Editor's Note: The original version of this article listed the incorrect number of "Outside the Margins" student contributors. It also stated Sonny Haquani is the original project manager; however he is the project manager for this iteration of "Outside the Margins," not the original. The Daily Lobo apologizes for any confusion.
The University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management helped fund a project by students and faculty in the International Business Students Global group that addresses the concerns surrounding immigration in a creative way.
“Outside the Margins: The Blue Book on the Global Refugee Crises” has been published after over two years of effort by a group of 30 students and 70 partners in IBSG.
The book provides insight on the implications of displacement as a global crisis, while addressing causes for displacement and migration. “Outside the Margins” confronts the refugee crisis by suggesting that art can help bridge the disconnect between society and dispossessed migrants.
“The ‘Outside The Margins’ book project rose out of a growing sense of urgency surrounding the Syrian refugee crisis. The project emphasizes poetics and art as a new paradigm for refugee aid and accompanying programs,” according to a press release by the authors of ‘Outside the Margins.’
Sonny Haquani is the IBSG Board Chair and project manager for this iteration of “Outside the Margins” and has been involved with the project throughout the process.
“The idea for the book started about three years ago with the Kraye challenge,” Haquani said. “This (book) originally existed to use art to describe marginality.”
After Haquani became a member of the project, the focus shifted to being more policy-centric, he said.
This book is largely split into three sections. However, “Outside the Margins” is not intended to be read in a linear fashion, Haquni said.
“The first section is intended to be that you can pick up the book at any point and read about anything from climate change to really specific case studies of how something in one part of the world affects the rest,” said Josh Lane, the IBSG board creative director and program manager.
The second section of “Outside the Margins” addresses how, and why, society lacks a sense of urgency when called to help those migrating to seek refuge.
“People in the world are displaced, but what is it that makes one not have a sense of urgency to be concerned? This mentality allows us to otherize people. Something small, such as liking someone’s post on Facebook, gives us a false sense of interaction and plays into this larger narrative,” Haquani said.
The final section of the book acts as a curriculum suggested to future organizations or schools to encourage acceptance of refugees.
“If any (organization) or school were to adopt these tenants and ways of teaching as a way of incorporating displaced people into their communities, the effects would be incredible,” Lane said. “We argue that it’s through expression and art and making these things that you can bring displaced people into these communities and give them a chance to flourish as much as possible.”
“When people hear about this really big refugee crisis, they will usually want to tune out and detach themselves from the sense of responsibility that comes with accepting it,” Haquani said. “So we’ve taken this really complex subject and put it into an artistic format that somebody could read in 45 minutes.”
In addition to putting this concept into an easily comprehensible form, IBSG has “copy-lefted” — opposite of copyright — the ideas in “Outside the Margins” to encourage readers’ inspiration from the content, while also providing a PDF version of the book free to download on their site, Lane said.
“This book is a mosaic, kaleidoscopic, intended to be nonlinear and ultimately an expression of the many ways we are mutually displaced in the world. We want you, the reader, to make connections that we didn’t explicitly intend,” said the press release for “Outside the Margins.”
As abstract as this book is in nature, its purpose calls on the reader to self-reflect when considering moral dilemmas surrounding immigration, according to the press release.
In the future, the group that created “Outside the Margins” hopes to create events out of these concepts, such as an event where citizens and refugees can connect through an expression of art, such as painting, while expressing themselves, Haquani said.
Currently IBSG is attempting to make “Outside the Margins” a requirement within the Lobo Reading Experience.
Rebecca Brusseau is a news and culture reporter at the Daily Lobo. She primarily covers the LGBTQ community. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or on Twitter @r_brusseau.