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Media Offerings for Asylum Seekers

The Professorship of Media and Communication and the Bon Courage Society work together on media offerings for asylum seekers

How do I obtain a health insurance certificate? Where do I get an apartment? When will I receive an answer regarding my asylum proceedings? A media offering for asylum seekers in Germany, which explains their rights and obligations as well as makes crucial information available – with this goal in mind, Andreas Bischof and Vivien Sommer from the Professorship of Media Communication at the TU Chemnitz have been working on a media project with 50 Media Communication Bachelor students since April 2015. “We want to make the access to information for asylum seekers as easy as possible upon their arrival in Germany,” explains project leader Vivien Sommer. Sandra Münch from the Bon Courage Society elaborates: “There is room for improvement in communication and delivery of information to affected groups at Initial Reception Centers. Informational brochures, flyers, and forms are often not understood or misunderstood due to language and educational differences.” Therefore, media offerings should be created in the project which will make arrival and settling in Germany easier for asylum seekers via informational opportunities and, as much as possible, will leave no questions open.

In the year 2014, more than 10,000 asylum seekers came to Chemnitz – among them, many families, mostly fleeing civil wars or religious persecution. These applicants for asylum will be helped by the cooperation project. The students and employees of the Institute for Media Research at the Technische Universität are working meticulously on concrete solution strategies regarding how asylum seekers can be most effectively educated. As a first step, the project participants worked in small research groups which accompany their studies. They worked on sub-projects aimed at determining the concrete demand for information. The corresponding research methods for such a goal are diverse. They can range from the observation of the role of smartphones for refugees, to expert interviews with social workers, to a content analysis of governmental texts. The first results of the survey are expected in July and will be discussed and evaluated at a workshop. The coming winter semester will subsequently be used to develop suitable media offerings on the basis of empirical findings. Pictograms about themes such as asylum rights, potentially made available via an app, are a conceivable possibility.

The project can be traced back to an idea from Sandra Münch, TU graduate and employee of the Bon Courage Society e.V. In the context of her work with the Society as well as her master’s thesis at the Professorship of Intercultural Communication of the TU Chemnitz on the topic of support and guidance for asylum seekers, it became clear that this group does not have good access to important information. So, she approached the Professorship of Media Communication and submitted her idea to develop a media offering to bundle relevant information and make it available. For Andreas Bischof and Vivien Sommer, it was a welcome project suggestion, because it allows Media Communication Bachelor students to receive practical experience and at the same time deal with a current issue. “Our motivation from the side of Media Communication is primarily that we produce something – a concept for media that will also actually be needed and applied. Because this is sometimes not the case in our lessons, except for examples which are created for practice or illustration purposes only, this project is excellently suited for our students,” according to Sommer.

More information:

Contact: Andreas Bischof, Telephone 0371 531-32515, E-Mail, and Vivien Sommer, Telephone 0371 531-38424, E-Mail

(Author: Katharina Preuß, Translation: Sarah Wilson)

Katharina Thehos

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