Creatively Chronicling Covid19
Being a virtual prisoner in the house, frightened to go out? That’s what many refugees have gone through, often for years on end. First, in the war zones they fled, for fear of state violence and armed gangs. Second, during the journey in search of safety, many are locked down for days or weeks or months. Third, in the UK, where some are locked in by anxiety, inability to communicate, or experiences of racism. Frightened of enemies which are not ‘invisible’.
Lockdown is an opportunity for the mainstream population to better understand the lives of asylum seekers and refugees. Our collective work reveals many “small acts” of artistic resistance and creative resilience to marginalisation, as well as myriad practical and creative expressions of solidarity. We are and will continue chronicling the dark and light side of Covid-19 so contact us if you want to share your experiences.
Explore this website to understand what life is like during the Covid-19 pandemic from the perspectives of asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants from different parts of the world, and find out about our research.
Informed consent offered for all images. Full names withheld to protect contributors’ identities, unless otherwise requested.
Andrea, an 18-year old art student represents COVID19 quarantine with a photo called “Anguish”. Fleeing political persecution, she recently moved to the UK with her family from Venezuela.
There is a big ‘No’ to traditional European greetings such as hand shakes and hugs according to health instructions. Hence the Sri Lankan community was very excited about their traditional way of greeting ‘Ayubowan’ as it is very safe.
This picture symbolises what feels like a lifetime’s pursuit of freedom, despite the personal costs, and how nice it is to not walk this path alone. We took this photo on our first hike during semi-lockdown. It is a dedication to my quarantine-buddy!
Bad haircut from behind
I decided to cut my own hair because the barber was closed, and I knew that if my hair grew, I would look bad and feel bad. I would feel ugly, I don’t want that. The lockdown affects me personally.
The family kept chickens during lockdown to give their children something to do and look after. Chicks were born. Eggs were hatched. Vegetables were also grown.
Under lockdown cooking, artistically arranging, taking and sharing photos of home-made dishes has become a pleasurable pastime.
We are all in this together... the media keeps repeating that we're all in the same boat and this isn't quite right. The virus is impacting the lives of people differently and there is no point in denying this.
During those weeks, my books became my weapon to fight my boredom, anxiety, worries about the future and feelings of immobility. I used my plenty of time in doing the thing I love most - reading books.
If you think artists are useless try to spend quarantine without music, books, poems, movies and paintings.
We are co-creating a rich archive of digital cultural artefacts, images and voices, so that those who are often invisible or silenced can be seen and heard. This public intervention challenges the conventional politics of representation. It documents acts of artful and creative resistance to marginalisation, and resilient responses to multiple overlapping crises that they experience. Together, we are documenting contemporary history, each of us giving insights into how we are responding to Covid19.
Here you will find our latest academic papers, policy briefings, testimonies from asylum seekers and refugees, as well as creative writing.
The situation for refugees on the island of Lesvos is getting much worse than reported in our previous blogs. Greece and Europe are now at a major turning point in Europe’s migration policy. It is a deeply troubling moment because the European governments are challenging the core values and...
March 2020: Christine, 40 years old with no family, had been sent (‘dispersed’) to Swansea to wait for her asylum claim to be decided. Her claim was eventually refused, so she was made homeless, with no recourse to public funds and no right to work. But with the help of a local support...
Personal Reflections from a Shadow Domestic Worker in The Netherlands by Jacob Apostol Shadow of a real life It was February 27 2020, when I received a call from a friend while I was at work. It was about the news of the first case of corona virus infection in the Netherlands. The news was...
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