Story+ Project

Unearthing Root Causes of Migration Through Our Stories

(2020)

Migrant Roots Media (MRM) is a digital platform which amplifies the voices of migrants, children of migrants, and those struggling to thrive in their homelands to unearth the root causes of global migration. We strategically position intersectional voices so they can aid in advancing narratives and political analyses concerning migration and other social issues. Our project will involve working with students who will conduct research on the different social, political, economic, and/or environmental forces that affect people and push some of them to leave their countries of origin. Students will be able to choose which country they investigate and it is highly encouraged that the student make their decision based on a personal connection to this country (for example, it could be their own or their parents’ country of origin). Each student will create a timeline of historical events for their chosen country which will be published in our website, write a narrative that highlights the main topics they encounter and which may include a personal story-telling component, and create a visual that will be presented to an audience in a gallery-style format.

Project Sponsor(s): 

Roxana Bendezú, Migrant Roots Media Executive Director, Social Movements Lab Research Fellow

Graduate Mentor(s): 

Dubie Toa-Kwapong, PhD candidate, Cultural Anthropology

Undergraduates: 

Rebekah Alvarenga, Nima Babajani-Feremi, Carmela Guaglianone, Shania Khoo

Outcome: 

The Unearthing Root Causes of Migration project was facilitated by Roxana Bendezú, Executive Director of Migrant Roots Media (MRM). Migrant Roots Media creates a space that centers and supports intersectional voices as they strive to analyze and understand the socio-economic, geopolitical, cultural, and environmental roots causes of migration. It aims to amplify the voices of migrants, children of migrants, and those whose existence in their homelands is indelibly transformed by global migration. Over six weeks, we worked in community and independently, as of migrants and children of migrants, to map interconnections and distinctions in our familial and personal migratory stories. Each group member conducted an in-depth research project on the layered push and pull issues that created the conditions for migration from their country (or countries) of origin and compelled their families to leave home and build lives elsewhere. 

During our weekly meetings, we discussed different approaches to situating personal and familial stories in historical context. During weekly workshops, group members were able to engage resources for thinking about the relationship between our countries of origin and the US or other imperial powers. We discussed the assumption in academia and media that researcher or writer must be an 'objective' outsider. We brainstormed ways to cultivate and deploy community-centered methodologies in our respective projects. Workshops in video editing, graphic design, and creative writing equipped us with the multimodal tools needed to bring elements of visuality and narrative texture to our projects. 

In the video above, we share more about the common themes that emerged as the root causes of migration from Honduras, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Singapore, and Ghana.
 

Topic(s)

  • Oral History
  • Migration
  • Documentary
  • Human Rights