Liz Miller worked with many partners on Mapping Memories and each partner prioritized a different output. For some a short film was helpful, while for others a publication was the most useful. Throughout the project, Miller learned the value of planning for multiple outputs to ensure that the project was relevant to all the partners.
Mapping Memories: Experiences of Refugee Youth was a project that resulted in a youth-lead school tour of thirty different schools throughout Quebec. The tour was designed to reach a wide range of young people and to build awareness around refugee rights. When Liz Miller evaluated the success of the project with her team, they realized that there was a tension between reaching as many students as possible and reaching fewer students, but having a deeper impact.
Mapping Memories was conceived off as a mapping project but Liz quickly realized that not all participants were interested in working with mapping technologies. She adjusted the methodology accordingly, and in some cases offered drawing exercises instead of software workshops. This meant more time sharing and less time negotiating technology.
Liz Miller initiated a five-year participatory media project with youth with refugee experiences called Mapping Memories. The project involved workshops where participants developed personal stories. Many projects are participatory in the production stage but less so in outreach. Liz wanted the youth involved to experience how their stories might impact audiences, and aspired toward a horizontal decision-making style. She offered the young participants an opportunity to co-develop and lead a school tour to showcase their stories and build awareness. Liz hoped the youth tour guides would be able to lead the school tour on their own, once the methodology, design, and pilot phases were complete. She didn’t, however, account for the burden of administrative issues and the stress of dealing with technological issues at each school. As a result Liz and her outreach team remained involved through the thirty-school tour. They called this approach “staying involved but stepping aside.”