How to create and consume a new migrant narrative

Build that wall. No one is illegal. Migrant crisis. Migrating is not a crime. Take back control. 

Different statements. Different positions. All contributing to the same migrant narrative. A narrative that propels an “us vs. them” mentality. A narrative that propagates negative and humanitarian reactions to the topic of human movement. A narrative that masks the realities of migration.

PorCausa is a Madrid-based foundation that fights against bias and misinformation on migration through investigation and journalism. In May 2019 they published “Seven key points to create New Narratives on the movements of persons around the world” a guide that provides applicable solutions to counteracting the current migrant narrative.

“The principles that establish the migrations discourse have been principally defined during the last 20 years. Articulating the narrative as a reaction to them only serves to expand the original message. To reject or debate a speech is only to evoke it and obligates one to move within the limits of the framework.

The current migratory narrative is constructed around two contradicting concepts: “us” and “them.” There is a strong tendency to divide the world between “us” and “them.” The binary “us-them” is based on a false dilemma that pushes one to choose between two options that are depicted as exclusive and impossible to connect.”


Regardless if you are a content creator or a content consumer, changing the migrant narrative takes a conscious effort to overcome the unconscious bias that has been constructed over recent decades. The framework provided by PorCausa is a good start to applying a critical eye to what we create and consume and taking personal and institutional ownership on what we contribute to building a new narrative.  

PLACE has been experimenting with new ways to change the migrant narrative since 2016. Our strong visual identity has been intentionally designed to actively challenge the heart-wrenching or fear-inducing photos that fill our respective news feeds. Through Stories of place we create multi-media pieces that demonstrate diverse voices of multi-sector actors on the intersection of migration and innovation. Through our programs, we put newcomers centre stage so that they can share their stories and actively counteract their misrepresentation in the media.

“In accepting that migrations will always happen, we should be working on how we can best manage them, so that they are as beneficial as possible for the people who migrate and for the people who receive the travelers.”


The migrant narrative needs an update. New images. New hashtags. New voices. A reality-based narrative that balances the challenges and opportunities associated with human migration. A narrative that closes the chapter on “us vs. them” and that proactively bridges newcomers with host societies based on talent, shared-solutions, potential, growth and innovation. 

If you are interested in developing your skills to craft this new narrative you can start by discovering a free webinar provided by PorCausa through Hello Europe, an Ashoka initiative for accelerating civil society solutions around migration. Want to take it a step further? Stories of place is a platform to create and share system-changing stories widely. If you or your organization want to be a part of this change, contact us here to find out how we can raise our voices together.