In the face of rising xenophobia, humanizing the lives of refugees and migrants cannot be done by statistics and big data alone. There are stories behind numbers, and these stories are integral for forging deep, emotional ties between receiving communities, migrants, and citizens of all backgrounds. Empathy can cultivate a common sense of belonging and shared future. How can NGO’s and communities effectively engage in participatory and dialogic storytelling about complex and nuanced issues, where there is room to highlight positives and negatives, and bring communities together? The present report calls this civic media, and asks how organizations working with migrants and refugees in Europe are using these technologies and practices and provides a framework for digital storytelling.
Paul Mihailidis is an associate professor in the school of communication at Emerson College in Boston, MA, where he teaches media literacy and civic media, and directs the MA in Civic Media, Art & Practice. He is also Principal Investigator and Co-Director of the Engagement Lab at Emerson College, and Director of the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. His research focuses on the nexus of media, education, and civic voices. His newest book, ‚Media Literacy and the Emerging Citizen‛ (2014), outlines effective practices for participatory citizenship and engagement in digital culture. Under his direction, the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, a global media literacy incubator program, annually gathers 75 students and a dozen faculty to build networks for media innovation, civic voices and global change. Mihailidis has authored numerous books and papers exploring civic media, and traveled around the world speaking about media and engagement in digital culture. He earned his PhD from the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Liat Racin is a research associate at the Engagement Lab at Emerson College. She leads research at the intersection of civic media, data literacy, and community engagement. Her work aims to enhance participatory citizenship through collaborative design-led research and capacity building. Her design projects have won awards from the Mayor's Office at the City of Boston and the American Community Gardening Association. She received her Ph.D. in 2013 from the Geography Department at King’s College, London, and completed her post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.
Eric Gordon is the founding director of the Engagement Lab at Emerson. He is also a faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Eric studies civic media and public engagement within the US and the developing world. He is specifically interested in the application of games and play in these contexts. In addition to being a researcher, he is also the designer of award winning "engagement games," which are games that facilitate civic participation. He has served as an expert advisor for the UN Development Program, the International Red Cross / Red Crescent, the World Bank, as well as municipal governments throughout the United States. In addition to articles and chapters on games, digital media, urbanism and civic engagement, he is the author of two books: ‚Net Locality: Why Location Matters in a Networked World‛ (Blackwell 2011, with Adriana de Souza e Silva) and ‚The Urban Spectator: American Concept Cities From Kodak to Google‛ (Dartmouth 2010).