Project highlighting Syrian refugees wins design award

Submarine

The studio Submarine Channel has won two prizes at this year’s Dutch Design Awards with its web presentation of life in a Syrian refugee camp.

The Refugee Republic interactive website was the recipient of both the Future Award – given to the most promising design of the next few years – and the top winner in the communication category.

Dutch agency Submarine Channel is a producer of web documentaries and members lived in the camp alongside the refugees while creating the project.

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Set in the Domiz Syrian refugee camp in northern Iraq, the online documentary uses a mixture of illustration, photography, moving image, recorded sound and text to give viewers insight into the daily lives of the camp’s 58,000 refugees.

Opening with a short introduction to Domiz – which is 60 kilometres from the Syrian border – the documentary describes the typical experience of many refugees, who arrive at a camp with minimal possessions and receive standard housing supplies.

After the introduction, a labelled illustrated map appears and clicking on parts of it, viewers can explore different parts of the camp.

“By selecting Submarine Channel as the winner of the Future Award, the expert jury rewards a project that is clearly rooted in empathy,” the Dutch Design Awards said in a statement.

“Despite its ‘heavy’ subject matter, Refugee Republic is a heart-warming plea for compassion. In a time when nuances can easily be overlooked, it is refreshing to see refugees portrayed not as victims but as human beings, which encourages us to relate to their experiences.”

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