Minister to address landmark conference at GCU on life after Brexit for migrants

12 January 2017

Minister to address landmark conference at GCU on life after Brexit for migrants

A photograph from Migrant Voice's ‘Engaging Pictures’ exhibition representing migrants' lives

Academics, activists, civil society groups and politicians including Minister for Europe, Alasdair Allan MSP, will debate the future of migrants’ rights after Brexit in Glasgow later this month – followed by a cultural event with the Makar, Jackie Kay.

The conference, organised by migrant-led advocacy charity Migrant Voice with Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), is the first of its kind and will focus on practical ways to tackle anti-migrant sentiment and change the political landscape. Dr Allan will provide a keynote speech alongside a Migrant Voice spokesperson, before a series of interactive workshops.

Workshops will include raising peoples’ confidence to tackle hate crime and xenophobia, campaigns and media training with broadcast journalists, and a detailed overview of challenges facing migrant rights from EU nationals to Syrian refugees. The conference aims to tackle migrants’ under-representation in the migration debate by providing them with the skills and resources to make their case in media and public life.

Currently, migrants are represented in just 12-15% of debates surrounding migration according to research by Migrant Voice and Coventry University.

The conference will be closed with cultural events including the launch of the ‘A Story in a Poem’ project with Makar Jackie Kay, alongside dance performances by Maryhill Integration Network, a multicultural ceilidh and food.

Nazek Ramadan, Migrant Voice’s Director, said: “The combination of uncertainty over the nature of Brexit, toxic and misleading rhetoric on migration from some commentators and politicians, and the severity of Europe’s refugee crisis makes our first Glasgow conference a vital event for all who believe migrants should be treated with equal concern and respect.

"We’re proud that this conference will be addressed by leading figures in public life but led by everyday people who want to make a difference. By helping more migrants to speak up we will be able to persuade people that migration is a public good that enriches, not takes away from, our culture, economy and country.”

Glasgow Caledonian University’s Dr Ima Jackson said: “As the University for the Common Good, GCU is working with communities to transform lives and innovate for social impact at home and around the world. We are pleased to be part of the Migrant Voice conference in Scotland, to provide a welcoming environment for the community, for academics, activists and media in an attempt to understand this historic moment and discuss the challenges this new landscape brings and articulate an increasingly important Scottish perspective."

Journalists and photographers are welcome at the conference.The conference, titled ‘‘Migrants and Migration Post Brexit; finding our voice to influence the new landscape” will be held at GCU from 9.30am on January 21. To register, visit Eventbrite.

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