A Facilitated Conversation on “Seeking a New Life in Canada”: Media Representations of Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Forced Migrants

Seeking a New Life in Canada

Join a facilitated conversation about the complexities of the ways in which displaced people are portrayed in the Canadian media, and the implications of the dominant and marginal stories about this issue that have emerged in the past decade.

Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Time: 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Venue: Liu Institute for Global Issues, UBC – 6476 NW Marine Drive, Vancouver BC
Facilitator: Aftab Erfan, Director of Dialogue and Conflict Engagement, UBC
Refreshments provided by Tayybeh: A Celebration of Syrian Cuisine
Free and open to the public.

As consumers of Canadian media, we are accustomed to seeing the faces of displaced people on the news and hearing or reading their stories. While there is increasingly a range of stories being told – those that bring us to tears by describing the plague of refugees, those that inspire us by giving us a glimpse of their new lives in Canada – there remains a concern with the ways that subtle, and often well-intentioned biases of journalists and reporters frame refugees and other displaced people in limited ways. Equally as importantly, settlement agencies and migrant advocacy groups, and displaced people themselves participate in the generation and perpetuation of these narratives. Often these narratives have a double edge: they can be disempowering by portraying refugees as victims (albeit, hard-working, resourceful victims who have raised to the status of survivors) and at the same time they can be strategic by appealing to the sense of compassion on behalf of Canadians (and Canadian governments) to welcome, sponsor and otherwise support refugees (thus raising to the status of rescuers).

This is a structured conversation, which purposefully privileges the voices of refugees, asylum seekers and forced migrants. If you self-identify as belonging to one of these groups, we warmly invite your contribution to the discussion, and encourage you to bring your views and engage with views different from yours. If you do not belong to one of these groups, we invite you to attend as an audience member with the intention to listen and with the purpose to learn.

To allow for an honest conversation, we ask that the discussion in the room is not shared outside the room, but we do encourage everyone to take their learnings and insights from this conversation with them and put them into action.

Note: Listen to an interview with Aftab Erfan on the CBC Early Edition at the 1:30 mark here.


This event is part of After the Flight: Community-University Refugee & Migration Symposium hosted by AMSSA, MOSAIC, ISSofBC, Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture (VAST), the Vancouver Immigration Partnership, UBC Community Engagement, UBC Liu Institute for Global Issues and the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, UBC International Student Development, the UBC Graduate Student Migration Network, and the UBC Equity and Inclusion Office.

Find more details on symposium events between October 11th – October 19th here.

Disclaimer: Please note that by using EventBrite, your information will be stored on the Eventbrite server, which is located outside Canada. If you do not wish to use this service, please email lindsay.marsh@ubc.ca directly to register. Thank you.