Migreat! A new EFA transnational project

Posted by Cait on 18 Nov 2019

From this Autumn, EFA London is involved in an exciting new project with three partners from Italy, France and Hungary.

The project aims to develop positive narratives around immigration, to counter the anti-migrant rhetoric that is on the rise across our national contexts.

“Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”
—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Author

A labour party mug from 2015The stories we tell have real life consequences. Over the last twenty years, anti-migrant narratives have become mainstream and migration has become a key political issue in the UK. When New Labour came to power in 1997, just 3% of the public cited immigration as a key issue. By the time of the EU referendum in 2016, that figure was 48%.1 During this period, mainstream political parties on the left and right did little to challenge anti-migrant rhetoric and most politicians actively reproduced the key tropes and basic tenets of this framing.

More recently, there have been some notable efforts to tell an alternative, positive story about migration. With this project, we aim to contribute to this movement.

We’ll do this by developing counter-narrative methods and tool. We’ll also be running free, in-depth trainings across our four countries to upskill educators, frontline workers, community organisers and activists in these counter-narrative practices. In this way, our project will have a ripple effect: training trainers and advocates, many of them migrants themselves, to develop and spread powerful, mind-changing stories that are a force for social justice.

“Narratives and melodramas are not mere words and images; they can enter our brains and provide models that we not merely live by, but that define who we are. Language is an instrument of creativity and power, a means of connecting with people or alienating them, and a force for social cohesion or separation.”
—George Lakoff, Cognitive Linguist & Author

More info on our trainings and a website coming soon. Watch this space!