Calling Across Borders

Ping! Texts, Whatsapp, FaceTime, voicemail…. Calls across continents are a lifeline for young people separated from their families by war, poverty and natural disaster. On 18 February 2021 we launched Calling Across Borders, a short film in which young refugees leave messages for those to whom they would most like to speak. You can watch our film by clicking on this link.

A collaboration between Crossed Lines and Compass Collective, these voicemail poems explore community, loss, resilience and hope. With animation by Maria Belik and sound design by Rosie Ash, Calling Across Borders gives insight into the lives of young people seeking sanctuary in the UK.

‘This project has shown me how similar we are in our thinking and our desires. … I have been uplifted and comforted.’ – Young refugee

This film has offered a vital platform for the voices of young refugees to be heard. I’ve watched them transform through the process as they connect with home and hope.’ –Leah Gayer, co-founder of Compass Collective 

‘These voicemail messages remind us of the potential of the telephone to connect across borders, as well as highlighting the barriers to communication that young refugees face.’ – Sarah Jackson, Crossed Lines project lead

This project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Nottingham Trent University in collaboration with Compass Collective. The launch was hosted by Nottingham Creative Writing Hub.

If you would like to support the work of Compass Collective, please visit their website, where you can find out more information or make a donation.

About the project

From October – December 2020, Dr Sarah Jackson devised the ‘Calling Across Borders’ project in partnership with Compass Collective, a non-profit theatre company working with people seeking sanctuary. To find out more about Compass Collective, please visit their website.

Sarah developed and delivered four creative-critical writing workshops with 8 young refugees and asylum seekers, and two young ambassadors. The aim of the project was to explore our relationship with the telephone, to promote marginalized voices, to develop self-expression through media technologies, and to build confidence in using and sharing creative skills.

Using the motif of voicemail, the young people worked together to write and perform a series of messages exploring loss, resilience and hope. The messages were made into a short animated film launched in February 2021.