The Jungle Camp 2015
Calais SPEAKS began in September 2015 when the WFC team entered the refugee camp in Calais. Motivated by the mobilisation of a grassroots movement for distribution in the camp, Alice Bragg, founder of WFC, coordinated a workshop programme. The WFC workshop taught a series of participants from the camp how to shoot, edit and distribute short documentaries using mobile phone technology. Setting up class inside a candlelit tent, the participants produced emotive content about their journey through Europe to the camp, their community, and their daily routines. The objective of the programme was for people inside the camp to contribute to the media that portrays it in order to deepen an understanding of the situations of those living and passing through the camp and their needs. The refugee camp known colloquially as ‘The Jungle’ witnessed an influx of residents in summer 2015, although people have been arriving for many years prior to this. The people staying in the camp represent communities from across the world - including from Afghanistan, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan. In 2015 there was an influx of people fleeing conflict, predominantly from Syria, arriving in Europe to seek asylum. The result was a ‘migrant crisis’ as European nations struggled with how to deal with the vast numbers of people crossing the border. Different nations took different approaches resulting in rising tensions within the EU, notably evident in the different attitudes of Britain and Germany. For those in the Calais refugee camp, the end destination is Britain, from which they can apply for asylum seeking status. This final journey is a notorious aspect of daily life for the camp residents, which revolves around the nightly attempts to cross the border via the eurotunnel train, on passing lorries, or ferry. Many are injured or die in the process. The WFC participants created content to document their lives within “The Jungle”. The resulting films cover the process of making tea & coffee in the camp, washing, the celebration of Eid, crossing the border, life in the camp, confrontation with the police.