The Silent University
"Treats from the postman make for a stellar start to Monday.
'The Silent University is a solidarity based knowledge exchange platform made up of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants who contribute to the programme as lecturers, consultants and researchers.'
If you don't know this project, head for thesilentuniversity.org immediately!" - Instagram post, Nov '16
Many of us would say that our jobs say a lot about who we are, as well as what we do. Hopefully, our work is a source of happiness and pride, a sense of purpose, a focus and a community of colleagues. When a person leaves their home country, out of necessity rather than curiosity, they arrive to a new place that knows nothing of their talents, skills and motivations and, with the inability to work for money, there's no opportunity to tell that story.
This is where The Silent University comes in:
'The Silent University aims to address and reactivate the knowledge of the participants and make the exchange process mutually beneficial by inventing alternative currencies, in place of money or free voluntary service. The Silent University’s aim is to challenge the idea of silence as a passive state, and explore its powerful potential through performance, writing, and group reflection. These explorations attempt to make apparent the systemic failure and the loss of skills and knowledge experienced through the silencing process of people seeking asylum.'
It empowers people to teach and share skills in which they have expertise. Alternative economies and methods of payment have been developed that mean support and resource is available, without breaking any laws. This is an institution that understands the value of the people who make it. Imagine how important that would be if your world had just been turned upside-down. And that's before we even acknowledge the incredible expertise that local people are given access to and the opportunity for an international conversation that's been instantly opened up.
What if there was a Silent University in every city? Why wouldn't we make the most of people?