Migrant Lives in Pandemic Times

Migrant Lives in Pandemic Times digital storytelling project

The on-going COVID-19 pandemic has left no life untouched. However, in addition to the collective trauma caused by the isolation and uncertainty resulting from COVID-19 restrictions, migrant workers around the world have faced unique challenges based on where they are and their immigration status.

Migrant Lives in Pandemic Times is a an international digital storytelling project exploring the unique challenges faced by migrants in a time of global crisis, produced by Migration Matters and CERC Migration. Recorded during the summer of 2021, the project presents both personal testimony and expert analysis to explore how the everyday realities of 12 migrants from across the globe have changed during the pandemic.

From a Chilean pandemic home-school tutor in Oakland, California, to a Senegalese street seller in Bilbao, Spain, our stories give voice to those missing in media and public debate with the aim to build solidarity and inform policy across borders. While the stories share the lived realities of individuals, they also reveal insights into universal conditions and challenges in terms of work, mental health, and the importance of communities. They celebrate resilience, while also critically analyzing the larger structural and policy issues at play.

Each migrant story includes an individual portrait and an accompanying video statement and policy brief produced by an international migration scholar to provide additional context and suggestions for how conditions could be improved. From start to finish, the migrants featured in the project have taken an active role in the production of their stories.

The project paired twelve researchers from around the world – Canada, the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Ghana, South Africa, India and Singapore – with 12 migrant protagonists. Migration Matters led the creative direction of the series, supported the researchers through digital storytelling trainings and coachings, edited the final documentary short films, and designed the project platform. The researchers also completed policy commentaries in response to the issues raised by the migrant protagonists in the films.

You can find all the documentary films and policy commentaries on the project platform (external link): www.migrantlives.net.