Migrants: panel discussions, workshops and music at #ijf17

The migrant crisis will be the central topic of — at least — eight events at the International Journalism Festival #ijf17.

The European Journalism Centre (EJC) announced that four of Europe’s most prestigious publishers are coming together to launch “The New Arrivals”, a long-term project tracking refugees and migrants as they settle in Europe.

Over a period of 18 months, El País (Spain), The Guardian (UK), Le Monde (France) and Spiegel Online (Germany) will closely follow newly-arrived refugee and migrant communities in Europe to illustrate their integration challenges, their humanitarian situation, their professional aspirations, and the impact of their arrival on both the host and the home countries.

“This level of European collaboration around such a topic is unprecedented. For months, experienced journalists have been working incredibly hard to source, research and contextualise the families and journeys they are covering. The collaboration on investigative reporting, translation, social media and data visualization has been nothing short of impressive,” wrote Adam Thomas, Director of EJC, and #ijf17 speaker.

The migrant crisis will be the central topic of — at least — eight events at the International Journalism Festival #ijf17.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Forgotten news of migration: reporting on countries of origin and transit

with Zakaria Mohamed Ali, Paola Barretta, Giovanni Maria Bellu and Marino Sinibaldi

This panel will focus on the aspects of migration which are “forgotten” by mainstream media and will investigate the reasons behind this trend. Where do they come from, who are they, why do they leave their countries of origin, what are the conditions in their countries, what voyages do they face, what will they encounter? Despite the high visibility of migration in the media and in the associated public debate, there are numerous aspects little narrated in the news. The storytelling that would allow citizens to contextualize migration and to understand its complexity often has no place in the media agenda. The panel will explore these issues by comparing Italian and European news, thanks to the surveys conducted by the Osservatorio di Pavia on public service broadcasters in France, Britain, Germany and Spain.

Tears of salt. The story of a doctor on Lampedusa

with Pietro Bartolo and Lidia Tilotta

Pietro Bartolo is a doctor who for over twenty five years has worked on the small Italian island of Lampedusa, located between Sicily and North Africa, welcoming and caring for the migrants who arrive there. The book Lacrime di sale (in translation Tears of salt) tells his story: the story of a scrawny and shy boy, raised in a family of fishermen, who has fought hard to change the migrants’ destiny and that of his island. A great example of courage and civic engagement. An extraordinary warning against the indifference of those who choose not to see.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Strong hands: we’ll tell you about Syria… with music

Theatre shows with Adovabadan Jazz Band, Alaa Arsheed, Isaac de Martin and Francesca Paci

From 20.30 to 21.00. How can music and arts have a key role in the challenges of our age? Which role has beauty in our complex world scenario? Media and social media are nowadays permeated with bad news, catastrophes, wars, and less space is left to beauty. It Is not a matter of forgetting or hushing up what is going on, it is more a matter of giving hope by spreading beauty which is a precious seed underneath ruins and mud. This is the challenge for AlphaArt.org, a platform founded by Isaac de Martin and Alaa Arsheed in 2015 whose aim is to support social, human and cultural initiatives to help those whose lives have been ripped from under them. Past experiences, present projects and future plans in conversation with Francesca Paci, Alaa Arsheed and Isaac de Martin. With simultaneous translation.

To be followed at 21.00 by the concert Strong Hands.

Alaa Arsheed published his first album Sham (produced by Fabrica) in December 2015, and is now working together with producer Isaac de Martin on his second, Portrait, to be released in October 2017. Here is the opportunity to listen to Sham online.

During the recording sessions of Sham (July 2015), Alaa Arhseed met Isaac de Martin, founder of the Adovabadàn Jazz Band, a solid and historical group which disseminates hot jazz and swing all around Italy and Europe, very attentive to commixtures and sensitive to dialogue (ancestral prerogative of good music), where music allows them to communicate and tell good stories, the stories coming from far away.

The band, over some months, arranged the repertoire of Sham to create a live, purely acoustic version, where pastel brush strokes of banjo depict the backdrop to the warm melodies of Alaa’s violin in a dialogue with Uliana’s refined clarinet, while the guitar in the hands of De Martin draws arabesques, and a solid rhythm section led by Barbon and Straforini wraps up this picturesque trip to the Mediterranean.

During the reharsals of the Jazz Band, Endi (a hip-hop singer from Northern Italy, and a longtime friend of the Adovabadàn Jazz Band) visited the six and, while listening to Alaa’s story and to his dream of reopening the Alpha Gallery in Italy, wrote in one go the songs narrating the adventures of our violinist and his strong hands (preview here).

Adovabadàn (which in the dialect of Bari means ‘don’t worry, take it easy…’) becomes the ideal place to practice dialogue, exchange, and the search for beauty by 7 musicians and the fabulous guests who regularly make visits.

These men met in their artistic and life paths through the music of the Adovabadàn Jazz Band, which together with Endi’s words retrace the life of Alaa, a Syrian violinist, in a sound painting somewhere between reality and fantasy, between war and peace, between integration and isolation, between love and hate.

Migration: the new frontier of story telling

Panel discussion with Donata Columbro, Marta Cosentino, Mohammed Haddad, Alessandra Morelli and Marina Petrillo

Covering migration towards Europe offers a variety of possibilities for alternative narrations and new formats. Can re-thinking new strategies, even technological, for reporting migration also have a social impact? And can it force some mainstream media to change their vision of the world, starting from specific storytelling experiments where migrants are the main protagonists?

Migrants: the stories of those who really make a difference

Panel discussion with Pietro Bartolo, Andrea Costa, Giulio Piscitelli, Carlotta Sami, Steve Scherer and Benedetta Tobagi

The journey of those crossing the Mediterranean, risking being swallowed by the waves, is characterized by fear, despair, flight from war and persecution, terror for those left behind. And for those who make it to Italy, the landing is just a mere first step of an odyssey still to be concluded. In fact, bureaucratic limbo or the misery of exploitation could trap them, perhaps surrounded by a wall of hostile and xenophobic rhetoric, or merely wrapped by indifference. In the midst of all this however there is also the face of hope, people who put human life — any life — first. Journalists, doctors, workers, volunteers, representatives of public institutions: witnesses of a fight to put human rights at the core of the political and media agenda.

Friday, 7 April 2017

In defence of empathy

Panel discussion with Charlie Beckett, Marc Herman, Mariangela Paone and Maria Ramirez

The miscalled “refugee crisis” has been one of the most widely reported news stories by the international press. Does quantity equal a true capacity to break the wall of habit? How can one keep covering these kinds of stories in a media context in which content is generally replicated, increasing the risk of rejection due to information overload (a risk valid for both the refugee crisis and the coverage of the ‘Trump phenomenon’ as well)?

The panel tries to answer these questions, discussing the role of empathy in contemporary journalistic production, taking into account the possibilities offered by new technologies (360-degree videos, VR, etc.). Empathy in selecting stories, in telling them and in dealing with their protagonists.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Stories on the move

Workshop with Asha Siad and Roda Siad

Migration has become a highly debated topic in both Europe and North America. As the number of displaced peoples around the world continues to rise, the questions surrounding integration become more prominent. In this workshop, award-winning Somali-Canadian journalists and filmmakers Asha Siad and Roda Siad take us through some of their work on forced migration. In particular, their recent film 19 Days is a window into the lives of refugee families during their first few weeks in Canada as they stay at the Margaret Chisholm Resettlement Centre. Furthermore, their multimedia project Living at the Border offers an Italian case study into the same issues of settlement and integration by examining how makeshift communities in Rome are built and rebuilt by refugees despite government shutdown of these places. Ultimately, their projects reveal that refugee experiences cannot be reduced to one simple story. Asha and Roda’s work traces the integration struggles of refugees and asylum seekers and the implications policy and media representation have on their lives.

This workshop will highlight film clips from both projects and address issues of forced migration, resettlement, integration, asylum policies and refugee representations in media. During the discussion, we will also consider questions such as: What are the different representations of refugees and asylum seekers in both legislation and news media? How do these narratives about refugees influence their ability to integrate? And finally, what roles should journalists and media professionals play when covering migration?

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Barbed wire, fences, walls: there’s much more to the stories of migrants

Panel discussion with Mathilde Auvillain, Antonella Palermo, Alessandro Penso and Giacomo Zandonini

Shortening the distance to guarantee a better focus. From the hold of the ship Aquarius off the coast of Libya to the Balkan migration routes. reporting side by side with those who drown and those who are born, with those who are caught or bounce back. Challenging rhetoric, naivety and rubber-stamped abstractions along the way.