The Festival Opens

Festival launch featuring speeches by organizers, supporters, sponsors and migrants. An overview of the entire festival will be provided.

Join us for the launch of the Migrant Workers Festival 2020, where an overview of the festival will be provided. Featuring speeches by organisers, supporters, sponsors and migrants. 

Panellists:

  1. H.E. Lynn McDonald is the High Commissioner of Canada to Singapore (2016-Present). Since joining Global Affairs Canada (GAC) in 1996, she has served in the Legal and Trade Policy Bureaux of GAC Headquarters in Ottawa and also has served abroad in Geneva, Washington D.C., and Hong Kong.

  2. MD SHARIF UDDIN comes from Bangladesh and has a Diploma in Ceramic Technology. He arrived in Singapore in 2008 where he works in the construction and Tunneling sectors as a supervisor. Sharif writes short stories and poetry and is the Winner of SINGAPORE BOOK AWARDS 2018 in Non-Fiction Category for "Stranger to Myself" Book.

  3. Shivaji Das is the author of four travel memoirs and photography books. His latest book is ‘The Other Shangri-La: Journeys through the Sino-Tibetan frontier in Sichuan.’ Shivaji’s work has been featured in TIME, Economist, BBC, Asian Geographic, etc. He is the conceptualizer of the acclaimed Global Migrant Festival and Migrant and Refugee Poetry Contests and is the Managing Director-APAC for Frost & Sullivan, a research and consulting company.

Letters from Taiwan

Taiwan has over 700,000 migrant workers, originating from places like Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. This session will showcase the literary works of some of the winners from the annual Taiwan Migrant Literature competition. The participants will also participate in a panel to discuss their work and the lives of migrants in Taiwan.

Taiwan is a country with migrant workers from many different countries. Letters of Taiwan aims to amplify these diverse voices via the literary works of some of the winners from the annual Taiwan Migrant Literature Competition. Thereafter, participants will be involved in a panel for discussion. 

Panellists:

  1. Erin Sumarsini, a.k.a Erin Cipta worked in Taiwan from 2012 until 2015 as a caregiver. She writes poem, short stories, and popular articles for Indonesian magazines published in Taiwan. She won the Merit Award on Taiwan Literature Award for Migrant twice, in 2014 and 2015. After going back to Indonesia, she continues writing for local media as a freelancer. She published her novel "Carlos" in 2017 and one children book about mathematicians in 2018. Now she lives in a village with her family, while opening a public library in her hometown in Central Java.

  2. Sri Lestari is an Indonesian migrant worker at Taiwan and studying communication in Universitas Terbuka Taiwan. This year she won the Taiwan Literature Award for Migrant with article Sri Pon dan Dongeng yang Mungkin Salah.
    Pratiwi Wulansari       

  3. Cheng Chang is the co-founder of ‘4-way Voice Monthly(四方報)’ (2006), ‘Grandma Bridge Plan(外婆橋計畫)’ (2011-2015), ‘Singing in Taiwan(唱四方)’ (2013-2015), and ‘Taiwan Literature Award for Migrants’ (2014- ).  In 2015, Cheng Chang kickstarted the event ‘Bringing Back Books That You Cannot Read’, and found a Southeast Asia-themed bookstore called ‘Brilliant Time’. He is dedicated to improving understanding between migrants and locals, and building a diverse, fair, and friendly society.

  4. Yolanda Yu, born in North Eastern China, lives in Singapore since 1998. Award winning writer and poet, she also runs YoYo's Career Channel on YouTube.

Writers of Change

Writing reimagines the horizons of possibility and opens up a new space beyond disenfranchisement and marginalisation. Through literature, writers who are displaced can imagine new futures and write their own representations of their community. In Indonesia, a group of writers has been doing exactly this. The archipelago is a writers collective between Australia and Indonesia that trains new writers who are refugees in Indonesia towards professional publication and connects them with mentorship. This year they launched a new magazine on migration that publishes literature, journalism, art and photography each month: thearchipelago.org.
Join us in a conversation between four writers of the archipelago: Warsan Weedhsan writes on the experiences of refugee women in Indonesia and East Africa; JN Joniad explores mental health impacts of displacement through his journalism; Erfan Dana writes of limbo in Indonesia's outer islands; MA Raha writes fiction on the lives of girls in Afghanistan and Iran.

Panellists:

  1. Warsan Weedhsan is a writer and co-director of the archipelago writers collective in Jakarta. She is the co-founder of the Sisterhood Women’s Empowerment Centre in Jakarta which runs skills training and wellbeing programs for refugee women. Warsan’s writing aims to uncover the social and cultural problems facing refugees and to support women to stand against discrimination

  2. JN Joniad is a Rohingya journalist and a journalism editor of the archipelago. He is a student of political science and human rights activist. He was formerly an Engineering and Physics student in Myanmar, before being forced to flee to Indonesia. Joniad contributes to film and publishing accounts of refugees searching for a safe and durable solution.

  3. Erfan Dana is a Hazara writer from Afghanistan. He is an activist, volunteer and interpreter for refugees in Indonesia. He has lived in constant uncertainty in Indonesia after being compelled to flee Afghanistan since 2015.

  4. MA Raha writes fiction on the lives of girls. Her goal is to be a changer of her culture and to empower girls and women especially in Afghanistan and Iran

  5. Moderator: Kieren Kresevic Salazar is a Peruvian-Australian writer and the founding editor of the archipelago. He is a public service fellow at Harvard University and holds a degree in Comparative Literature from Harvard.

Notes from the Gulf

New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) is home to over 850 contracted colleagues, hailing from 36 different countries. While their colleagues serve the institution in different capacities, such as security and cafeteria staff, facilities management, and janitorial staff, they have collectively served as the backbone of the institution. NYUAD’s Office of Social Responsibility offers a comprehensive program of educational opportunities to meet the expressed educational and social needs of our contracted colleagues. Educational programs for NYUAD contracted colleagues began in 2012 with a pilot in English in the Workplace; and over the last eight years, they have expanded their adult education offerings to a full-scale program that offers twelve certificate courses in an array of subjects including English in the Workplace, Arabic instruction, computer and financial literacy, public speaking, and professional development. This session will feature 4 contracted colleagues showcasing a wide-range of their talents.

Panellists:

  1. Harkamal Singh is from India. He has been working with ADNH Compass at New York University Abu Dhabi for the last 3 years. He is self-motivated and passionate about hospitality. He enjoys making videos about hospitality on YouTube and other social media platforms. His other hobbies include writing poetry, reading books, and clicking random pictures of nature.

  2. Brendalle Belaza was born and raised in the Philippines. She has been in the UAE for 13 years and is currently working as a domestic worker at New York University Abu Dhabi. She loves photography as it has been a life-changing process while being far away from her loved ones. She also has a BSc in Animal Science and loves taking care of animals.

  3. Sathpium Peiris is from Sri Lanka. He has been in the UAE for 8 years and is currently working as a lifeguard at New York University Abu Dhabi. He loves to make paintings, play computer games, study history, and swim in the ocean with big waves.

  4. Baljit Kumar is from Punjab, India. He has been working at New York University Abu Dhabi since 2011. His hobbies include singing and playing the piano. The main focus of his future career is to provide the best essential education to his kids.

  5. Tristan Legaspi comes from Lucena City. He has been working in the UAE for 6 years and loves dance and music. He also enjoys freehand drawing, volunteering, and continuous learning. Additionally, during his time in Saudi, in 2009, he rediscovered his interest in photography

  6. Nandini Kochar is a senior at NYU Abu Dhabi, pursuing a double major in Social Research and Public Policy & Film and New Media. Having been born in India, raised in Botswana, and now living in the UAE, Nandini is passionate about documenting the experiences of migrants through visual storytelling. She is currently making an ethnographic documentary on the nexus of gender, migration and labour in the UAE. 

  7. Aasna Sijapati is from Kathmandu, Nepal. She is currently a senior at New York University Abu Dhabi studying Social Research and Public Policy. She is extremely passionate about gender issues, especially in South Asia; she writes about her experiences as the gender columnist on NYUAD’s student-led publication, The Gazelle.

Rapper Dule Rocker

Listen to the rap of the migrant worker rapper from India who has become a YouTube sensation. He raps about corruption, violence in society, and of course, the plight of migrant workers during the pandemic in India.

Rapper Dule Rocker is a migrant worker from India who is also a rapper. His talent has led to him becoming a Youtube sensation, and he uses his voice to bring to light issues such as corruption, violence in society as well as the plight of migrant workers in India during the pandemic. 

Panellists:

  1. Dule Rocker, or Duleshwar Tandi, comes from Kalahandi in Odisha, India. He became a migrant labourer and through the pandemic related lockdown, he became a Youtube sensation for his self-made rap music and videos

A Conversation with Daria Bogdanska 

Daria Bogdanska, author of Wage Slaves (2017), presents her autobiographical novel in which she illustrates the difficulties of building a life in Sweden from a working-class immigrant perspective. In particular, she highlights the inequity she was subjected to, the exploitative nature of the underground job market, as well as the solidarity she built up with Bangladeshi migrant workers in Malmö, Sweden. 

Panellists:

  1. Daria Bogdanska is the author and cartoonist of Wage Slaves born in 1988 in Warsaw and a resident of Malmö. She works as a comics teacher and is in the band Två krig. She is also a union organiser. 

  2. Luka, Zhang Lei is a PhD candidate in English at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She received her Master’s Degree from University of Macau. She works on her PhD project “The Specter of Workers”: The (Im) Possibilities of Working-Class Literature from Asia. She is a translator or of working-class literature.

Telling migrant stories 

 

Hear from acta community theatre in Bristol, England, an internationally renowned theatre company that works with disadvantaged people to give them the confidence to tell their stories through theatre.

In this talk they’ll explain why storytelling is so important for refugee and migrant communities in an increasingly global world, using examples of their previous and current European partnership projects. 

Panellists:

acta is a community theatre based in Bristol, England. They believe that theatre belongs to everyone, and everyone has a story to tell. acta creates a place where everyone’s story matters, where individual opinions and experiences count, and are valued by others. The company enable communities to share their stories, and engage audiences who rarely attend theatre. Their projects create positive change in individuals, raising aspirations and improving skills, confidence, self-worth & employability; enabling people to work together, make theatre and have fun

  1. Neil Beddow, acta Artistic Director: Neil was born and brought up in the Black Country, studied at University of Exeter and Goldsmiths College, and co-founded acta in 1985. He specialises in devising, writing and directing original community theatre with the diverse communities of Bristol. He represents acta at national and international levels, and has a particular interest in community theatre in a global context.

  2. Ingrid Jones, acta Associate Director :Ingrid has directed numerous community plays over the years, along with developing and directing acta youth theatres. Over the past ten years, she has focused on adult groups in particular working with migrant women. She has supported various European projects and training programmes; enabling her to share her experience, knowledge and enthusiasm for making community theatre.

  3. Rosalie Pordes, Projects Director: Born in London, Rosalie studied Drama at the University of Exeter where she discovered a passion for community theatre. Outside of her degree she volunteered with the theatre company Magic Carpet and supported a PHD student in her project Vital Spaces. Rosalie has led many projects at acta and currently directs the international Rapport company for migrants and refugees alongside co-Director and acta associate Hiba.

  4. Hiba Elhindi, acta Associate: Born in Sudan, Hiba moved to the UK in 2014. Since childhood, she has always been passionate about drama, arts and creative writing. She took part in shows at primary schools, creating sketches in French and performing them later at university. Hiba has been involved with acta since 2017 as a participant, audience member, trustee on the board and very recently as a foundation drama worker.

  5. Vivian Lim: Vivian is a community builder and lead curator TEDxSingapore. She was part of the co-founding team at TEDxNTU, where she curated years of Ideas Worth Spreading since 2011. Building communities has always been her passion. She brings diverse people together, shares conversations and builds authentic connections. She is the co-founder of Women In Asia, a community which helps to amplify perspectives from Asia, and help bridge cultural and gender differences. With educating women and girls as their key outcomes, her organisation runs programs like photo story exhibitions, mentoring circles to connect and engage the women community. Recently she was also selected as an Obama Leader, one of the 200 leaders on a year long program under The Obama Foundation Leaders: inaugural Asia-Pacific Program. Representing Singapore, she was chosen for Women In Asia’s work on women issues and girls education in the region

The Visuals of Migration

 

How does one respond to the dynamics of Migration through art? In this panel discussions, three acclaimed photographers and artists of refugee background will share their work and discuss the relevance of visual arts in the context of migration.

In this panel discussion, three acclaimed refugee photographers and artists share their work and discuss visual arts in the context of migration, and in the process illustrate their lived refugee experiences through their art. 

Panellists:

  1. Azad Mohammed: Azad obtained refugee status and now resides in Germany. Prior to 2020, he was living in a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh after fleeing Myanmar in August 2017. While living in Cox’s Bazar, Azad documented stories of people and of day-to-day living. Azad is a talented photographer, motivated to grow his communication skills and grow professionally.

  2. Murtaza Ali is a Hazara visual artist from Afghanistan, currently living in Jakarta, Indonesia. He discovered art at Sketch Club Quetta, Pakistan. His paintings specialize in the abstract and semi-abstract and are his self-experience and journey. He believes art has a great role in mankind's lives, and that artists are sincere, sensitive and show the reality to the people as a mirror on the wall. He believes Art is a great way to express emotions and difficult situations that cannot be put into words.

  3. Geeti Ara spent six years in Malaysia as a refugee and is currently in Ontario, Canada. She worked as a teacher in Malaysia for 4 years, studying concurrently She writes poetry, and is a self-taught artist who usually draws realistic portraits. She is currently studying graphic design, while working as an art instructor with Young Rembrandts.

  4. Paroma Ray: Paroma is a feminist educator and artist.  As a  South Asian woman and a parent of three, she spends a lot of time immersed in dialogues about gender, race and rainbows.  Paroma identifies herself as being rootless and frequently wonders about the meaning of home, belonging and identity.

The Tacoma Refugee Choir

 

The Tacoma Refugee Choir is not your typical choir, it is a welcoming community of refugees, immigrants, and second-generation Americans using the power of music to share their stories and unite their community. The choir is a diverse, non-auditioned choral ensemble.
This session will feature a musical performance by the choir followed by a panel discussion with the founder and director of the choir and some of the participants.


This session will feature a musical performance by the Tacoma Refugee Choir, a non-auditioned choral ensemble. The choir is a welcoming community of refugees, immigrants and second-generation Americans who use the power of music to share their stories, unite their community and demonstrate their diversity. The session will also feature a panel discussion with the founder and director, as well as participants. 

Panellists:

  1. Nathalie Bajinya was born in Democratic Republic of Congo and spent time in refugee camps in Kenya where she learned to sew from the nuns in the orphanage.  She now has a thriving tailored clothing shop, Undeniable Bajinya, where she creates amazing one-of-a kind garments. She is a wife, mother, sister and member of the Tacoma Refugee Choir.

  2. Kimsang Lor immigrated to the United States in 1984, from war-torn Cambodia. His passion is working with the youth--to help them succeed in school and enrich their communities--brought him to works at APCC’s Youth Program.  He also teaches Khmer language/dance at KLACA, and is a loud/proud member of TRC!

  3. Thierry Ruboneka is a peace advocate, entrepreneur, and is passionate about music. He moved to the US in 2016 with his family from DRC. While he was a refugee in Uganda, he studied Multimedia and managed one of the most successful music startups in Africa. He can speak 5 languages and has a startup to promote African culture and lifestyle.

  4. Erin Guinup is the founding Executive and Artistic Director of the Tacoma Refugee Choir, a TEDx speaker, author, composer, conductor, and soprano soloist. 

"Obra" After Work

 

Have you considered Migrant Workers as Painters, Tattooist, Fashion Designers, Culinary Fruit Artists or Glass Artists?


This session will showcase the various arts and crafts practised by the migrant workers in Hong Kong followed by a panel discussion to understand the relevance of arts in the migrant context.


This session showcases the diverse, artistic talent of Migrant Workers from Hong Kong. This includes painting, tattooing, culinary fruit art as well as fashion design. Following which, a panel discussion will allow the artists to showcase the relevance of the arts in the migrant context. 

Panellists:

  1. Cecil Calsas is a writer and poet. Her pieces were published in an E-book Wishing Well: Voices from Foreign Domestic Workers in Hong Kong and Beyond (2017), the main title coined from one of her works. She organised Philippine Sluggers, the baseball team featured in the documentary film Sunday, which was shortlisted in Hong Kong International Documentary Film Festival 2019. She conquered TEDx Wanchai Emergence 2018 stage with her poem Tsetserella. Cecil performs at Peel Street Open Mic Poetry in Central.

  2. Elpie Malicsi is a fashion designer using recycled materials and a culinary fruit artist. She works as a foreign domestic worker since 1988. A self taught artist paired with strong will to cultivate her days off, Elpie's works were showcased in a solo exhibition Sustainable Sunday Couture organised by Hong Kong University and the Philippine Consulate General in 2018. She is currently a livelihood trainer of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD), Hong Kong.

  3. Donna Sagudang is a self-taught Philippine painter and tattooist. She fulfilled her childhood dream by exploring her talents using pencils and paints since 2015. One of her breakthrough works was the mural painting at her employer's garden, which was featured in multiple media platforms including Asia Times and HK01. She is a member of various artist groups including Guhit Kulay. She has since participated in several art exhibitions including Obra: Likhang Sining at Galing ng Migranteng Filipino organised by the Philippine Consulate General, Hong Kong and Guhit Kulay in 2019.

  4. Ju-chen Chen is a senior lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is interested in the relationship between gender and migration. Her research focuses on Filipino migrant workers’ participation in beauty pageants and other communal events. Ju-chen is the co-editor of Wishing Well: Voices from Foreign Domestic Workers in Hong Kong and Beyond (2017) and the organizer of Babae Ipagbunyi/ Empathy in a Click: Joan Pabona Solo Photo Exhibition (2019). 

Zebra Crossing

 
 

That flashing yellow light. A blur of white paint. A zebra crossing.
We walk past one another every day, never ever taking a false step, to just stop and look at those who have passed us by.
This poetic play - which consists of 6 poems written by poets from 3 different countries - aims to explore what we’ve missed, amidst our fast-paced lives. Through exploring diverse stories, Zebra Crossing explores life as a crossroad of unheard human stories, and poetry as the rhythm to unify them.
Join us, on our poetic journey in discovering the marvel of chance meetings and the gift of life. Let us sail through this poetic voyage that builds bridges between different shores to celebrate a universal human identity.

Panellists:

  1. Migrant Writers of Singapore  Performed by: AKM Mazharul Abedin,Slyvia Kin, Chelyn Tot,Zakir Hossain, Erma Stefhany, Pardeep
    Toor, Eli Nur, Nizamul Haque, Uchie Mudjiyati, Mohamed Alamin
    Directed by: Debabrota Basu
    Conceptualized by: Zakir Hossain
    Script by: Naïve I Gascon, Debabrota Basu and Rolinda Española

I am Fan Yusu

In late April of 2017, Fan Yusu, then a domestic migrant worker in China, became an overnight literary sensation in China when her essay “I Am Fan Yusu” was published on online platform Noonstory.com and soon went viral.


This session features a discussion with Fan Yusu about her latest works.

Panellists:

  1. Born in Hubei, China, Fan Yusu was a farmer turned migrant worker in Beijing. She had worked as a garbage collector, second-hand book seller, hourly laborer, and nanny. She became famous overnight with her autobiographical story "I am fan Yusu". Fan Yusu is currently a member of "Pi village literature group", a support group for workers in Pi Village, a place where small factories and migrant workers settled.

  2. Yolanda Yu, born in North Eastern China, lives in Singapore since 1998. Award winning writer and poet, she also runs YoYo's Career Channel on YouTube.

Golden Waves

 
 

This session will showcase the work of the Golden Waves project in Italy. In response to the hardline migrant policy adopted by Italy, the  'Golden Waves' art project promotes solidarity for migrants. One of their best known activities was to cover a village in golden blankets. The session will also feature a panel discussion with the founder of the project and key participants 

Panellists:

  1. Mili Romano teaches Cultural Anthropology at the Academy of fine Art in Bologna. She is an artist and curator of public art, participatory and relational projects, often focused on promoting integration of migrants. Since 2005 she runs her project “Cuore di pietra” (Heart of stone) in Pianoro (Bologna). She published essays and books about literature, urban anthropology, public art. www.cuoredipietra.it || www.milromano.com

  2. Clement I. Thomas was born in Nigeria, Edo State, in 1992. He attended secondary school in Lagos between 2003 and 2008. He arrived in Italy in 2016, when he arrived by boat in Pozzallo. He was then transferred to Bologna, where he lives with his wife and his three-years-old daughter in a
    Immigrant Welcome Center managed by the Association Mondo Donna onlus. Recently, he was hired for some temp work by the DHL Courier and he’s working as an hodman in Pianoro (Bologna).

  3. Nazrul Kamsol, Managing Editor of MulaZine, a collective of multi disciplinary individuals and digital platform for paragraphs, photographs and ideas alike. Mula, the Malay word for ‘start’, aims to do exactly that by promoting insights into retrospective and current affairs, providing a safe space for lingering questions, discussions and a lifted censorship in all forms of bulletin, opinions and expression. Outside of Mula, Nazrul is a fourth year architecture student, with keen interest in conceptual works, and humanitarian causes. As a future designer, Nazrul aspires to be able to create disaster relief architecture that can improve the many lives of people that are vulnerable from natural disasters, poverty or war conflicts.

As a woman migrant

 

While the gender characteristics of migration are now being finally studied, this session will feature award-winning women writers of migrant background to understand how they consider their literary activities as a response to the context of migration.

 

Gender dynamics in relation to migration is finally something that has been given the attention it rightfully deserves. Join us therefore as we seek to understand how these award-winning migrant women writers employ literary techniques as a response to the gender dynamics associated with migration.  

Panellists:

  1. Asiya’s story begins in Swat Valley, Pashtunistan. She was 8 years old when the war in her hometown endangered the lives of the people. To survive, Asiya and her family fled from place to place, eventually escaping to Malaysia in 2010 as a refugee. She has faced many obstacles in her 22 years of living, yet she has managed to use those challenges to hone her resilience. She was the first prize winner at Migrant & Refugee Poetry Competition, Malaysia, 2019

  2. Nyamad Biel is a former South Sudanese refugee who is currently working as a humanitarian in her home country, South Sudan. She is an award-winning poet, filmmaker and writer.

  3. Yulia Endang, from Ciamis, West Java, has been working in Singapore as a migrant worker for 14 years. In addition to writing poetry, she enjoys photography. Yulia was awarded second place in Singapore’s 2019 Migrant Worker Poetry Competition

  4. Moderator: Amanda Chong is a lawyer who writes poems during lunch breaks. Her first collection Professions (2016) was shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize in 2018. Her poetry has been engraved on the Marina Bay Helix Bridge and included in the Cambridge GCSE syllabus. She co-founded ReadAble (www.readablesg.com), a non-profit which aims to improve social mobility by empowering children and migrant women with literacy.

At the Border

 

As they move between territories, jurisdictions, and cultures, how do state actors influence the barriers migrants face and the conditions they endure? This panel considers how such effects, along with the dynamics of gender and capital, take shape in India, the US-Mexico border, and the city-state of Singapore.

Panellists:

  1. Deepak K Mishra is Professor of Economics at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi. His research interests are in the areas of the political economy of agrarian change, agrarian institutions, rural livelihoods, migration, and human development. He has co-authored The Unfolding Crisis in Assam's Tea Plantations: Employment and Occupational Mobility (Routledge, 2012) and has edited Internal Migration in Contemporary India (Sage, 2016). Recently he has co-edited Land and Livelihoods in Neoliberal India (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2020).

  2. Priscilla Lugo is from the South Texas border and a dual Masters candidate in Public Affairs and Women & Gender Studies at The University of Texas and studies discrimination in the immigration/asylum system.  She has previously worked with pro-immigration groups like Refugee Services of Texas and the Workers Defense Project.

  3. Emma Israel is a masters candidate at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, where she studies US immigration policy, with a particular focus on asylum and humanitarian migration. She previously worked in immigration legal aid with Kids in Need of Defense and Project Citizenship.

  4. Hema Kalamogan is a recent graduate, from University College London, with a Master's in Global Health and Development and is a recipient of the 2019 Chevening Award. She is the co-founder of Vaangae Anna (Come Brother!) a migrant worker initiative in Singapore and is passionate about health in migrant communities.

  5. Theophilus Kwek is a writer, translator, editor and independent researcher based in Singapore. He has published four full-length collections of poetry, They Speak Only Our Mother Tongue (2011), Circle Line (2013), Giving Ground (2016) and Moving House (2020). Both Circle Line and Giving Ground were shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize, in 2014 and 2018 respectively. In addition, his pamphlet, The First Five Storms (2017), was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Poetry Award and won the inaugural New Poets’ Prize.
    'Health of Migrants in Singapore' || , 'Migrant Protection Protocols in Mexico' 

In Their Voices

 

How do we ensure that migrants’ perspectives, concerns, and histories have their rightful place in our collective understanding – and how do we remake our maps and archives to represent their knowledge? This panel examines how migrants’ voices and experiences can be brought to the fore in widely varied contexts.

Panellists:

  1. Dr Dolly Kikon is a Senior Lecturer in the Anthropology and Development Studies Program at the University of Melbourne. She received her PhD from the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University in 2013 and was a Post-Doctoral fellow at the Department of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University from 2013-2015.

  2. Ashley Moore earned her B.S. in Political Science from the University of Houston and her M.A. in Global Policy Studies from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.

  3. Lucas Pastorfield-Li: Between 2015 and 2017, Lucas served as Circle of Health International’s Emergency Response Officer in Haiti, Greece, Turkey, and Texas where he focused on nutrition and healthcare challenges for migrants and refugees. At the LBJ School of Public Affairs, Lucas specialized in global migratory trends and the elements of mass-displacement.

  4. Samira Hassan is a Global Studies major in the National University of Singapore. Having worked with migrant communities for over 7 years, Samira has recently taken an interest in exploring possibilities of creating socially-engaged art, specifically within the realm of lens-based mediums. She is still learning and hopes to combine her passion for research, activism and documentary-making in a meaningful way.

  5. Manishankar is an independent writer and researcher working on the intersection between migration and the corporate social licence to operate. Trained as an environmental engineer and activist ethnographer, he is at present working on a book draft on the 'Invisible Gulf' capturing the migrant neighbourhoods and narratives of the region. He read his master's degree at the National University of Singapore.

  6. Theophilus Kwek is a writer, translator, editor and independent researcher based in Singapore. He has published four full-length collections of poetry, They Speak Only Our Mother Tongue (2011), Circle Line (2013), Giving Ground (2016) and Moving House (2020). Both Circle Line and Giving Ground were shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize, in 2014 and 2018 respectively. In addition, his pamphlet, The First Five Storms (2017), was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Poetry Award and won the inaugural New Poets’ Prize.

Intertwining research and arts in migration studies - Part 1

 

Organized by CEDEM – Centre for Ethnic and Migration Studies (Liège University, Belgium). CEDEM (Centre for Ethnic and Migration Studies) is a research centre belonging to the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Liege. CEDEM is renowned for its theoretical and empirical expertise about the issues linked to human migrations, ethnic relations, racism, and integration of immigrants. The presentation by Basel Adoum & Laila Dib will discuss a theatre play initiative created through the collaboration between a non-profit civil organization called Refugees Are Not Alone (RANA), a group of Syrian artists, and a group of Syrian migrants and refugee. This project presents an insider look at the household of a Syrian family living in Brussels. The plot and script are inspired by informal discussions and interviews with Syrian families. The mise-en-scene is created by Syrians themselves, while RANA is responsible mainly for logistics. The play tackles themes of conflict between first and second generation, more particularly identity conflict for the second generation who pursue belonging in a hostile society. This conflict is juxtaposed with an integration policy gap that leaves women behind. This dramatized ethnography is not political in nature, but policy-oriented in the objective.
The presentation by Amanda Da Silva & Anthony Lefebvre will address the performing arts process on the show “Dites à ma mère que je suis là” (Tell my mother I'm here), created from an immersive experience in the migrant camps of Calais and Grande-Synthe. The project was based on the co-construction approach with dancers, acrobats, plastic artistes and researchers, who were led to contribute to the performance and in the elaboration of cultural mediation tools. The project shows that performing arts in-between research and the arts will lead to new methodologies. From the experience, participants were led to reflect on their position in the art’s world and as producers of arts on migration.The presentation by Basel Adoum & Laila Dib will discuss a theatre play initiative created through the collaboration between non-profit civil organization called Refugees Are Not Alone (RANA), a group of Syrian artists, and a group of Syrian migrants and refugee. This project presents an insider look at the household of a Syrian family living in Brussels. The plot and script are inspired by informal discussions and interviews with Syrian families. The mise-en-scene is created by Syrians themselves, while RANA is responsible mainly for logistics. The play tackles themes of conflict between first and second generation, more particularly identity conflict for the second generation who pursue belonging in a hostile society. This conflict is juxtaposed with integration policy gap that leaves women behind. This dramatized ethnography is not political in nature, but policy-oriented in objective.

The presentation by Amanda Da Silva & Anthony Lefebvre will address the performing arts process on the show “Dites à ma mère que je suis là” (Tell my mother I'm here), created from an immersive experience in the migrant camps of Calais and Grande-Synthe. The project was based on the co-construction approach with dancers, acrobats, plastic artistes and researchers, who were led to contribute to the performance and in the elaboration of cultural mediation tools. The project shows that performing arts in-between research and the arts will lead to new methodologies. From the experience, participants were led to reflect on their position in the art’s world and as producers of arts on migration. The experiences of migrants and the unique challenges they face are usually something that is far removed from the common individual. Through performance art, Basel Adoum and Amanda da Silva provide the audience with a window into the migrant experience, based upon their research as well as experiences on the ground. This will be followed by a panel discussion. 

Panellists:

  1. Basel Adoum is PhD candidate, member of CEDEM – Centre for Ethnic and Migration Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Liege (Belgium). He holds a M.A. in English Literature (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium) focusing on racial discrimination, identity, home and belonging in modern England as depicted by Caryl Phillips’ fiction from a Postcolonial perspective. His ongoing M.A. (Aleppo University, Syria) is about 20th century’s American theatre. He is the director of RANA’s Theatre Group, stand-up comedian, and fiction writer.

  2. Laila Dib is a software engineer/Product owner based in Brussels working with The Synergist, she is driving digital products development through collaborating with cross functional teams.
    Prior to product ownership role, Laila worked with startups and also worked as a Lecturer in Software engineering department - Tishreen University. Throughout her life, Laila had a sincere interest in exploring and educating tech topics, also in empowering women. Laila is a part of The Brussels Binder an online database for female policy experts in Brussels, she is also part of RANA, she also started her own YouTube channel called Let's talk technology in 2019 and aiming to start a new initiative to support women in Tech in Syria. All of that aim to give more visibility to women in the public sphere and deeper knowledge of tech topics, especially for Arabic Women.

  3. Amanda Da Silva is Ph.D candidate in political and social sciences at CEDEM – Centre for Ethnic and Migration Studies, University of Liège. She holds a Master degree in International Migrations by the ISCTE-IUL (Lisbon); and an M.A. in International Relations by UNIVALI (Brazil).  She is the artistic director of the State of emergency project, which brings together researchers, civil society actors, migrants and artists to performing arts. She participated as researcher for CEDEM in the Europe creative project Atlas of transitions: New Geographies for a Cross-Cultural Europe. Her research focused on migrants mobilities and solidarity practices. Her research interest areas are migrants mobilities, solidarity and humanitarianism, refugee camps, mobilization of civil society actors, cultural participation of migrants, cultural mediation.

  4. Anthony Lefebvre is a gymnast and contemporary dancer. His circus career began by meeting Guy Alloucherie and Cie Hendrick Van Der Zee. Anthony, enriches his acrobatic work during workshops, in dance with Joelle Bouvier, as a clown with Joel Colas and Jacques Motte, in buto with Sarah Duthille, and  Melissa Baker. He entered the world of street theatre. After three years of an international tour with Cie OFF, in 2011 he created an acrobatic duo “Le rest ... on en reparlera” within Cie Osmonde. He continues his research in urban space with "Ooups" from Cie Jordi Vidal. He worked with Livchine and Didier Ruiz, and collaborated with Laurent Chanel and David Roland. He was also a performer for Gildas Bourdet, Yves Beaunesnes, Berangère Janelle, Jean Gaudin, Olivier Dubois, Giorgio Barberio Corsetti. In 2015, he founded the Cie Etat d'Urgence with Amanda Da Silva. Their first show “Tell my mother that I am here”, winner of Tridanse 2016, considered an human experience between arts and sciences on the situation of refugees.

  5. Wiebke Sievers, first degree in Literary Translation, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany PhD in Translation Studies, University of Warwick, GB, senior scientist at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna and guest researcher and teacher at the Department for German-Jewish Literature and Cultural History, Exile and Migration, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder, Germany. She is also a member of the executive board of the Research Network IMISCOE (International Migration and Social Cohesion in Europe). Her research concentrates on migration and culture in Austria and in international comparison, with her main interest being in literature. However, she also works on theatre, cultural policies and the financing of culture. Her other research foci include literary translation and the internationalisation of literature. Currently, she is writing her habilitation on migration and literature in Austria. Publications include Scale Shifting: New Insights into Global Literary Circulation, Special issue of the Journal of World Literature (upcoming 2020, with Peggy Levitt), „From Monolingualism to Multilingualism? The Pre- and Post-monolingual Condition in the Austrian Literary Field“ (2019), Immigrant and ethnic minority writers since 1945: fourteen national contexts in Europe and beyond (2018, with Sandra Vlasta). 

Intertwining research and arts in migration studies - Part 2

 
 

Organized by CEDEM – Centre for Ethnic and Migration Studies (Liège University, Belgium). CEDEM (Centre for Ethnic and Migration Studies) is a research centre belonging to the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Liege. CEDEM is renowned for its theoretical and empirical expertise about the issues linked to human migrations, ethnic relations, racism, and integration of immigrants.
This presentation by Shannon Damery (Roma music, migrant music, or music for all?) will detail the researcher’s and research participants’ experiences in a Roma music group that was created to support the integration of young Roma in Brussels. While the organisers attempted to recruit Roma and Belgian participants, the group was ultimately comprised of a mix of Belgians and a variety of Roma and non-Roma migrants, and people of diverse ages and migratory statuses. Through the shared goal of learning and performing Roma music, the roles and power dynamics in the group shifted and mutated, as did the unofficial goal of the group as a whole. The researcher and participants worked together to share Roma music and cultures, but also to understand one another’s migration journeys, or lack thereof, and what this meant for their daily lives in the city of Brussels.
This presentation by Elsa Mescoli (The artistic projects of undocumented migrants in Liege) will focus on the initiatives developed by a collective of undocumented migrants living in Liege with the aim of claiming residence rights. Artistic practices are crucial in this process as tools to visibilise the migration history of forced migrants and their present life conditions, as well as their claims. While doing research to study these initiatives, the researcher and migrants/artists engage with overlapping roles, thus simultaneously contributing to research and artistic aims through a constant dialogue between different but complementary approaches and positionings.

Panellists:

  1. Shannon Damery is PhD candidate and researcher in the CEDEM. She is the research coordinator for the CEDEM in the H2020 project, CHILD UP (Children Hybrid Integration: Learning Dialogue as a way of Upgrading Policies of Participation). The aim of the project is to better understand how to support migrant children in their integration in education systems. Her doctorate is part of the INTEGRIM Initial Training Network in which she is a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher. In the framework of the 7FP Training Network “Integration and international migration: pathways and integration policies”her research focuses on how young migrants’ official migratory status impacts their daily lives in Brussels. She has experience in social work and earned her M.A. in Anthropology at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. This degree was part of the European partnership program: CREOLE: Cultural Differences and Transnational Processes. During the course of the program she studied at the University of Vienna and conducted research at two sites in Austria: a refugee integration facility and the Vienna Youth and Family Offices. Her research focused on the agency of young people in sheltered housing and the connections they created with multiple homes. Her research interests include refugees, forced migration, home and homemaking, youth and childhood studies, arts and integration, and activism and political participation.

  2. Elsa Mescoli is post-doctoral researcher, Lecturer Assistant, member of the CEDEM – Centre for Ethnic and Migration Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Liege (Belgium). She holds a PhD degree in Anthropology of contemporaneity – Ethnography of diversities and of cultural convergences (University of "Milan-Bicocca, Italy) and in Political and Social Sciences (University of Liege, Belgium, joint doctoral supervision) with a thesis on food as means to define women’s subjectivity in the context of migration. Her present research interests include the cultural practices of people with immigrant background in urban contexts, the discrimination of Muslims, the public opinion on migrants, the participation of migrants through food and arts. She is teaching the following Master courses: Anthropology of the contemporary world; Refugee and forced migration studies; Urban itineraries and cultural diversities; Socio-anthropological approach to interculturality. The complete list of her publications and communications is available at: 

  3. Marco Martiniello, BA in Sociology, University of Liège; PhD in Political Science, European University Institute Florence Professor at the University of Malmö (Sweden) and Lecturer in Sociology and Politics at the University of Liège. He is Director of CEDEM and of the Institute for research in Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Liège. He is also a member of the executive board of the European Network of Excellence IMISCOE (International Migration and Social Cohesion in Europe). He is a member of the editorial Board of Ethnic and Racial Studies, Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationales, Global Networks and Vice-chair of the Research Committee n°31 Sociology of Migration (International Sociological Association). His main research projects relate to the research axe of Citizenship, socio-political mobilisations and arts. The complete list of his publications and communications is available at: https://orbi.uliege.be/simple-search?query=martiniello.
     

Round-up: Where do we go from here? 

 

This session discusses lessons from the panelists's own experiences of research and advocacy in the Singapore context, and suggests some new directions or ways forward for those who may be keen to practice research/advocacy on issues facing Singapore's migrant communities.

Panellists:

  1. Anthea Ong was appointed by the President of Republic of Singapore as one of the nine Nominated Members of Parliament on 26 September 2018 and will serve for two and half years in this public service role. Shortly after, her book 50 Shades of Love was published in December 2018.  A former banker, Anthea was most recently a regional Managing Director with a UK-listed company where she also double-hatted as the Asian Lead of the Global Corporate Responsibility Board. Prior to that, she held key leadership roles with multinational organisations: Pearson Plc, New York Institute of Finance, Terrapinn Group and United Overseas Bank.

  2. Jeremy Lim is the vice-chair of HealthServe, a charity founded in 2006 focused on health concerns of the migrant worker population in Singapore. HealthServe provided medical care, counselling, casework, social assistance and other support services to address the holistic needs of the migrant workers under our care. A medical doctor trained in surgery and public health, Jeremy is CEO of AMILI, the region’s first precision gut microbiome company and is also director of global health in the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.

  3. Mohan J Dutta (b. 1973 Kharagpur) is Dean's Chair Professor of Communication and Director of the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) at Massey University. His activism-based research develops culturally-centred, community-based projects of social change that articulate health as a human right. Mohan Dutta's research examines the role of advocacy and activism in challenging marginalizing structures, the relationship between poverty and health, the political economy of global health policies, the mobilization of cultural tropes for the justification of neo-colonial health development projects, and the ways in which participatory culture-centred processes and strategies of radical democracy serve as axes of global social change. He is a fellow of the International Communication Association (ICA) and a winner of the ICA Applied/Public Policy Communication Award. Mohan Dutta lives and works in Palmerston North, Aotearoa NZ.

  4. Shona Loong is a DPhil candidate at the University of Oxford, where she conducts research on civil society, development, and war in Karen State, Myanmar. She has published peer-reviewed research on migrant workers in Singapore and Thailand and was a volunteer with Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) for four years prior to the start of her PhD.

Borders and Brutality

 

Through performances followed by a panel discussion,  this session will showcase how Common Ground Voices / La Frontera brings together a diverse group of artists in community music and peace-building projects situated at the border of Mexico and the United States. Through its signature programs, weeklong residencies and two-day encuentros, Common Ground Voices / La Frontera considers forced migration, identity, place, belonging, and shared humanity in this politically charged and historically contested region.

Panellists:

  1. Dr. Emilie Amrein is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion issues within the arts and academia. As Associate Professor of Music at the University of San Diego, she conducts the USD Concert Choir and Choral Leadership Collaboratory, and teaches courses on music and social justice movements.

  2. Dr. André de Quadros is Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Education Department at Boston University. He directs four choirs: the Manado State University Choir (Indonesia), Common Ground Voices (Israeli / Palestinian / international), VOICES 21C (Boston), and Muslim Choral Ensemble (Sri Lanka)

Iron, rock, factory and men 

 

In Migrant worker poetry, poets often write about the tools and the work environment they interact with - machines, tools, and factory. 
In this panel discussion, we will have poets from mainland China who worked in mines, factories and logistics firm to share their work and discuss their thoughts and life experience.

Panellists:

  1. Chen Nianxi - Born in Shanxi, China, Chen is a miner-poet, a blasting technician suffering from Pneumoconiosis and permanently lost of right-side hearing from his work. Chen has published a poetry collection "the explosion chronicles". He was also filmed in the documentary "My Poetry" during which he was a guest speaker at New York University.

  2. Wu Yan - Born in Liaoning, China in 1983, Wu Yan works in a factory in Benxi. In the humming of the giant machines, he keeps writing, and published a collection of poems named "writing in the factory". He has won multiple awards for his poetry in China.

  3. Hou Wei - Born in Nanchang, China, came to Singapore in 2011. Houwei works in a logistics company and writes in his leisure time. He loves Chinese classical poems, especially the 8-line poems. He has been a finalist in Singapore Migrant Poetry and one of his poems was collected in anthology "Call and Response".

  4. Yolanda Yu, born in North-Eastern China, lives in Singapore since 1998. Award-winning writer and poet, she also runs YoYo's Career Channel on YouTube.

Voices and Sounds of Syria

 

This session will feature poetry and music of Syrian refugees in Malaysia followed by a panel discussion. Poetry and music has always found a place among the voiceless. Join us as we experience the beautiful poetry and music of Syrian refugees in Malaysia. This will be followed by a panel discussion. 

Panellists:

  1. Abdulsalam is a Syrian poet and a freelance photographer, living in Malaysia since 2013. Last year, he won Second Prize in The Migrant and Refugees Poetry Competition held annually in Kuala Lumpur. He performed his poems in the Georgetown Literary Festival, Ilham Gallery, and Refugee Festival among other places. His poetry explores topics like exile, homeland, identity, the uncertainty of the future, his relationship with the past, and sometimes, love.

  2. Somar Abou Fakher is a Syrian Artist from Damascus. He studied fine arts at university while teaching himself how to play a multitude of instruments. He has never been formally trained but has had many years of practice. He has been living in Malaysia for three years making handicrafts, painting and playing music.

  3. Paroma Ray is a feminist educator and artist.  As a  South Asian woman and a parent of three, she spends a lot of time immersed in dialogues about gender, race and rainbows.  Paroma identifies herself as being rootless and frequently wonders about the meaning of home, belonging and identity.

Make Art not Walls

 

The Make Art Not Walls project is the brainchild of a longtime Trevi resident, Australian artist Virginia Ryan. This session will showcase the work of the project that aims to bring out the human potential and restore dignity to people stranded in limbo. Making art, Virginia tells migrants, is a form of therapy. The session will also showcase the film The Art of Migration 2017.

The Make Art Not Walls project is the brainchild of a longtime Trevi resident, Australian artist Virginia Ryan. Making art, Virginia tells migrants, is a form of therapy, and this session aims to showcase that through the works of the project, which aim to restore the dignity of people stranded in limbo, as well as highlight their inherent human potential. Additionally, the film, “The Art of Migration (2017)” will also be presented. 

Panellists:

  1. Virginia Ryan is an Australian-Italian binational artist, art therapist, and cultural activist who graduated from the Canberra School of Arts (79) and postgraduate studies in Art Therapy (Edinburgh, Scotland 94). Since 1980, she has worked internationally within the disciplines of painting, photography, sculpture and installation, solo and in collaboration with artists, anthropologists and musicians, collaborating with institutions such as New York University, and co-founding FCA Ghana (Foundation for Contemporary Art, Ghana- ongoing ) and Make Art Not War NGO in Grand Bassam after the 2011 civil war in Ivory Coast.

  2. Marie Kretz Di Meglio founded the non-profit organisation Uplifters in 2018, www.uplifters-edu.org. Its mission is to empower underprivileged communities with online education and peer support.  It concentrates on domestic workers and its signature program is a free 6-month online course on money management and personal growth. The community has now more than 8,000 members.

We Migrate, We Labor, We Write 

 
 

This session will have three prolific migrant worker-writers from China sharing their exciting works. Xiao Hai and Wan Huashan are based in Picun, Beijing and Wu Ji in Fujian province. They often write about migrant workers’ life in China. Let’s listen to their poetic and powerful voices! This session features Xiao Hai, Wan Huashan and Wuji, prolific migrant worker writers who often write about the lives of workers in China. Poetry and prose have once again provided the platform for people to have their voices heard by the masses, and today we will be lucky enough to be a part of that.

Panellists:

  1. Wu Ji was born in a village in Fujian province, in 1972. Having graduated from university, he worked as a teacher, office worker, and worked in factories. From 2007-2018, he collected worker’s writings and edited three volumes of Worker’s Poetry together with several other worker poets.

  2. Hu Xiaohai was born in Henan province in 1987. He has been working for 16 years in different factories across China. His poetry collection Howls of Factory has won international readership. His poetry is largely influenced by Hai Zi, Cui Jian, Bob Dylan, U2 and Pink Floyd.

  3. Wan Huashan was born in Henan province in 1989. He became a migrant worker at a very young age and worked in various cities in China. He writes short stories and essays. Now he is an editor of the journal New Worker’s Literature in Beijing.

  4. Luka, Zhang Lei is a PhD candidate in English at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She received her Master’s Degree from University of Macau. She works on her PhD project “The Specter of Workers”: The (Im) Possibilities of Working-Class Literature from Asia. She is a translator or of working-class literature.

Spartacus in a migrant context

 

In his film, 'I Am Spartacus,' Haim Sokol reconstructs a scene from Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus (1960). From Ancient Rome, the action moves to today’s Moscow where the roles are played by labour migrants from Kyrgyzstan. In this scene, defeat is transformed into a moment of complete triumph. Defeated, anonymous slaves gain names. Each of them becomes Spartacus, and hence each can lead a future uprising. This session will screen a key section of the film followed by a discussion with Haim Sokol

Panellists:

  1. Haim Sokol was born in Arkhangelsk in 1973. Graduated from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Moscow. He teaches at the Alexander Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia and is a member of the editorial board of the Moscow Art Magazine. Sokol is the recipient of the professional award «Soratnik» (2009) and has been nominated for the «Innovation» prize (short-list of 2008, 2014) and the Kandinsky Prize (long-list of 2014).

Katthu Pattu

 

Haim Sokol was born in Arkhangelsk in 1973. Graduated from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Moscow. He teaches at the Alexander Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia and is a member of the editorial board of the Moscow Art Magazine. Sokol is the recipient of the professional award «Soratnik» (2009) and has been nominated for the «Innovation» prize (short-list of 2008, 2014) and the Kandinsky Prize (long-list of 2014).

 

Kathu Pattu (“letter songs”) are songs based on letters exchanged by migrants from the southern Indian state of Kerala to the Gulf and their wives left behind. This session will showcase a father-daughter duo singing Kathu Pattu songs and an interview with them.

Panellists:

  1. Noushad Abdul Rahman is a migrant worker from Kerala. He has been working in Dubai as a driver but returned to India during the Covid-19 crisis. His family comprises of his wife and three children, all of whom are passionate about Music

  2. Ayesha Amrin is pursuing a Diploma in Elementary Education and is Noushad's youngest daughter

  3. Gayathri Gopal is by profession an innovation consultant and an entrepreneur. She came to Singapore for her higher studies in 2006 and continued to live there. She wears multiple hats as an actor, dancer and compere. She has presented many cultural events in Singapore and conducted several talk shows with cine artists and prominent talents. She has been training in Odissi, an Indian classical dance form for several years and currently learning Chhau, a martial dance form from Orissa. She is also a biodynamic craniosacral therapist and believes in holistic living.

Look Ma! “I’m British!” 

 
 
 

This sessions will feature a brand new play by The Birds Migrant Theatre followed by a panel discussion with the members

 

Panellists:

  1. The Birds Migrant Theatre is a group of migrant workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh, and The Philippines. The group’s name refers to migratory birds. They are united by their interest in theatre. In 2018, they presented a staged reading of ‘Shoes’ by Wiwi Tri as part of the Singapore Theatre Festival and performed an original play ‘New Land’ at the Global Migrant Festival. In May 2019, they were invited to perform at the ‘Today at Apple series’, and staged dramatized reading of ‘Yes Ma’am’ by Deni apriyani and ‘Textbook and Sambal’ by Sugiarti Mustiarjo as part of Red Dot August Esplanade on the August 2019. They have been receiving guidance from Haresh Sharma, resident playwright of The Necessary Stage.

  2. Zamira Monteiro is the Communications Manager at Enrich, which provides financial literacy to domestic workers in Hong Kong. She is passionate about the empowerment of women and marginalised groups, and the inclusion of minority voices. Previously, Zamira has worked to support Hong Kong’s refugee community. She has an LLM in Human Rights from the University of Hong Kong.

New Workers Troupe新工人乐团

 

This sessions will feature a musical performance by the New Workers Troupe followed by a panel discussion with the members

Panellists:

  1. New Workers Troupe is a well-established band formed by Chinese migrant workers in 2002. They have released six albums, including Sing for the Laborers, Our World Our Dream, Labor and Dignity etc. They now base in Beijing, China. They often perform for Chinese migrant workers.
    Luka, Zhang Lei is a PhD candidate in English at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She received her Master’s Degree from University of Macau. She works on her PhD project “The Specter of Workers”: The (Im) Possibilities of Working-Class Literature from Asia. She is a translator or of working-class literature.

The Helper

 
 

In her film, The Helper, Joanna Bowers chronicles diverse stories from Hong Kong's migrant workers, exploring their immense contribution to society in the face of heartbreaking separation from their loved ones.
 This session will feature a discussion with the director and also show some snippets from the film

Panellists:

  1. Joanna graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in Broadcast Journalism with the BBC. She began her directing career whilst working in Los Angeles with the narrative short film “Inviolate Rose” followed by other commercial, fashion and narrative short projects. She now lives in Hong Kong working as a writer and director creating original content filming throughout Asia with recent shoots for brands including Cathay Pacific, HSBC and The North Face.

  2. Moderator: Amanda Chong is a lawyer who writes poems during lunch breaks. Her first collection Professions (2016) was shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize in 2018. Her poetry has been engraved on the Marina Bay Helix Bridge and included in the Cambridge GCSE syllabus. She co-founded ReadAble (www.readablesg.com), a non-profit which aims to improve social mobility by empowering children and migrant women with literacy.

Humor as the only weapon

 

Nasreddin in Russia is a non-regular multi-language publication covering events in the lives of people who have come to Russia looking for work. Through humour, the newspaper raises important issues, including real experiences of labour migrants. The group also runs innovative projects with migrants such as mobile discotheque to use humour as a defence for migrants. This session will showcase some such works as well as discussion with the founders

Panellists:

  1. Anna Tereshkina is a Russian Postwar & Contemporary artist who was born in 1986. Their work was featured in several exhibitions at key galleries and museums, including the Winzavod Contemporary Art Center and the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. Anna Tereshkina has been featured in articles for the ArtDaily, the Blok Magazine and the Ocula. The most recent article is [En/De] ‘Wir | We’ at Christine König Galerie written by Marina Fokidis for the Blok Magazine in October 2020.

  2. Olga Jitlina, artist, founder and editor of the Utopian News Agency and of the Nasreddin in Russia newspaper (together with Anna Tereshkina). In 2011,in collaboration with human rights advocate Andrey Yakimov, she created a board game about labour migration called “Russia, the Land of Opportunities”. Since 2015, Jitlina has been collaborating with Lampedusa in Hamburg group of refugee activists on theatrical performance “Translation" based on Andrey Platonov’s novella “Dzhan”.

  3. Shivaji Das is the author of four travel memoirs and photography books. His latest book is ‘The Other Shangri-La: Journeys through the Sino-Tibetan frontier in Sichuan.’ Shivaji’s work has been featured in TIME, Economist, BBC, Asian Geographic, etc. He is the conceptualizer of the acclaimed Global Migrant Festival and Migrant and Refugee Poetry Contests and is the Managing Director-APAC for Frost & Sullivan, a research and consulting company.

Being Golriz Ghahraman

 

An interview with Golriz Ghahraman, Member of Parliament in New Zealand. She is the first refugee to be elected to New Zealand's Parliament and has recently published her memoir. 

Panellists:

  1. Golriz Ghahraman MP (Persian: گلریز قهرمان‎; born 1981) is an Iranian-born New Zealand politician, member of Parliament, and author. The former United Nations lawyer was a child asylum seeker and became the first refugee elected to New Zealand's Parliament. She is a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives for the Green Party.

  2. Yolanda Yu, born in North-Eastern China, lives in Singapore since 1998. Award-winning writer and poet, she also runs YoYo's Career Channel on YouTube.

Finals of the Migrant Worker & Refugee Poetry Competition Malaysia

 
 

First held in 2015, the Migrant Worker & Refugee Poetry Competition, Malaysia, has quickly established itself as one of the key events in the cultural calendar in Malaysia. The objectives of the competition are to provide a platform for mutual understanding between Malaysians and migrants while celebrating the literary talent of migrant workers and refugees in Malaysia. The event also seeks to promote greater tolerance of multi-culturalism and give a voice to refugees and lower-skilled foreign workers. This session will feature the finals of the 2020 competition with readings by shortlisted contestants and the announcement of the winners

Migrant workers in Malaysia

Finals of the Migrant Workers Poetry Competition, Singapore

 

Started in 2014, has become the marquee event across the globe

Migrant workers in Singapore

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

©2020 by Global Migrant Festival

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