Dr Nelli Stavropoulou (School of Psychology & Counselling, The Open University) is the curator and producer of Moving Worlds, a programme of films available to watch during Refugee Week, a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees (20-26 June 2022). Moving Worlds is produced by Counterpoints Arts, which coordinates Refugee Week nationally.
Over the past six years, Moving Worlds has invited viewers to host public screenings and engage in important post-screening conversations, while celebrating and honouring the important stories and experiences of individuals seeking safety across the world.
Responding to this year’s Refugee Week theme of ‘healing’, the programme brings together a collection of filmic stories that engage with the notion of ‘healing’ in different ways; as the process of finding one’s voice and place in the world; as a collective responsibility and an invitation to change the world around us; and ultimately, as the unexpected result of engaging in dialogue and showing compassion towards each other.
One of this year’s featured films is Stories too big for a case file: Unaccompanied young people confront the hostile environment, which was developed as part of the Children Caring on the Move project led by Professor Sarah Crafter (School of Psychology & Counselling, The Open University) and Dr. Rachel Rosen (University College London). Stories too big for a case file is a short film that showcases the testimonies of young, unaccompanied refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants as they navigate ‘the system’ in the UK. The film was collaboratively produced by Young Researchers with migration experiences and university-based researchers, along with director Louis Brown from East London Cable. For the past two years, the research team has been working together on the participatory project Children Caring on the Move (CCoM) to design and carry out research about unaccompanied young people’s experiences of care.
In a special blog put together for Moving Worlds, Nelli talked to Mey, one of the young researchers, and Rachel, who co-leads on the CCoM project.
Stories too big for a case file provides insights into the racialised borders that divide citizens from migrants and the borders that divide childhood from adulthood, considering their consequence for care, belonging, and life itself. It is a message of support and solidarity for other unaccompanied young people. As Mey points out “Maybe a link is that the film gives a sense to unaccompanied young people that we are here with you on the journey through your healing process.”
The film goes a step further, as Rachel mentions “One thing that I think is important is that many of the things unaccompanied young people are ‘healing’ from are not (only) experience from the past or harms endured elsewhere. One of the young people I interviewed said, ‘My Home Office interview was like having a Band-Aid ripped off a sore over and over.’ I thought that was a powerful way of expressing the idea that the hostile immigration environment in the UK not only does not allow for healing but it causes new hardships.” Stories too big for a case file is also a call to action – about the urgency of challenging injustices in the UK’s migration regime and to make positive changes for unaccompanied young people.
To read the full interview between Nelli, Mey and Rachel you can click here