Creative Voucher Scheme
Counterpoints Arts & Royal Holloway University of London
Dr Áine O’Brien, Counterpoints Arts
Sue Clayton, Royal Holloway University of London
(Better) Believe It: Big Journeys, Untold Stories.
Counterpoints Arts, a creative hub working at the intersection of creative arts and film, advocacy and public learning, worked with Sue Clayton, Reader in Film and Digital Narratives at Royal Holloway, University of London to produce a ‘migratory archive’, for use as a research tool for agencies working in migration and the global human rights sector.
Using material gathered over 12 years, Sue Clayton has followed the stories of separated young people living in the UK who arrived having for instance been child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo or whose families fought alongside British troops in Helmand or who got caught on the wrong side of partition in Sudan. The material takes the form of interviews, video diaries, and re-created scenarios, which turn on their head many public and media assumptions about ‘asylum’, ‘scroungers’ and what it means to be ‘British’.
To date there was no specialised archive on this subject in the UK and the project, Big Journeys Untold Stories aspires to tell a more rounded story through photos, films and prose. Sue’s footage expands the notion of the ‘journey’ by telling stories of ‘Arrival’ and ‘Living in the UK’, deliberately broadening the arc to highlight what it means to spend ones formative years in the UK. Like putting down roots, forming friendships, missing family yet dreaming of a future in a new ‘home’ with diverse, wonderfully (sometimes whacky) energetic ambitions to which any young person might predictably aspire.
The project resulted in an updated website, Big Journeys and Counterpoints Arts’ Learning Lab working paper on the role of ‘living archives’ in bridging the gap between creative storytelling, advocacy, policy change and the law – sampling exciting digital platforms that have broken the mould in like-minded creative arts and social justice work.
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