In 2015 more than 800,000 people fleeing persecution and poverty put their lives in danger during perilous sea crossings in search of safety and dignity in Europe. At a time of urgent humanitarian need, and while a negative public narrative about migration was developing, the Greek people showed exemplary compassion and solidarity.
Oxfam and Amnesty International Greece wanted to introduce a positive narrative on migration into the public domain, by acknowledging and celebrating the solidarity of the Greek people that welcomed into their country those who had to flee theirs, and encouraging their continuing support.
Taking inspiration from Greece’s contribution to civilization, celebrated in museums across Athens, we created a new museum displaying the new historical contribution of hospitality, humanity and solidarity towards migrants and refugees: A Museum Without a Home!
The digital and outdoor visual ‘Museum Without a Home’ campaign was a celebration of humanity, dedicated to the Greek people who welcomed and embraced, with their hospitality, people who had fled their country. A unique ‘Exhibition of Hospitality’ was displayed live around Athens, highlighting small acts of solidarity that deserve a big ‘Thank you’ and encouraged people’s continuing support. The campaign was active in Athens from November 14, 2016 until December 14, 2016.
The whole city of Athens was transformed into a museum. Its exhibits were photos of the real objects given to migrants and refugees by Greeks which were displayed around Athens. At the same time, a selection of these objects could be found in world-famous museums, such as the Acropolis Museum and the National Museum of Contemporary Art – each accompanied by a story of care and compassion. Through the campaign website, people could share information, act, and sign a pledge to uphold the right to protection and support for people fleeing home in search of safety and dignity.
During the same time, the campaign’s messages travelled far beyond the Greek borders, from Italy and Spain to the USA, China, and Australia. The campaign reached more than 136,000 people and over 40 articles were hosted in Greek and international media outlets. The warm response to this initiative was evident from enthusiastic comments of people on social media and proposals for cooperation from academics around the world.
In 2017, the geographical boundaries of the Museum started expanding outside Athens and travelled to the North-West Region of Greece, while the campaign received two Gold ‘Ermis Awards’ from Greece’s most prestigious advertising and communications body. The ‘Museum without a Home’ is also nominated for the ‘European Excellence Awards 2016’, the global institution honoring every year the most outstanding achievements of communications professionals in their field.
Today, for the first time ever, the ‘Museum without a Home’ is travelling outside Greece, and this unique ‘Exhibition of Hospitality’ will be hosted at Mikser Festival – Migration 2017 from 25 until 28 May in Belgrade, Serbia.