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MIGRANT LIVES IN PANDEMIC TIMES: A collection of personal stories and the policy change they inspire

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NOW AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING: Twelve documentary shorts premiered Oct. 28, 2021. The documentaries and policy commentary can be viewed at (external link) 

Migrant Lives in Pandemic Times: Lesson Plans for Grade 5-8 Language and Social Studies Units  (PDF file) English (PDF file) French

Official Selection 5th Refugees Film Festival 2022
Official Selection Home is Distant Shores 2022
Official Selection International Multicultural Film Festival 2022
Official Selection International Migration & Environmental Film Festival 2023
Immigration Film Festival 2023 laurels
OFFICIAL SELECTION Social Impact Film Festival 2023
OFFICIAL SELECTION Toronto Short Film Festival 2024

The project was created to investigate, discuss and raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by migrant workers in Canada and around the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It sought to mobilize knowledge beyond the university by using digital storytelling to engage a wide range of audiences, including civil society stakeholders, policy makers, scholars, and researchers.

The on-going COVID-19 pandemic has left no life untouched. However, in addition to the collective trauma caused by the isolation and uncertainty resulting from COVID-19 restrictions, migrant workers around the world have faced unique challenges based on where they are and their immigration status. This project seeks to highlight the ways in which their everyday work and livelihoods have changed under the pandemic by focusing on a series of important themes, notably work, housing, migration status and family. By foregrounding the voices and experiences of migrant protagonists across the globe and having them take an active role in the production of their stories, the project seeks to bridge migrant experiences to build solidarity, empathy and inform policy and practices across borders. At the same time, it also builds an international network of early career researchers (“scholars”) to share and exchange ideas and raise awareness regarding new and pre-existing challenges for migrants that have become exacerbated by the pandemic.

The project paired twelve researchers from around the world – Canada, the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Ghana, South Africa, India and Singapore – with 12 migrant protagonists. Researchers were supported by project partner, Migration Matters (external link) , a German media non-profit that coached researchers through digital story-telling workshops and consultations. The completed films were the source of policy commentaries that were drafted by researchers in response to the issues raised by the migrant protagonists.

CERC Migration partnered with Migration Matters (external link) , a non-profit organization founded in January 2016 in response to media coverage about the so-called refugee crisis. Their mission is to empower the public to have more nuanced and evidence-based conversations about migration.

CERC Migration

COVID-19, pandemic, migration, lived-experience, digital-story-telling