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Migrant Connections: Immigrant and Refugee Stories from Utah to Greece

Image depicting routes described in interviews associated with the Migrant Connections project

By Justin Sorensen


One of the things I enjoy most about GIS (Geographic Information Systems) technology is the ability to present projects and research in new and exciting ways. One area in particular is the storytelling process and the ability to apply methods for bringing new light and insights to subjects that not only educate, but also engage viewers on an entirely new level. For this week’s Map Monday release, I will be highlighting a previous collaborative project demonstrating a basic method for visualizing location components as part of the storytelling process.

Migrant Connections: Immigrant and Refugee Stories from Utah to Greece

In 2019, I had the privilege of collaborating on a project with Dr. Alborz Ghandehari, Assistant Professor and Lecturer in Ethnic Studies at the University of Utah. In his course, Politics of Borders and Migration, participating students were empowered with opportunities for collecting and sharing interviews with individuals in their own families and within the Utah refugee communities. Dr. Ghandehari would later say that “these stories testify to the need for global approaches to migration which connect migrant justice struggles across the world”. It is these stories sharing the experiences of daily life, activism, and the struggles for immigrants and refugees that comprise Migrant Connections.

As many of our GIS Services and Map Monday followers know, I am a firm believer that collaboration is key to the successful outcome of any project. The ability to combine research with the skill sets and expertise of others provides new ways of expressing and relaying information to audiences throughout the world. To assist in providing a unique method for creatively sharing these works with others, Dr. Ghandehari and his students worked closely with many experts at the J. Willard Marriott Library, creating an informative website and presenting each oral history interview to viewers around the world. One of the components I actively participated in involved developing multiple interactive mapping applications, bringing together the oral history interviews and transcripts created by the students while depicting the migration routes described in each interview.

Greece refugee routes outlined in interviews associated with the Migrant Connections project      Utah refugee routes outlined in interviews associated with the Migrant Connections project

Learn more and view the collaborative output of this project:

Interested in creating or collaborating on a similar project? Please visit the GIS Services website to connect with me:

About Map Monday Releases from GIS Services

Throughout the semester, GIS Services will be releasing bi-weekly maps on a variety of topics, demonstrating ideas and uses for incorporating geospatial technology into projects and research you are developing. To view our collection of maps, projects, or to learn more about the geospatial services offered through the J. Willard Marriott Library, please visit the GIS Services website @ www.lib.utah.edu/services/geospatial

Happy Mapping!

Justin Sorensen | GIS Specialist
Creativity & Innovation Services / GIS Services
justin.sorensen@utah.edu

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