GRC’s Shayna Plaut will be presenting opening night at the 10th annual “Strangers in New Homelands” conference bringing together those working with immigrants and refugees world wide. Her presentation will centre on the GRC’s Strangers at Home project.

Strangers at Home: Current narratives of fear and resistance in Europe

In Europe, waves of immigrants – some political refugees fleeing wars; others fleeing a system that assumes a migration of capital without people – have renewed feelings of resentment towards people perceived as “outsiders.”

Such political and economic uncertainty has led some politicians to search for scapegoats in traditionally ostracized communities like the Roma and Jews, as well as immigrant communities. Extremist voices are gaining political power, inspiring some Europeans to take to the streets to “claim back” their place. As a result, millions of people in Europe are feeling like strangers at home.

This desire for a simple, digestible narrative, is reflected in media reporting often leading to dangerous affects in subsequent policy discussions. Strangers at Home – a nine segment “anthology documentary” – challenges traditional content and method. By working with a multiplicity of storytellers across different geographical, social, political and professional locations, Strangers at Home problematizes the simple narrative and embraces the complexity and nuance of this troubling trend which is, of course, not limited to Europe. Through journalists, cartoonists, neo-fascists and every-day-youth, Strangers at Home provides a new means of reporting on such unfolding and multilayered issues. How is the rise of the right manifesting in different countries? Who is cast aside as the strangers, often in their own “home?” Just as importantly – why is this happening? And how is this affecting, and affected, by the majority populations in these countries?