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FOMACS

‘To Not Only Reach ... But Engage Audiences’

The Forum on Migration and Communications (FOMACS)
is a three-year media-driven programme (2007-2010) producing print, photographic, broadcast and interactive stories on the topic of immigration and integration, with the aim of reaching and engaging diverse audiences and constituencies. FOMACS’ mission is to generate a series of media-led projects, creating accessible, challenging and innovative representations of the changing demography of contemporary Ireland.

Highlighting personal/collective stories under the themes of ‘Family Reunification’ and ‘Irregular/Undocumented’ migration – in schools, workplaces, in the family home, on the local GAA field and soccer pitch, or in places of religious worship, to name just a few – FOMACS offers an evidence-based and human-interest angle to the everyday life of migrants. Our central objective is to amplify immigrant voices and perspectives previously absent, sensationalised or marginalised in dominant media representations. FOMACS builds on US-based initiatives, where media production not only provides the foundation and critical glue for social justice campaigns, but is further framed by a community outreach approach.

Media alone does not have the ability to radically transform public policy. It can, however, influence change, cultivate social awareness and render transparent the highly specialised rhetoric of policy documents. Significantly, it can make concrete the interconnected relationship between public policy and lived experience, having the ability to break down preconceived cultural barriers and prejudices. Film and other media, as the French documentary filmmaker Agnes Varda suggests, has the ‘power to open people's eyes, to show them reality from a different angle and to draw their attention to things they maybe know exist but are not aware of…’.

The ambition of FOMACS is to follow the challenging pathways and social, cultural and political networks laid down by migrant workers, asylum seekers, refugees and their families. In many respects, migration challenges the media practitioner, academic researcher and migrant rights advocate to constructively abandon their comfort zones; to both listen and look carefully to what is, in practice, a multifaceted and global phenomenon, necessitating genuine exchange and public dialogue across new and established sites of knowledge production on the subject of migration into Ireland.

FOMACS brings immigrant and non-immigrant media producers, NGO service providers/community activists and social and policy researchers into an innovative and collaborative working framework. One of our aims is to design and maintain a ‘living archive’ of the present moment, making digitally accessible the ongoing work of FOMACS to a diverse set of constituencies and interested publics.   

FOMACS is led by the Centre for Transcultural Research and Media Practice, DIT. Consortium Partners: Ralaheen Research and Design, Ltd and multicultural newspaper, Metro Eireann.

NGO Partner Organisations: Immigrant Council of Ireland, Migrant Rights Centre, Ireland, Irish Refugee Council, Refugee Information Services, and Integrating Ireland.  FOMACS will also collaborate with the National Forum on Immigration, Washington D.C.  

FOMACS gratefully acknowledges the support of The Atlantic Philanthropies.

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www.atlanticphilanthropies.org

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