“Child Migrant Stories” was launched in February 2016. It drew, initially, on experiences of people who migrated under the age of 18 from across the world to East London from 1930 to the present day. Some came on their own; others came with, or to join family members who they may not have seen for years. Their stories are of loss and gain but of resilience too, often in the face of war, poverty and discrimination. They are poignant, powerful and sometimes very funny.
The profiles of the people who generously participated in this initial research can be found at East End Stories. They came from Turkey, Cyprus, Brazil, El Salvador, Poland, Italy, Southern Ireland, Vietnam, Jamaica, Antigua, Guinea, Nigeria, Rwanda, Yemen, Somalia, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan at different ages between 5 and 17. Some experiences, drawing on child migrants’ own words, have been highlighted in Spotlight Stories. Some of the material about experiences of welcome, both from child migrants or those who know, or care for, them, have been collected through outreach and at festivals. These can be found under Welcome Stories.
Six “Child Migrant Stories” films, developed in collaboration with former child migrants and drawing on their creativity, bring to life experiences of migrating to East London under the age of 18 through images, music and art.
We have developed four further films on ‘Child Migrants Welcome?’ that explore the positive and negative experiences of newly arrived children, the importance of friendship, respect for difference and child attitudes to migration across the UK – capturing experiences of Syrian children on the Island of Bute, Afghani children in Norwich and Polish children in Sidmouth. They draw not only on the experiences of child migrants but those who know or care for, them such as lawyers, activist, teachers, social workers, religious leaders, therapists and friends.
Film Screenings and Events
Eight of the ten films are available on our website and on YouTube ( 6 from Child Migrant Stories and 2 from Child Migrants Welcome?). The films have been shown in over 60 venues – in cinemas, museums, universities, schools, community centres and at festivals. Everyone is welcome to view the films, organise their own screenings or contact us to curate a joint event such as a discussion with, or performance by, former child migrants or to highlight the present crisis on child migration. Two films, “Seeking Sanctuary on a Scottish Island” and “I am Well Here” are not on the website but can be screened through private arrangement with Child Migrant Stories.
We have developed learning materials, with Hackney Museum, for school and adult ESOL students based on the films. People are very welcome to use these independently and we would welcome any feedback.
People both locally, nationally and internationally have been able to contribute their own stories or knowledge about child migration on the website blog. Do sign up to get regular updates or leave comments. We are committed to creating a respectful and collaborative space.
The project was awarded the QMUL Public Engagement Interact Award a year after it was launched in February 2017.
The film “Ugwumpiti” was nominated for the AHRC Research Film of the Year presented at BAFTA in 2017.
Do email Eithne Nightingale on firstname.lastname@example.org or ring her on 07949 080 526 if you or others would like to get involved. Thank you for your interest in, and support for, this timely and important project.
Dr Eithne Nightingale
Writer, researcher, photographer and filmmaker with 40 years experience of equal opportunities and working with diverse communities in the cultural, education and voluntary sectors.
This initiative would not have been feasible without the willingness and generosity of the child migrants who participated in the initial research and Mitchell Harris for his energy, skill and enthusiasm without whom this project and related films would not have been possible.