‘Hear Our Stories: An Anthology of Writings on Migration’ review

22nd January 2024

Article written by Meg Shona Halpin-Webster, Graduate eLearning Content Writer at Marshall E-Learning Consultancy, a Ciphr company

Hear Our Stories is an inspiring and insightful collection of poetry and prose on the topic of migration from those who have first-hand experience of being a migrant, and have travelled to the UK in the hope of a better life for themselves, and in many cases, their families. This intimate collection is a collaborative effort between TogetherintheUK and Victorina Press, and the work of editors Teresa Norman, Sinéad Mangan-McHale and Consuelo Rivera-Fuentes, who compiled the contributions of 38 migrant and refugee authors.

This review came about through Marshalls’ longstanding relationship with Teresa Norman, who has shared her experience and expertise with us to create insightful papers, including this one on the Importance of Inclusive Boards, which contributed to our Leading Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Boards and Senior Teams training course. Teresa set up a social enterprise TogetherintheUK in 2016 and Marshalls is delighted to support its activities to raise awareness and understanding towards migrants in the UK, seeing Hear Our Stories as an invaluable resource to document the hardships and difficulties faced my migrants and refugees to the UK.

So receive, receive we must, receive we will. For no other sake, nor any other reason, than to not let drown, any more good will. 

– Jaimin, ‘Received’ in Hear Our Stories, p.31

Hear Our Stories is divided into five chapters: The Journey, Getting Granted, Discrimination, Making A Life and Relationship With Country Of Origin. These chapters, and the themes within them, provide thought-provoking insight into the lived experiences of migrants, including the hardships they have faced, and continue to face, upon arriving in the UK. The contributors to this anthology offer a wide range of accounts documenting their history and their experiences, bravely sharing their vulnerabilities in the hopes that other migrants and refugees to this country will not feel isolated, unheard, and alone.

Togetherness, and support, are running themes throughout this anthology, with many writers offering an encouraging hand to their peers, guiding them to be strong in the face of their difficulties. Other powerful themes are memory, trauma, travel, other-ness and the concept of ‘home’. In ‘Please Question your Misconceptions’, for example, Sisi Wang delves into the concept of ‘home’ and strong feelings of being othered:

“I’ve studied the culture, played the sport, learnt the colloquialism, spoken the accent, eaten strawberries at Wimbledon, boarded at school, lost some mates over the years, bought the tuck, worn the uniform, been to Henley and Ascot, drank the tea, taken a cab, watched the Rugby, fancied a boy, driven on the left side of the road, taken the tube, said “sorry” unnecessarily, talked about the weather, queued in queues, asked matron to put me off games, passed CEs, GCSEs and doing A-levels, kept my emotions at bay, appreciated the NHS, folded crisps into a sandwich but how come I still feel so foreign, so ‘othered’.”

This anthology is both captivating and provocative, and leaves the reader questioning what they consider to be ‘home’ and whether they have taken this for granted. Many migrants, including second-generation immigrants, continue to feel ‘othered’ in the UK, highlighting the necessity for greater acceptance and understanding across our wider society. This collection is a valuable resource for this purpose, providing not only a voice for these migrants and their experiences, but also illuminating the painful and traumatic existence that comes with looking for a better life.

How Marshalls will address migration in its future eLearning content

As migration is such an important current topic, Marshalls is developing an informative and engaging eLearning training course on this subject, in collaboration with Teresa Norman. The broad concept is to create a module that provides organisations with best practices and solutions for recruiting refugees and migrants and supporting them within the workplace, in recognition of the diverse and valuable skills that this group can offer, and the role that employers can play in welcoming and settling them in the UK.

To find out more about Teresa, and her valuable work in this field, visit her LinkedIn profile here. To purchase a copy of Hear Our Stories, edited by Teresa Norman, Sinéad Mangan-McHale and Consuelo Rivera-Fuentes, please visit this page.

For more information about our wide range of training courses relevant to the topic of migration, please contact us.

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