Storytelling is a powerful tool that allows us take a walk in someone else’s shoes and help us understand that there is more that unites us than divides us. Telling the stories of people from refugee backgrounds is vital to improve the understanding of their experiences, change the narrative and eventually mobilise action in support of those seeking sanctuary. Social media and digital platforms have opened up new channels through which the voices of refugees can be amplified, but representation often swings between portrayals of refugees as a threat or as hopeless, helpless victims. Empowering refugees to tell their own stories is crucial in changing that narrative. What makes storytelling ethical and effective, and how can we contribute to a fair and balanced representation of refugees and displaced people? To find out more, join the event with award-winning photographer Robin Hammond organised in partnership by IOM UK, IMIX and Witness Change, as part of this year’s Refugee Week festival.


3-3:05 | Opening Remarks by Dipti Pardeshi, IOM UK Chief of Mission

3:05-3:35 | Panel discussion with:

Robin Hammond, photographer, founder of Witness Change and lead storyteller of the “1000 Dreams” project

Bnar Sardar, photographer and among the storytellers of 1000 Dreams

Luca Lamorte, IOM Global Social Media Officer

Chair: Smajo Bešo, architect & educator

3:35-4pm |Q&A with the Audience


Robin Hammond has dedicated his career to amplifying narratives of marginalised groups through long term visual story telling projects. Career recognition includes the winning of two World Press Photo prizes, the RF Kennedy Journalism Award, six Pictures of the Year International Awards, the W.Eugene Smith Award for Humanistic Photography, the recipient of six Amnesty International awards for Human Rights journalism and being named by Foreign Policy as one of the 100 Leading Global Thinkers. He is the founder of Witness Change, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing human rights through visual story telling.

Robin Hammond is also the lead Storyteller of the 1000 Dreams project that seeks to change narratives around migration and displacement through a campaign that will photograph and tell the stories of 1000 refugees across Europe. Forty refugee storytellers from diverse backgrounds living all over Europe, including the UK, have now gone through an intensive storytelling training program with Witness Change. They are receiving mentorship by Robin Hammond and the Witness Change team as they interview and make portraits of other refugees. They all received a stipend for the workshops and for the working they are carrying out now. This process ensures the storytellers are supported through their participation in the campaign and have the ability to author the story of their community, a story told by them, rather than being solely about them.

1000 Dreams will be anticipated during this event and officially launched on World Refugee Day 2021.