BYOL – Bring Your Own Language

In collaboration with Govan Community Project
Glasgow, Scotland – May 2019 – May 2020

BYOL – Bring Your Own Language:
Sounds and stories from the blossoming refugee & asylum seeker communities of south-west Glasgow

BYOL, is a community project for asylum seeker and refugee adults, in the south-west of Glasgow, rooted in the principals of peer education, active learning and collaborative design. The project provided a variety of training sessions to the target community, including oral history, storytelling, acoustic ecology and creative writing, and encouraged them to take their training on board, decide, vote and develop their own personal project.

The group decided to create a short film, based on a series of biographical writings documenting their experience as refugees and asylum seekers. That’s how they created ‘Pa’lante – Moving Forward’, a black and white, 10 minute film, documenting the journey from their homelands to Glasgow. ‘Pa’lante – Moving Forward’ was filmed and edited by Natalie McGowan.

BYOL managed to create a closely knit group with participants coming from various countries, including El Salvador, the Bahamas, Eritrea, Syria, Cameroon and Iran. BYOL aspired to encourage them to develop their skills (including social, language, and vocational), establish links with their local communities, experiment with new forms and media, and express themselves in creative and meaningful ways, while gaining ownership over a project with the capacity to represent their community and grant them visibility and a public voice.

BYOL is part of the Sharing Lives, Sharing Languages scheme by the Scottish Refugee Council (2019-2020) and was funded by the EU/AMIF