Designer Saumya Mittal creates infographics from oral testimonies of refugees in the UK
We are living in a world where huge amount of data is generated every fraction of a second. Every moment we spend on the internet, our lives, choices and behaviours are converted into some form of data. But it’s only when we put that data in perspective that we are able to understand our journey and progress.
Designer Saumya Mittal visualised deeply personal data of refugees in the UK, f0r an NGO, Salusbury World, that has been working closely with the refugees. The project titled 20:20, Stories of Moving Lineage explored the NGO’s work for the last 20 years, from 1999-2019.
The data visualisation interprets the oral testimonies and stories of ‘grown up’ Salusbury World children. The children featured in the stories attended Salusbury Primary School from 1999 onwards when the school leadership team created a bespoke refugee centre, Salusbury World, in response to growing numbers of new-arrivals in the wake of the Kosovan war and other major global conflicts.
The idea was to understand the impact of the NGO on the children’s lives. The visualisation includes memories of homeland, reasons for exile, and their emotional journey in the past two decades. The resulting posters are a powerful representation of the struggles of members of refugee community, and gives us a glance into the depths of their hearts — their struggles, fears, persistence and determination.
The goal of the infographics was to portray the refugees not as mere numbers or data, but rather to bring out the complexity of emotions felt while being forced to leave one’s home country. Hence, the posters use qualitative instead of quantitative data to create the visualisation.
Each refugee was asked to pick one cherished object that has been with them through their journey. The posters use elements of the chosen object to represent the data.
The emotions written on each poster are emotions felt by the refugee while leaving their home country and settling in the UK. Every emotion is further colour coded as positive or negative to make the reader empathise with their hardships at a glance. The poster also features a quote which stood out from their oral history.
The posters were printed on old metallic letterpress plates from the Letterpress at the London College of Communication. The posters formed a part of the travelling exhibition and launched at the London Design Festival on 19th September 2019.
Designer Saumya Mittal won a Blue Elephant at the Kyoorius Design Awards 2021 for a multimedia arts and heritage project, 20:20, Stories of Moving Lineage, for Salusbury World Refugee Centre. The project casts a long lens over the personal memories of refugee families who arrived in the UK from 1999 onwards.Designer Saumya Mittal won a Blue Elephant at the Kyoorius Design Awards 2021 for a multimedia arts and heritage project, 20:20, Stories of Moving Lineage, for Salusbury World Refugee Centre. The project casts a long lens over the personal memories of refugee families who arrived in the UK from 1999 onwards.
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