Letters to Europe – Female Refugees telling their Stories

Letts to Europe

An event organized by FutureLab Europe in collaboration with Polis180, Kiron Open Higher Education and Allianz Kulturstiftung. A full report and more information is available here.

The team behind FutureLab Europe’s project Letters to Europe – female refugees telling their stories organised an event full of surprises and emotions for the official launch of the book “Letters to Europe – refugee women write” and the premiere of the theatre performance “refugee (woman) : )” based on the stories of female refugees collected in the book.

The book launch and theatre premiere took place at the FLUGWERK, in Berlin on September 16, 2017. The event began with the presentation of the book “Letters to Europe – refugee women write”, in which 15 female refugees from all over Europe shared their very different stories, perspectives, concerns and hopes for the future.

The book presentation was followed immediately by the premiere of “refugee (woman) : )”, a short theatre play developed on the basis of the stories in the book by three talents: the actress, writer and musician Enana from Syria, writer Gudrun Buchholz from Germany and director Konstantin Buchholz, who is part of the Letters to Europe – female refugees telling their stories project team. The performance included music, singing and elements of interactive theatre.

The theatre play was followed by an open interview and discussion between writers, project members and the audience about the content of the book, the performance and the project work. Every participant received one copy of the book, which will soon be available online.

The book ‘Letters to Europe – refugee women write’

The refugee crisis in Europe has raised tempers and become a subject of debate in almost every country. Over the course of the process, a stereotype has evolved, painting the ‘young, male Syrian refugee’ as the typical asylum seeker. This narrative leaves little space to talk about the often widely divergent backgrounds and identities of refugees and makes it easier to ignore refugee women, children, the elderly and their needs and role in the future of Europe.

Against this background, the Letters to Europe – Female Refugees Telling Their Stories project has set out to draw refugee women into the public debate, making them the subjects and authors of their own stories, and not the object of somebody else’s narrative.

On this basis, Konstantin Buchholz (Berlin, Germany), Yolanda Trujillo (Valencia, Spain), Albert Meijer (Groningen, Netherlands), and Tom Schmidt (Lüneburg, Germany) have joined efforts and skills and set out to collect the stories of 15 female refugees in the book ‘Letters to Europe – refugee women write’. The book inspired the play ‘refugee (woman) :)’, written and directed by project member Konstantin Buchholz.

In their role as Europe’s newcomers, refugee women expressed why they came to Europe and what they feel about their new homeland, thereby informing the debate on European identity. The book aimed to empower women’s voices,making their stories accessible in English to a broader European audience.

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