In the lead-up to Refugee Festival Scotland 2022, we held a short series of media training workshops with a fantastic group of festival participants based in Glasgow – Adam, Mirna, Fakhriya and Ibrahim.
The workshops were focused on learning new skills, building confidence and making new connections.
During the first workshop, we looked at setting boundaries. We discussed what questions we would like to be asked by journalists, and what questions we would prefer not to answer, when being interviewed by the media
Some of the questions that the group do not want to be asked:
- What trauma did you experience?
- Why did your family not come with you?
- Why don’t you go back home now that your country is safe?
- What is your relationship with God?
- Do not ask me about my politics
- Don’t ask me about my mental health
- Don’t ask me about my partner
- Why are you wearing this on your head?
Some of the questions that individuals would be happy to answer:
- Ask me about my dreams
- What have you achieved since being here?
- What is your experience in the media?
- What has your life been like in the UK?
- What makes you happy?
- How have you survived so far?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
This exercise led to a lengthy and vibrant group discussion about consent, boundaries, culture, the asylum process, refugee journey, and identity.
In the second workshop, we looked at some fun examples of avoiding difficult questions, and practiced being celebrities dodging difficult questions about their personal lives. We then looked at Bafta-award winning Syrian activist Hassan Akkad’s Good Morning Britain interview about the Rwanda deal and examined how he responded to challenging questions from the two hosts, one of whom was more on-side than the other, and how he stuck to his key messages.
We then looked at what parts of our stories we would want to share, and how to structure them for a media interview, with some key messages that we want the audience to remember. We shared stories from our past, our present, and our hopes for the future.
Finally, we worked through IMIX’s Safeguarding Checklist – a vital read for people engaging with the media.
Ibrahim, who is hosting Radio Buena Vida and Greater Govanhill’s Sound of Refugee Voices show, shared some wisdom from his time in the UK and his hopes for the future:
“Things are much better now because when I tell people about what I want to do in entertainment they always try to help. I am able to express myself and am trying to learn new things, and am given the opportunity to do what I like.”
When asked about his hopes for the future, he said: “I would like to improve my media skills and learn new things.”
Fakhriya, from Interfaith Glasgow’s Weekend Club, shared some of her hopes for the future too:
“A world where there is no division due to race, ethnicity, gender or religion. A world where status does not determine the type of life you live.”
Join Fakhriya and Mirna at Interfaith Glasgow’s Women’s Writing Workshop, 11am-2pm on Wednesday 22 June. Writer Abigail Haworth will work with attendees to create their own short pieces of writing and explore the stories of refugee women. All women welcome – no writing experience necessary! But please book your free tickets in advance.
And later in the day, don’t miss Ibrahim and Mirna at 6pm for their LIVE radio show Sound of Refugee Voices, with thanks to the incredible folks at Greater Govanhill magazine and Radio Buena Vida – not to be missed! Listen here from 6-8pm, or afterwards on Soundcloud.
Image from L-R: Mirna, Fakhriya, Ibrahim, Adam. Photographer: Iman TajikArts and culture