Immigration and issues of national identity continue to dominate the political discourse in the UK. With the return to walls, wires and the infrastructure of hard borders, unity and openness have given way for suspicion, fear and confusion. As the UK leaves the European Union and redraws its cultural parameters, there is a unique opportunity to capture stories of the people inside of this process before it, and they, are forever altered.
Castaway Heritage captures the oral histories of 20 individuals which reveal the hidden historical forces driving the growth of the migrant community in Sussex. Through reminiscence and memory, this community interest project delves into the journeys of refugees, asylum seekers, workers and supporters who are trying to navigate assimilation in a space of social uncertainty. Although the migrant community in the UK has become one of the most pressing issues in current social discourse, Castaway Heritage recognises that often, these stories are only half-told. We’ve challenged this approach by working slowly and in depth to tell stories of resilience that we believe matter.
"I followed the Home Office instructions for four years, but I didn't have any decision on my asylum claims, so I get tired. I didn't get any support. I give them the proof. I don't know if they read it or not to be honest."
"I have dentist friends and they are not allowed to work. They claim asylum and get refugee status and work in kebab shop or selling fish and chips. It's very difficult for them."
"I just assumed people moved around the world. My family are all over the place."
As you listen to the following short segments picked from the series, and meet the individuals who drive these stories, we hope you will find yourself both challenged and inspired as we were when documenting them.
Their legacies are crucial at this time of transition and change, as they highlight the ever-growing need for new narratives to take root, changing the legislative and social stigmas attached to immigration and asylum.
"I remember being quite young and you'd see stuff in the Daily Mail. There's always been anti-immigrant rhetoric in the UK. I thought no one took that stuff seriously. Then of course I met someone, a Jewish kid, who did. And I thought; you can't think that, your family are refugees."
To listen to the complete episodes and more oral histories in the series, check out our radio podcast here.
For an immersive experience, catch the last week of our Castaway Heritage exhibition at Brighton Dome. You'll find us on the South Balcony!
All the stories and photographs from the Castaway Heritage Project are collected together in a new exciting book. Keep an eye out on our social media for details about the upcoming release and book launch!
Refugee Radio supports people who have been forced to flee their homes because of war and persecution. They run an advice project and support group for refugees and asylum seekers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder every Monday at 3pm - 5pm.
for more information visit www.refugeeradio.org.uk
Registered charity: 1133554
BUY THE CASTAWAY HERITAGE BOOK
Castaway Heritage: Refugee Radio is available to order through the paypal link below.
You can also purchase the book at City Books (Western Rd, Brighton) and Books for Amnesty (Sydney St, Brighton).