PositiveNegatives is bringing the experiences of young undocumented people to life using comics and animations. We are collaborating with Kids in Need of Defense UK and Let us Learn to meet key needs of uninformed undocumented teenagers aged 14-16 years - by both signposting them to support available, and destigmatising the issue.
Sumi's Story highlights the gender based violence (GBV) in the garment industry in Bangladesh. Her story was released as part of CARE International's campaign to end GBV in the Asian garment industry. Artwork by Karrie Fransman.
Bucking the trend of a global increase in female genital cutting (FGC), communities around the world are renouncing the practice through community-led conversations. Aissata, a Senegalese survivor of FGC, went on to play a leading role in supporting her community's renouncement. This project is a collaboration between Aissata, The Orchid Project, Tostan and the PositiveNegatives' team to bring awareness of these transformative community-led conversations, and is generously funded by the Brooks Foundation.
Migrants on the Margins
Migrants on the Margins features the illustrated life histories of four people with whom PositiveNegatives worked in 2017 for the ESRC-funded project 'The Unknown City: the (In)visibility of the Urban Displacement'; a segment of the Royal Geographical Society's (RGS) field research programme 'Migrants on the Margins'. These thought-provoking comics illustrate the everyday life of those living on the margins in four of the world's most pressured cities - Harare, Hargeisa, Colombo & Dhaka.
Safer From Harm
In collaboration with the LSE International Drug Policy Unit and facilitated by the Ana Liffey Drug Project, these posters depict the stories of three people affected by the use of drugs in different ways. The stories feature in the 2018 Safer From Harm campaign being run in Ireland by the two organisations listed above. Artwork by Lindsay Pollock.
Until we are all free
Until we are all free is a visual representation of the WhatsApp conversation between Behrouz Boochani, a Kurdish journalist who has been detained on Manus Island for the past 5 years, and a PositiveNegatives' researcher. The comic was co-produced with Behrouz himself, alongside artist Alex Mankiewicz and PositiveNegatives' researcher Poppy Ogier.
Living on the Margins
Living on the Margins is the artistic outcome of two different research projects that aim to understand war-to-peace transitions in Sri Lanka and Nepal. The project involved a collaboration with local contemporary artists commissioned by PositiveNegatives, and used art to facilitate discussion on topics such as transitional justice, state reform, post-war development and inclusion. This innovative project foregrounded the experience of people living on the margins, using an original approach combining art with academic text. Illustration by Lindsay Pollock. Research by SOAS (University of London), University of Bath, CEPA, Martin Chautari and International Alert. Kindly funded by AHRC and ESRC.
Dear Habib brings to life the incredible challenges, and opportunities, that young unaccompanied migrants face. The animation follows Habib, who journeyed to the UK from Afghanistan at just 14, and his experience of transitioning to adulthood. The project was commissioned by Becoming Adult a three-year ESRC-funded project conducted with University College London. The animation was co-produced with Habib himself, alongside Majid Adin the artist who created the official animation for Elton John's Rocket Man.
North Star Fading
This 'zoom animation' is inspired by the testimonies of 4 Eritrean refugees who fled their homes to make the dangerous journey across Ethiopia, Sudan and Libya to Europe. Illustrated by Karrie Fransman. Sound and voiceover by Lula Mebrahtu.
Into Our Own Hands
Commissioned by UN Women Arabic, ‘Into Our Own Hands’ tells the story of Nora, who is displaced in Iraq. Illustrated by Asia Alfasi.
An Empty Promise
Commissioned by The Danish Refugee Council, 'An Empty Promise' tells the story of one woman's journey from Nigeria to Sicily, particularly highlighting the dangers she faced while crossing Libya. Illustrated by Gabi Froden. Animated by Jarbrain.
Born Julia and Julius
Commissioned by the Open Society Foundations, "Born Julia and Julius" is a testimony of one man's experience of growing up in Uganda as an intersex person. Illustrated by Gabi Froden. Animated by Wael Toubaji. Music by Karam Aizouq. Voiceover by David Ongwech Onen.
Commissioned by CARE International UK, ‘Nadia’s Story’ is a first person illustrated testimony about the difficulties that a Yazidi refugee mother faced on her long difficult journey to Serbia, fleeing ISIS controlled Iraq. Nadia’s fled whilst heavily pregnant with her two young children. We spoke to Nadia and her children in refugee camps in Serbia in July 2016. The comic explores the vulnerabilities and dangers women face while making these horrendous journeys with young children. These vulnerabilities increase particularly with women travelling alone, putting them at escalated risk of gender based violence. Illustrated by Asia Alfasi.
Amnesty International: I Welcome
Commissioned by Amnesty International UK for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, these graphics re-imagine the stories of six strong refugee women who face terrible danger and abuse, just because of who they are. Beautifully and powerfully drawn by the talented Asia Alfasi آسيا الفاسي.
Commissioned by CARE International UK, ‘Dana’s Story’ is a first person illustrated testimony about the difficulties that a refugee mother faced on her long difficult journey to Serbia, fleeing ISIS controlled Syria. Dana’s husband was kidnapped, presumed killed, by ISIS and subsequently fled with her two young children. We spoke to Dana and her children in refugee camps in Serbia in July 2016. The comic explores the vulnerabilities and dangers that war widows, and women in general, face while making these horrendous journeys with young children. These vulnerabilities increase particularly with women travelling alone, putting them at escalated risk of gender based violence. ‘Dana’s Story’ has also been published in German. Illustrated by Rob Davis.
Commissioned by the International Committee of the Red Cross, celebrating the International Day of the Disappeared, Enrique’s Shadow is a first person illustrated testimony about missing people in conflict. The fieldwork was based in southern Colombia and looks at the human rights issues faced by families of the disappeared. Enrique’s Shadow has been published in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Thai, Mandarin, Korean, Russian and Arabic across international media channels and outlets.
Daria. A Roma Woman's Journey
Daria: A Roma Women's Journey, highlights some of the issues that Roma women face everyday. Based on fieldwork conducted in Eastern Europe in August 2015. Produced for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Illustrated by Rob Davis.
Fleeing into the Unknown
'Fleeing into the Unknown: A Journey from Eritrea to England' recently launched in the The Huffington Post. This comic was kindly funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. This comic illustrated the journey of Merha, who escapes the extreme hardship of conscription in Eritrea and crosses Africa and Europe to reach safety in the UK. 'Fleeing into the Unknown' was launched alongside an Overseas Development Institute (ODI) policy report, Journeys to Europe: the role of policy in migrant decision-making.
A Perilous Journey
'A Perilous Journey' is a trilogy of 3 comics based on testimonies taken from Syrian refugees seeking asylum in Scandinavia in July 2015. The three Syrians in the story (names changed for their protection) have now thankfully been given asylum. Read their stories here to find out more. The comics were serialised in The Guardian and Aftenposten (11-13 Nov 2015) and an exhibition launched at the Nobel Peace Centre, Oslo (12 Nov 2015). The project was generously funded by Norwegian People's Aid. Illustration by Lindsay Pollock. Animation by Wael Toubaji.
Commissioned by The Guardian and facilitated by The Poppy Project, Abike's story is a first person illustrated testimony of one woman's experience of being trafficked from Nigeria to London. Illustrated by Gabi Froden.
Hooked is a five-part comic of the human impact of the international drugs trade. Produced for the BBC 'Focus on Africa' programme and published in 10 languages, we developed the script and the artwork from a 3 week field trip to Guinea-Bissau in 2015 where we worked with individuals to tell their story. Known as Africa's first 'narco-state', Guinea-Bissau has been a key hub in the international drugs trade for nearly a decade. Hit by military coups and poverty, it's used by South American drug cartels as a route to smuggle cocaine to Europe. Illustrated by Tayo Fatunla.
Almaz represents the story of thousands of African and Asian migrant workers trapped in abusive and exploitative situations across the Gulf. The comic reveals, through the true story of one woman, the experience that far too many domestic workers endure, depicting the systematic lack of protection for workers throughout the recruitment and migration cycle. Almaz amplifies the hundreds of stories silenced and the experiences of countless workers made invisible.
Meet the Somalis
In collaboration with the Open Society Foundations (OSF) we produced a series of fourteen comics, based on personal testimonies, that highlight integration issues of the Somali communities across seven cities of Europe - London, Leicester, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Malmo, Oslo and Helsinki. The focus of the project was to accompany the OSF policy research on the same subjects and locations and to engage a wide, general audience and challenge negative media stereotyping of the Somali community.
Funded by the Arts Council England, we are currently developing a 200+ page graphic novel, The Vanni, focusing on the Sri Lankan conflict between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). From the perspective of a single family, we aim to show the personal experiences of modern warfare, the processes of forced migration and the struggles of seeking asylum in Europe. The first story in a series, adapted from survivor testimony following the 2009 Sri Lankan civil war. The Vanni forms the basis of PositiveNegatives Director Benjamin Dix's PhD in the transformation of complex testimony into comic books and has been meticulously researched over the past 4 years. Drawing on first hand interviews, references from official reports and cross referencing with experts in the field, The Vanni aims to take the reader through the immense struggles, horrors and life changing decisions individual families must make when caught in conflict. Expected completion: 2018
What The Girls Say: The Difficult Journey Home
What The Girls Say: The Difficult Journey Home centers on the story of one girl and her journey from being recruited, life within the armed group, the stigma experienced back home and finally how she returned to school and received the help she needed to be better accepted into her community. What The Girls Say was kindly commissioned by Child Soldiers International and in partnership with Education Above All.