Research Aims and Objectives

Children’s Screen Cultures in an Era of Forced Migration: Facilitating Arab-European Dialogue

This follow-on project aims to aims to transfer knowledge gained through research into developments in screen content for Arabic-speaking children in ways that can assist European broadcasters, policy-makers, producers and children’s advocacy groups to better understand the information and entertainment needs shared by young Arabic-speaking children who have fled to Europe from Arab countries. 

Thousands of Arabic-speaking families, most of them from Syria and Iraq, have taken up residence in Germany and Sweden in the last two years, while hundreds of unaccompanied refugee children have found homes in these countries and the UK. Although German public broadcasters ZDF and ARD have responded to the challenge by providing adult news services in Arabic and Arabic subtitles for other items, provision for children also needs attention.

Our project will show how imaginatively produced screen content for young children could fill worrying gaps in what is currently available to children on all sides of the forced migration flows at a time when young children may struggle to make sense of the new environment in which they find themselves.

Our objectives are to use our original AHRC research findings to:

1. Alert European screen content practitioners to the media needs, wants and experiences of young (under 12) Arabic-speaking migrant children and families.

2. Create spaces for critical reflection and dialogue between European cultural gatekeepers who regulate, commission, fund, produce or comment on children’s content and practitioners with experience of children’s media in Arab countries.

3. Help European stakeholders to think through policy, production initiatives, public discourse and professional practice as they seek to ensure that pluralistic and high quality content is available to an increasingly diverse young audience.

4. Identify effective elements of regulation, financing, production and advocacy practice applicable to screen content aimed at young migrant children in Europe.

5. Demonstrate to key European and Arab stakeholders how children’s media rights, articulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), are fundamental to children’s future participation as citizens, and prompt further research into how screen media can help migrant children develop their identities in new environments.

6. Raise awareness of the communication needs of migrant children among a wider public.

We seek to achieve objectives 1-3 through three international workshops, namely: 

Objectives 4-6 will be achieved through a series of briefings and publications based on the workshop, which will be made available here. The project will culminate in a final symposium in London in September 2018.