The Greek Forum of Refugees is a non-profit association consisting of refugee and migrant communities, individuals and professionals working all together to support and empower asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and stateless persons. The association was founded in Athens in 2013, in order to function as a reference organization, both for the refugee communities and for the refugees who wish to address collectively and in an organized manner their requests to the State, but also to the host society. Under this prism, we considered that our participation in SO-CLOSE could bring the positions and opinions of refugees to the fore even more, essentially changing the narrative both at the national and European level.
The SO-CLOSE Tools – the web doc and the virtual exhibition
The Greek Forum of Refugees decided to make use of the web doc as well as the virtual exhibition.
The decision on these options was made through conducting interviews and focus groups, with refugees, non-governmental organizations as well as state representatives. The digital exhibition is the appropriate tool as it gives us the possibility to reverse the existing narratives regarding refugees. More specifically, we can reverse narratives that present refugees as people who live only through benefits and are presents as part of the problem, highlighting aspects and talents of them that the local society does not know, while at the same time they are presented as active citizens and as people with obligations and rights.
Using the web doc and virtual exhibition not only can compare similar refugee cases from the past to the present. But these platforms are also a perfect way to showcase the accomplishments and skills of Refugees. A lot of refugees have difficulty justifying their capabilities, skills, and qualifications as they have lost their papers on the journey to Europe.
We chose the web doc as it enabled us to present, on the one hand, the real situation experienced by the refugees who are coming Greece, and on the other, the highlighting of common life experiences with the respective displaced populations (women on the island of Trikeri) during of the civil war.
Through the web doc we have the possibility to highlight even more common points and life experiences of the refugees of the past and today, thus strengthening the need for social cohesion and the creation of a meaningful social integration.
In the web doc the favorite feature is the possibility to use the 360 cameras as it can be seen in the chapter created by the Afghans, you can have a complete view of the situation inside the refugee camps.
Knowing the need to change the existing narratives regarding refugees in Greece, through the use of the virtual exhibition we intend to highlight even more examples of people who managed to make a difference and who highlighted through their actions the importance of social integration.
In the digital exhibition our favorite feature is the possibility to upload 3D objects, as the viewer can in this way process objects with symbolic value in depth and in every detail.
These platforms help to show the talents and skills of Refugees from when we started in 2016 to today. We needed a way to showcase this work and thanks to SO-ClOSE and the SO-CLOSE Tools we got the opportunity to show the milestones of some of the Refugees we cooperate with.
Wanting to highlight the essential connection between past and present, we decided that both in the web doc and in the digital exhibition, refugees would be the best choice in order to collect the appropriate content and to edit it. So, we created three groups of refugees consisting of Afghans, Kurds and Syrians with the aim of creating a holistic picture of reality. We provided these teams with the necessary technical equipment and they proceeded to collect and edit the content. This is evident both in the digital exhibitions and in the chapters of the web doc, as each group followed a different script, material and way of presenting it.
Our Tools for other institutions
SO-CLOSE’s tools is an excellent choice for any cultural institution that wants to engage with and highlight issues of forced displacement and migration. Thus, we believe that cultural institutions can find “gathered” enough information on how to connect the past with the present, while at the same time digital tools can act as a trigger for further research and action. A typical example is the UNHCR, which at the presentation of the tools at the open day event in Athens expressed the desire for further cooperation and substantial strengthening of these tools.