Opening Hearts through Arts

Updated 21 January 2022: ‘Hostile’ documentary film:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njxBduqZeyA

and https://www.hostiledocumentary.com/ Sonita Gale is an independent producer and director. Sonita’s heritage is central to her storytelling. As a daughter of migrant parents, elevating the stories of migrants and marginalised communities has been at the forefront of her work.
Sonita has recently completed her directorial debut, Hostile, a feature length documentary exposing the ‘hostile environment’ for migrants living in the UK. Through the impact campaign for the film, Sonita hopes to influence change in immigration policies.


Updated 20 July 2022: Film

Commissioned By: Peter Hopkins, Newcastle University; Funded by ESRC (ES/V015141/1) Animation and Illustration: Stacy Bias Sound design: Jack Benfield Voiceover: Sara Dweik, Amr Mallassi, Katherine Margaret, Marilla Wex


Updated 14 January 2022: The Bookseller: Refugee-led literary magazine opens submissions for new writing

A new literary magazine showcasing the work of refugees and asylum seekers is opening submissions for new writing next month, to feature online and in print.

Helmed by a team of refugees and immigrants, The Other Side of Hope aims to challenge common perceptions of refugees in the UK, and to chronicle the immigrant experience. It features non-fiction, fiction and poetry, with the last two categories open to refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants only.

The magazine takes its name from Aki Kaurismäki’s film. It publishes in print annually and online periodically, and was founded last autumn by editor and fiction writer Alexandros Plasatis, fiction editor Hansa Dasgupta, poetry editor Malka al-Haddad and non-fiction editor Maria Rovisco. Its interviews and reviews editor is Rubina Bala, with design and artistic direction from Olivier Llouquet.

The Other Side of Hope was created because there is no other similar literary magazine in the country,” said al-Haddad (pictured), who is an Iraqi human rights activist, teacher and writer. “This type of publication should have happened years ago but because it didn’t, we made it happen. As migrant editors, we believe that people need to understand each other, and this magazine exists to enable people to gain insights into us – our lives, our talents and our stories. It aims to be a bridge that will bring people closer through literature.”[…]

“It’s important to learn about refugees because we need people to know how a lot of people from all around the world could be displaced nowadays,” al-Haddad adds. “Moreover, refugees can have a great positive impact on their host countries. When people are forced to flee their countries because of war, crisis or fear, they carry their skills and experiences with them. Reading immigrant literature is important for better community integration. Our magazine is an open and bright window learning about new achievements and building bridges that have been broken by racism and hatred.”

Submissions will open in February and will be announced on the magazine’s website

Read more: https://www.thebookseller.com/news/refugee-led-magazine-opens-submissions-new-writing-1299062


6 January 2022: Byline Times: ‘Refugees and Migrants Do Not Come From a Different World’

Malka Al-Haddad introduces a new magazine aiming to challenge stereotypes about refugees and migrants by showcasing their writing and editing and building a ‘bridge’ of understanding

The Other Side of Hope: Journeys in Refugee and Immigrant Literature is a new literary journal edited by immigrants and refugees based in the UK. The magazine seeks to break down stereotypes about migrants and refugees by showcasing their writing and aims to support those careers that may have been cut short because of exile and migration. 

It was created because there is no other similar literary magazine in the country. This type of publication should have happened years ago but because it didn’t, we made it happen. Arts Council England funded us and we are supported by Journeys Festival International.

As immigrant editors, we believe that people need to understand each other, and this magazine exists to enable people to gain insights into us – our lives, our talents and our stories. It aims to be a bridge that will bring us closer through literature, and we want it to become a home for refugee and immigrant writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, and for those writers who know about us and want to support us. 

Our first print and online issues have now been published.

Read more here: https://bylinetimes.com/2022/01/05/refugees-and-migrants-do-not-come-from-a-different-world


You will find the online version here: online volume, number 1, autumn 2021
ISSN 2754-2505 https://othersideofhope.com/online-magazine.html


3 January 2022: Congratulations Loraine Masiya Mponela on the launch of her website No Audience Loraine which you will find here: https://noaudienceloraine.co.uk/

Loraine’s powerful poetry has featured in many Zoom meetings, articles, and in live events. Please visit her Youtube channel – the link is on her website.

Loraine represents CARAG – Coventry Asylum and Refugee Action Group on the StatusNow Reference Group