Bridges Beyond Borders Project, May 2019

Bridges Beyond Borders is a project, a meeting of innovative technology and interactive education, of the Fondazione Centro Studi Emigrazione of Rome (CSER), in collaboration with the Scalabrini Communication Office. SIHMA offered logistic support to film a virtual reality experience. Participants can share the life of migrants through a 360° view of various sites in which a migrant, refugee, or asylum seeker might encounter. Such sites include a difficult trek through a scorching desert, a cramped voyage on a small fishing boat, or the shack-lined streets of a South African township. These scenes go beyond pictures or videos and are so immersive, one feels as if it is their own perspective. You can practically feel the hot sun beating down on you, the ocean spray and wind hitting your face, or the embrace of a family member greeting you after your long journey. Each experience was filmed using a 360° camera attached to a head piece worn by actors. These actors are migrants themselves and were recruited through the Scalabrini network. SIHMA and the CSER crew filmed in various locations around the Cape Town area to contribute to the scenes used in Bridges Beyond Borders. These locations included Khayelitsha, a local township; the Atlantis dunes; Hout Bay, a small fishing village; and the agricultural town of Caledon. Additionally, the CSER crew conducted interviews with migrants at the Scalabrini Centre to allow participants to hear stories of real-life journeys. The Bridges Beyond Borders experience will first be brought to around 150 schools in Italy within four major areas – Milan, Rome, Vicenza, and Foggia. Students’ ages range from about 12 to 15 years old. After viewers engage in this immersive adventure, they have the chance to vocalize their reactions and reflect on what they have learned through a debriefing session with the educator or implementor. This learning experience has the ability to teach the concept of migration in a new way, creating a stronger link between the learner and the material. Find more on the  CSER website.

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