When COVID forced the fall semester to move online, a group of Political Science and Law instructors from Carleton and University of Ottawa saw an opportunity to bring migrant voices into the classroom and to share resources for the benefit of hundreds of students at the two universities and beyond. Earlier this summer, the Carleton-UOttawa Online Migration Teaching Collaboration received a grant from the two universities through the Shared Online Projects Initiative to develop English, French and bilingual resources for teaching migration-related courses. One of the collaboration’s goals is to include the perspectives of people with lived experience of migration and displacement in teaching about migration, so the funding has supported honoraria for “guest speakers” who were formerly migrants or refugees. The funding has also enabled some of the resources to be translated to make them accessible in both English and French. The collaboration also maintains active lists of English and French online multimedia resources for teaching in migration, as well as a list of digital games that can be used for teaching migration.
Now mid-way through the semester, the collaboration is excited to share some of the new resources. The Migration Conversations podcast (available on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or Pod.casts) invites persons to share their migration stories. Hosted by Professor Jamie Liew, a law professor from the University of Ottawa, each episode is an in-depth conversation with people who have experienced the Canadian immigration system or other migration regimes up close. So far, 14 episodes feature interviews with former migrant workers, immigration lawyers and others, touching on themes from statelessness to immigration detention to the impact of the pandemic on immigration law, with more episodes coming soon. In the play My Good Friend Jay – Mon bon ami Jay – filmed with funding from the collaboration and now available publicly on YouTube – Indigenous playwright Montana Adams from Akwesasne interrogates the colonial borders that cut through her community’s territory. An accompanying interview with the playwright is available on Spotify, Apple or Pod.casts. These projects have had an impact even beyond the two universities, with the Migration Conversations podcast hitting the 1,000 download mark and the play achieving 635 views in early October.
Other content developed by the collaboration (available to instructors upon request) include modules on refugee resettlement and sponsorship, lectures on the politics of migration, a mock refugee hearing focused on refugee claims based on sexual orientation and gender, and podcasts on migrant health. More content is under development related to refugee experiences, Indigenous experiences of environmental-related displacement, francophone immigration, and the use of digital games to teach migration topics. If you have resources to share or are looking for resources on a specific topic, feel free to get in touch with the collaboration’s coordinator, PhD student Rachel McNally, at firstname.lastname@example.org.