Editor in Chief Giulia Ciccolella introduces Ekō Magazine
Ekō Magazine aims to produce more authentic and ethical journalism by providing a platform for people to speak for themselves and to amplify their voice to challenge mainstream media’s reporting on the so-called migrant crisis. Focussing on storytelling and art, our collaborative project gathers first-hand accounts by refugees, asylum seekers, volunteers and activists to dismantle stereotypes and misconceptions. We stress that migrants are welcome here and that the only crisis that exists are the hostile environment policies put in place within the UK and the rest of Europe. Hence, our objectives are not only to foster agency, community and a sense of belonging – which we do by focussing on accessibility and publishing in English, Arabic and Farsi – but with our dream to become our own charity, we also hope that we will find a way to influence politicians and policy makers in the future.
The idea for Ekō grew with the help of passionate volunteers and students, and started as a dream back in the summer of 2019 when one of our founding members went to volunteer in Athens. There, she was part of different local and international grassroot initiatives and projects; one of which being the newspaper Migratory Birds, organised by the Network for Children’s Rights and written and edited in five languages by young asylum seekers, refugees, Greeks and migrants. Inspired by this project, she pitched an idea to create a similar platform in collaboration with students of Goldsmiths University’s Student Action for Refugees (STAR) society once she returned to university. Soon, the original team consisted of Media & Communications, Arts and Design students who met once a week to discuss the identity of ekō magazine and who organised bake-sales in order to get funding for the printing.
But it wasn’t until March 2020, the week right before most European countries went into lockdown, that Ekō magazine’s very first issue, New Beginnings, was launched. Since then, we’ve published a website (www.ekozineonline.com) and three more issues: Love, Communication & Hope. As we produced more and more, the demand for ekō issues increased and our community and audience has also grown. NGOs and other refugee support initiatives were reaching out to get involved with and support the project. From what began as a team of four, has since introduced six editors, six translators and three designers. Moreover, to get closer to our dream to become our own charity, we now started organising bi-weekly art workshops for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers as well.
Right now, we are working on our fifth issue, Healing, which will be out in January 2021. The submission deadline is the 1st of December.