migrant Voices is where her three passions have combined. Her love of theatre has helped build a platform and creative environment for diverse people to share and impart their stories. Her passion for academic research has allowed her to further develop from these workshops to see how migrant stories, told through theatre, may help develop more inclusive government policies. And finally, her love of people, has made the process of listening to different stories and meeting like-minded people, in the pursuit of “increasing the ‘us’ to include the ‘them’”, a pleasure and an honour.
By Alexandra Blanchard