Professor Laura Hammond

Development Studies, SOAS University of London

“Almaz makes for uncomfortable, but important, viewing. The experiences of many migrant domestic workers in Saudi Arabia are hidden from the public eye. Almaz’s story shows the multiple layers of injustice – humiliation, deprivation of wages, physical and sexual abuse, isolation, and overwork – that unfortunately are commonly experienced by women who have come to Saudi Arabia in an effort to support their families.”

Professor Cindy Horst

Research Director, Peace Research Institute of Oslo

“PositiveNegatives manage to touch hearts by making the consequences of violence and conflict visible in new ways. Ways that readers and viewers can relate to even if what they see is something many would prefer not to know. The asylum seekers and refugees we meet, fleeing from death by neighbours and carrying their many painful memories with them, are also husbands, son-in-laws, mothers, sisters, grandsons… We can relate to them as human beings, even when we’d rather not see our shared humanity.”

Professor Michael Collyer

Geography, University of Sussex:

“Almaz’s story will be sadly familiar to anyone concerned with the human rights of migrant workers. The format used to relate this story will be much less familiar. The power of the simply drawn images and sparse narrative communicates this story of horrendous abuse with the immediacy that it deserves. It will hopefully ensure that stories such as this reach a much greater audience and the demands for more effective protection measures for domestic workers find more powerful voice.”

Nazia Hussain

Director at Home in Europe Project, Open Society Foundations

“The language around displacement and refugees has become stubbornly polarising. PositiveNegatives convey and humanise the situation of asylum seekers and refugees through the graphic novel in a thought provoking and heart tugging manner. Their dedication and commitment to highlighting the plight of the displaced is inspiring and serves to remind us of the complexities and reasons that drive people to flee their homes. It has been a pleasure to work with PositiveNegatives from inception to completion of the Open Society Foundations ‘Meet the Somalis’ illustrations, a set of stories that capture the emotions and challenges of settling and being accepted into a new home.”

Annie Kelly

Commissioning Editor, The Guardian

“PositiveNegatives effectively humanised the complex and sensitive personal story of trafficking through the medium of the graphic novel in a thought provoking and emotive manner. It has been a pleasure to work with PositiveNegatives who have been dedicated and attentive throughout the production of Abike’s Story that was published in The Guardian online and in The Observer.”

Stephane Mayoux

BBC Africa Editor

“I recently worked with PositiveNegatives on the Hooked project – a story on drug trade and addiction in Guinea-Bissau, told through cartoons over five daily episodes shown on BBC News Online and BBC World’s Focus on Africa. Ben is a top class professional and exceptional human being. His ethics, his values and his courage feed his work at PositiveNegatives; he has clearly decided to put real people at the heart of his research and journalism work. He feels accountable to them first. That decision gives his content genuine depth. He has been resilient, flexible, attentive and totally dedicated to transform a concept into a unique and exciting story-telling experience. I feel under his leadership, PositiveNegatives is bound to create many more benchmark-setting comic strips. I look forward to working with him again very soon.”

Professor Jesse Hardman

City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism

“PositiveNegatives has found a compelling way to express the complexity of the refugee experience through exhaustively researched narratives brought to life in illustration. In doing so they have taken human rights stories, often difficult to digest for the general public, and made them accessible.”

Frances Harrison

Author of Still Counting the Dead and Ex-BBC Foreign Correspondent in Sri Lanka, Iran, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Pakistan

“PositiveNegatives is doing completely new things with drawn and recorded images and new technology and using the mix to tell important but largely ignored stories to a new audiences. It’s a simple but compelling way of rendering a morally complex story. Human rights groups and journalists should watch with interest and learn how to engage people in issues that too often seem remote.”

Dr Dacia Viejo Rose

Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Cambridge

“Nearly sixty years since the ratification of the “Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery” (1956) this affront to human dignity continues to be all too common, as Almaz’s experience makes poignantly clear. Through illustrations, her story is told in a way that is unambiguous and in a format that will hopefully reach a wide audience and help fire demands to respect and enforce the Convention.”

Luis Fonseca

Bureau Chief Guinea-Bissau, Lusa and RTP

“Most of the population of Guinea-Bissau is analphabetic. And even among those who know how to read and write, very few open a book, a newspaper, a magazine or spend time reading online articles. Radio rules. In this scenario, how do you manage to make printed information notorious and go hand in hand? You tell the same story with images. Telling a story with images bridges a gap that otherwise would make valuable information unusable for the communities. Reading will be easy. The drawings will make it attractive. And results will come. In this case, “Hooked” can play an important role in preventing drug consumption, by showing to younger people, in schools, what might happen if one tries “crack cocaine”. “Hooked” can trigger debate and make communities aware of the problem.”

David Woods

Director of La Chataigneraie International School

“Helping young people understand complex issues happening in parts of the world remote – in every sense – from their own lives is very challenging. Graphic novels are a great way to do this. Through PositiveNegatives carefully crafted age-appropriate presentations and discussions based on his novels, Ben was able to lead our students to an understanding and empathy with the subjects and characters of the stories that no other medium could do. We will certainly be inviting Ben again – both for his novels but also as a role model in creative social entrepreneurialism.”

Professor Cynthia Caron

International Development and Social Change, Clark University

“PositiveNegatives work is a nuanced account of the complex dynamics that characterise international migration. Their work highlights the personalised experience of individuals as they navigate new environments, establish new and maintain pre-existing networks, and come to terms with a past that is ever present. The attention to narrative combined with graphic images are a powerful account that forces a rethinking of key concepts such as community, citizenship, and governance in the 21st century.”


A Gulf-based organisation working on migrant rights issues

“Through ‘Almaz’, PositiveNegatives visualise the real and all too common experiences of migrant domestic workers (MDW) in Saudi Arabia; based on the account of a former Ethiopian domestic worker. The main character, Almaz endures a spectrum of physical and emotional abuses that encapsulates MDW’s isolation and vulnerability to malicious employers. The illustrations creatively and critically amplify the often invisible narratives of the millions of MDWs in Saudi and the wider Gulf region.”

Laura Farrell

Hampton School

“Benjamin Dix presented to our Year 9 geography students at Hampton School. He gave a truly inspirational and engaging presentation on the conflicts in Sri Lanka and Somalia and the effects they are having on the civilians. He focused predominantly from the perspective of asylum seekers here in the UK, making it more relatable to the students. He impressively brought the stories to life through his graphic novel and showed the students the methodology involved in creating such art. Benjamin made sensitive and complex issues accessible to 13 and 14 year old students and presented it in a way that captured their attention.”