Beirut, 13-17 June
Workshop on storytelling and migration, open to participants from abroad. Trainers and lecturers are Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian journalists, researchers and civil society staff working on migration issues in Lebanon. More details and application form coming soon.
Exploring new ways forward.
Our shorter trainings invite participants to share their own knowledge and experiences, from both professional and personal settings, in order to develop their critical, reflexive and analytical thinking. Through sharing and analysing real, lived, experiences, we are better able to see complexities and nuances, and trace new paths ahead, based on where we come from.
The overall objective for the shorter trainings is for participants to find new, more just, ways of acting in their roles as researchers, journalists and documentarians, civil society actors and policymakers.
A typical outline for our shorter trainings, adapted each time:
A session on migration, looking at the phenomenon in a local context: how people have migrated to and from the country; what former and current social and political developments have played in; what are the attitudes and real policies affecting work migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
A session looking at the construction and reproduction of stereotypes, preconceptions, simplified images and the formation of “us” and “them”. We look at how narrow ideas take root within media and/or academia, and how journalists, researchers and civil society actors can work towards a more diverse and fair reporting.
An session to look at our own background and experiences, locating events and circumstances that have shaped us so far. Locating ourselves in relation to the topic allows for a more comprehensive understanding.
A seminar on the concept of “single stories” and how a lack of diversity in the way we look at communities and places in the world form narrow understandings of reality. We look at what single stories are told about us, and what single stories we tell about others.
A session on visual representation, looking at how migration and exile can be portrayed, in photographs and visuals, in a way that broadens our ideas and worldviews.
A session on privileges and how they function and intersect: how each of us may have both advantages and disadvantages in different situations, and how to take this into account as professionals.
A session that introduces participants to different situations, based on real incidents or interactions between people working on migration, inviting people to discuss and outline ways of how to best act in each of them.
A session where people bring an article or report they have published earlier, or notes describing a specific situation they have faced at some point during their career, in order to look critically and with reflection at these past experiences.
A session, finally, where participants get to work on bringing diversity to the field of documenting and writing about migration. This writing workshop builds on the sessions during day one, and lets people rewrite a “single story” article to make it more diverse and representative.
Past trainings in Lebanon:
New reflections on exile and migration
From 2018 to 2021, we have organised eight workshops with over 100 participants from different parts of Lebanon, including people of many different nationalities and backgrounds. The workshops, which bring together people from across the fields of journalism and civil society, are held over the course of two or three days. The program includes sessions on self-reflection and discussion, sharing of professional and personal experiences, and critical media analysis. To date, Switch Perspective workshops have been held in Beirut, Zahle, Hammana and Tripoli.
Audio storytelling workshop
In November 2021, Switch Perspective organised a residency in El Mina, Tripoli, in northern Lebanon. Storytellers from different backgrounds, including journalism and civil society, took part in the five-day residency devoted to producing an audio guide with stories on migration located in different neighbourhoods in El Mina.
Topics ranged from Tripoli’s famous sweets and seaside boat restaurants to the history of Lebanon’s defunct railway and how to stay in touch with loved ones far away. In December, a walk was held in El Mina where each story was told live to an audience. An audio guide with all stories is under production, and will be available for people to listen to and do the walk on their own.
The Alternative Academy
In spring 2019, we held a seven-week course in Beirut, as part of The Alternative Academy, a joint Lebanon Support–Jibal initiative to offer scientific and other knowledge to everyone. Switch Perspective held sessions once a week in collaboration with writer and founder of The Outpost magazine Ibrahim Nehme. The Alternative Academy course included sessions on stereotypes and power structures in the media as well as specific sessions on pitching and creative writing.