When Documenting is a Political Act: Migrant Experiences of Lockdown

This project is an exercise in memory. The act of remembering or forgetting are inherently political. Recording experiences that are forgotten or distorted is an important exercise. Though the migrant crisis gained hyper visibility post COVID-19, much of these narratives reduced their experience and framed them only as people needing assistance. This project will archive narratives of migrant workers' experience of the pandemic, the challenges they faced and how they negotiated the crisis. while placing it in the context of what their lives look like in the past and what it might be in the future. At the present stage we are building networks  among grassroot organizations. Through these networks, we hope to provide skills and platform to migrant workers to tell their own stories.

The intention is to foreground the migrant workers’ point of view and explore how they situated themselves within the larger narrative of the crisis as individuals/ workers/members of larger communities. With unequal shouldering of the care work, the crisis was experienced unequally even within a household. The project attempts to give space for women’s experiences. 

The micro-stories of the individuals living, moving, and working in this region will help unpack how the climate crisis and increasing informality of work are pushing people into precarious lives where they are left to fend for themselves. The narratives are collected from migrant workers (men and women) as well as those who stay back to understand its impact on individuals as well as the community. The intention is to see how mobile their lives have been and in return how little social mobility are they afforded, if at all.

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