This project has been a bit of a dream of mine for many years. I have always been interested in collecting and compiling narratives, especially refugee narratives, and I think this endeavor will put an interesting twist on the stories we see in the media. My goals for this project are to encourage and empower refugees as we reach out to them, listen to them, and share their stories, to learn how to narrate people’s stories (particularly on a digital platform), and to build bridges between community members, support agencies, and refugees.
I have many different visions for how to put this project together: an online art gallery, an interactive map with pictures and stories linked to different locations, a wall of quotes and photographs associated with longer narratives… I would also like to include audio or video clips or interview transcripts in the original language for readers of different language backgrounds. I would like to ask the people we interview about the best way to get their stories across in order to make sure they are as much included in this process as possible. I also envision page listing brief bios of different support agencies (perhaps in different language options, for which we might have to enlist outside help) and a page with ESL learning resources. Each agency would have a contact link to help refugees and community members to connect with the different groups.
- What is life like for refugees after
coming to the US, specifically to DC and Charlotte?
- Do we focus on both DC and Charlotte? Or only one city? Or do we specify region at all?
- How can we reach a diverse audience of
both refugees and community members on the same platform?
- What is the best way to organize and present content?
- How much time will we reasonably have to make connections and conduct interviews/how many interviews are feasible?
- Are there specific communities of refugees we want to focus on (like Syrian or Iraqi refugees for example)? Or do we want to reach out to a broad range of people?
- How do we cater to people from many different linguistic backgrounds?
- What should the project’s focus be within the bigger question of “what is life like” – are there more specific questions we need to focus on, like how do people find housing or jobs or access to ESL classes?
- How do you quantify quality of life, if we were to incorporate such data?
- What scholars are connected to this topic? How do we find them?
- How do we tell people’s stories in a way that honors them without appropriation or biases?
- How do you build connections over a digital platform?
- What is the purpose of the platform? A storytelling platform? A community-building platform? A connection-building platform between refugees and agencies?
We are researching refugees’ “epilogues,”
⇢ Because we want to know what life is like for refugees in DC and Charlotte and how we can build connections and better serve them,
⇢ So that our refugee readers will understand that they are not alone in this period of transition,
⇢ So that our readers in the community will better understand and empathize with their new neighbors,
⇢ So that everyone can understand how they can connect with each other.