The Outsider Project was launched in February 2017 by the Migrants’ Rights Network. Led by volunteer Migrant Leaders from four locations in the UK – Oldham, Wolverhampton, Boston, and Barking and Dagenham – the project supports migrants affected by the negative discourse around immigration and promotes a positive narrative that demonstrates the benefits of living in an open society where migration is commonplace.
BY ANNA ROGUSKI
“Who feels that since Brexit hate crime has increased?”
It takes less than a second for everyone in the room to raise their hands, and just a moment more before people begin to recount incidents they’ve experienced since June. To say it’s disheartening hearing so many stories of people being told to ‘go back home’ is an understatement, but this isn’t a session where participants are wallowing in the negatives: quite the opposite in fact.
Our Migrant Leaders are bringing a positive, restless energy to an otherwise grey and drizzly Saturday morning in Nottingham. They’ve come together for The Outsider Project’s Migrant Leader Training, a busy day where they’re learning the skills and techniques to plan, lead and deliver Listening Campaigns in their local areas; and it’s personal experiences like those that they are sharing that are so key to achieving this.
In a world where migrants are regularly reduced to numbers and statistics, The Outsider Project is using the power of migrants’ personal stories to demonstrate both the impact of the negative discussion of immigration, as well as the positives of living in an open society where migration is commonplace.
As part of the project’s Listening Campaign, over the next five weeks our Migrant Leaders will be interviewing migrants in their local areas, delving deep into their thoughts and experiences in relation to the key issues affecting them and recording the individual responses to a range of issues including the impact of the UK leaving the EU, of immigration policy and enforcement, and of life as a migrant within their local areas.
The outcomes of the Listening Campaign will shape the action the project goes on to take, ensuring it is truly representative of the needs of the communities. In June the Migrant Leaders will come together to explore the recurring themes from the responses. Together with the local migrant communities they will identify three key issues they are facing in their local areas, and will use them to shape winnable campaigns and actions to take forward locally. Their personal stories will be integral to this process, both shaping the action that will be taken and demonstrating the human impact of these issues on members of their communities.
It’s now been just over a week a since the training in Nottingham and in each area the Listening Campaigns are well underway – in Boston the Migrant Leaders have even trained up four more people to lead their Listening Campaign with them so that they can reach even more members of the local migrant communities. As the responses come flooding in, our Migrant Leaders are bringing together the powerful experiences of members of their communities that will build the foundations for their local campaigns – ensuring that through The Outsider Project migrant’s voices will be heard, and their stories are told.