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The Track Project

Kala Phool

Birmingham, UK

Recording Migration Stories using Instagram

We  wanted to explore the stories of migrants, asylum seekers and recently arrived communities in Birmingham, UK. Our approach is based in countless hours of relationship building – trust building – understanding nuances of tone in the broken English that may have been spoken.

We established an Instagram project so that anyone could participate – no-one was left out. It is a visual platform creating an archive of individual likes and dislikes through images taken by the participants. We agreed a series of ‘themes’ for them to follow and get inspired by.


Migration is  "dirty word" to many, yet it has been happening throughout time. What about those who make dangerous journeys because they have no choice? can we give them the space/platform to express their lived experience?

By creating our Track Project we have found a very simple way into understanding a person’s journey to the UK.

Images are so emotive, so personal. As a form of expression, it is one that does not exclude.

  • A picture paints a thousand words: it doesn’t require language translation.

  • It is seeing the world through your eyes.

  • It creates a living archive of experiences and feelings at a particular time and place.

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Age group: 3-85.

At each session, we encountered a different group of people, with little continuity, due to legal issues affecting the individuals we worked with.

Here's an example of the way we worked:

We had to create a safe environment for people to talk, share and think about their lived experiences. We tried to ask open and personal questions to create a dialogue. We invited the participants to:

  1. Choose a theme: for example music, food, buildings, clothes…etc.

  2. Make it a personal perspective that speaks to you.

  3. Explore your personal and/or local environment.

  4. Take photos! – Don’t over think this bit, take as many or as few as you wish.

  5. Choose the photos that tell you story or your perspective best – up to a maximum of 10.

  6. Upload them to the assigned Instagram account.

  7. Add a caption that relates to the theme and/or your thoughts.

Photos from the Kala Phool “Track Project.” You can find the "Track Project" on Instagram, here.


For more information go to the “Working with Instagram” page, here, or the company’s website, here

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