Bournemouth University is hosting an online digital arts exhibition for refugees

Photograph of Mohammed Zunaid, 20, Rohingya activist, photojournalist and videographer.


A team from Bournemouth University has led a global project, in partnership with Maltepe University and Gate of Sun in Turkey, and the University of Chittagong in Bangladesh, to give the seldom-heard voices of refugees the chance to be heard.

Digital Arts for Refugee Engagement (DA-RE) is an exploratory research project using artistic activities in combination with digital literacy to develop the capacities of young refugees in Turkey and Bangladesh.

The DA-RE research team brings together expertise in digital literacies, the arts, literacy and agency, adult learning and vocational training, with academic partners and community practitioners working with digital assistants. seeking refugees in Turkey and Bangladesh.

DA-RE participant Mohammed Jonayek from Rohingya said, “I am a motivational speaker and also a poet. I have always wanted to be a motivational speaker on an international level, that’s why I used the English language in my motivational videos.

“I am also a poet and as everyone knows how we feel in the refugee camp, we also share our feelings and our pain by writing poems.”

Ahmad Durbala.

Ahmed Durbala (above) said: “I am a 26-year-old Syrian refugee actor and filmmaker in Gaziantep. My film ‘Bullet of Life’ chronicles the hero’s hysterical state after losing his family in the unfolding war in his country. .”

Mohammed Zunaid, 20, is a Rohingya activist, photojournalist and videographer. He crossed the border in 2017 and settled in Kutupalong refugee camp, Ukhia, Cox’s Bazar.

Zunaid said: “When I grew up in Rohingya, I felt like the world didn’t know what was going on in our daily lives. That’s why I want to be a journalist, to shed light on what’s happening at home.

“From there I was caught in a fire when we had to fly to Bangladesh, so many people gathered and so many of us fled our village. Taking photos and videos at from that was part of my journalism.”

Julian McDougall, Professor of Media and Education and DA-RE Project Leader, said: “Seeing the results of these young artists and filmmakers combining their digital skills with artistic expression, made possible by our partners in Turkey and Bangladesh, has been a privilege.

“The work and creativity that we have seen and heard is not only important for the communities affected, but also a learning experience for the rest of the world. It gives us a real insight into the effect that conflict, war and displacements have on those who live through them.

“All of these young people’s works are available online and we urge everyone to take the time to listen to their stories.”

The online exhibit of Syrian and Rohingya refugees and the recording of a virtual event where they shared their work and discussed their experiences with the research team can all be viewed on the BU website.


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John C. Dent