Title

Bridging the Gap: Producing a play with the Congolese Refugees of Missoula

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

In today’s global culture amid the increasingly contentious debate about immigration, the topic of refugees is particularly relevant. Through our research, we came to understand the refugee experience and xenophobic responses to it. Our main takeaway was that storytelling is one of the most effective means to create understanding between refugees and host communities. Our project will examine the refugee experience in the context of xenophobia and increase understanding via storytelling. Successful examples of storytelling have taken place through art shows, plays, and public school education. Our group aims to help Missoula’s Congolese families put on a play about their experience. While the families wrote the play and will star in it, our group will be in charge of logistics, marketing, fundraising and communications. This play will show Missoula, as well as Montana’s larger community, what the refugees experienced before coming to Missoula. Scenes from the play include living in a refugee camp, dealing with death and disease, encountering strict law enforcement at every step, and passing through a series of interrogations before coming to Missoula. We hope this play will bring mutual understanding to Missoulians and Montanans. We hope to have politicians in the audience, so if they find an increased understanding they can enact policy that will help refugees globally.

Category

Interdisciplinary (GLI)

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Apr 28th, 10:40 AM Apr 28th, 11:00 AM

Bridging the Gap: Producing a play with the Congolese Refugees of Missoula

UC North Ballroom

In today’s global culture amid the increasingly contentious debate about immigration, the topic of refugees is particularly relevant. Through our research, we came to understand the refugee experience and xenophobic responses to it. Our main takeaway was that storytelling is one of the most effective means to create understanding between refugees and host communities. Our project will examine the refugee experience in the context of xenophobia and increase understanding via storytelling. Successful examples of storytelling have taken place through art shows, plays, and public school education. Our group aims to help Missoula’s Congolese families put on a play about their experience. While the families wrote the play and will star in it, our group will be in charge of logistics, marketing, fundraising and communications. This play will show Missoula, as well as Montana’s larger community, what the refugees experienced before coming to Missoula. Scenes from the play include living in a refugee camp, dealing with death and disease, encountering strict law enforcement at every step, and passing through a series of interrogations before coming to Missoula. We hope this play will bring mutual understanding to Missoulians and Montanans. We hope to have politicians in the audience, so if they find an increased understanding they can enact policy that will help refugees globally.