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Communication and Media Studies
Chair of Communication and Media Studies
Cooperation Project Bon Courage

First Workshop Provides the Foundations for Media Project

The Professorship of Media and Communication and the Bon Courage Society work together to develop media offerings for refugees. In the first workshop, the foundations for the project were established.

Since this summer semester, Andreas Bischof and Vivien Sommer (from the Chair of Media and Communication) as well as Sandra Münch (from the Bon Courage Society) work together with 50 students from the Bachelor degree program Media and Communication on a joint media project. The goal of the cooperation is to facilitate access to information for refugees upon their initial arrival in Germany. At the moment, for example, communication in Initial Reception Centers like the one in Chemnitz is rather unsatisfactory. The agency is obligated to provide information, and they do provide fact sheets and forms for refugees, but these are not accessible to everyone: some of the refugees are illiterate, and not every language spoken is also available in written form. Furthermore, it is apparent that not all refugees are familiar with the local “government agency culture” and therefore try to satisfy their demand for information in completely different ways.

The poor accessibility of such information results in refugees often not being aware of their rights, which in turn can have serious consequences for the legal processing of their asylum application, although quite crucial, information is lacking. For example, many refugees are not even aware in which part of Germany they are currently located.

In the cooperation project with the Professorship of Media and Communication, the project team together with the students develop concrete solution strategies, regarding how refugees can be effectively educated about their rights and responsibilities. The project is not limited to only the staff of the Institute, but also involves active engagement from the stu-dents of Media and Communication with their own research projects. In this semester, a group of 50 Bachelor students will be researching what kind of media offerings the refugees need in order to inform themselves about questions such as: How do I obtain a health insurance certificate? When do I get an apartment? When will I receive an answer regarding my asylum proceedings?

In the first workshop, on April 25th, 2015, the foundations for the needs assessment were laid out: the students presented their sub-projects in groups. Participant observations of the roll of smartphones for refugees, expert interviews with social workers, content analysis of gov-ernmental texts or even narrative input from established refugees who recalled their arrival and their problems were discussed. Sandra Münch advised the students about experts in the research field and points of contact. At the same time, possible problems in the research process were discussed. The workshop provided an initial foundation for the media project. In the course of the semester, the students will go into the field and investigate where concrete information gaps and communication barriers exist. On July 10th, the students will present first results of the study in a second workshop.

In the coming winter semester, the the project team use these results of the sub-projects to generate concrete media offerings, as for instance pictograms which provide clarification about asylum and social law procedures which would be available to people through an app. Also conceivable is the recording of audio files, in which the refugees are welcomed and informed about the first important steps.


Project Leaders:
Andreas Bischof
Vivien Sommer

Bon Courage:

More information about the Society

Published on 29. April 2015