Displaced communities have a rich and varied collection of skills, perspectives, and ideas that are being wasted by their host countries across Europe. Solomon was founded as a non-profit media initiative based in Athens, Greece to promote social inclusion, create stable employment and, above all, to unlock this huge, dormant potential. By promoting social inclusion, we aim to integrate the continent’s newest arrivals as full participants in European democracy.
Since January 2016, Solomon has been collaborating with migrants, refugees, and locals who have an interest in the field of media. It has provided structured training, skills development, and practice that culminates in paid employment, producing journalism, advertising, and communications content within Cue, Solomon’s content production branch, launched in May 2017.
Cue provides paid services in storytelling, photography, video, design and digital communications to NGOs, media organizations and international companies. Cue’s aim is to give all of its members equal opportunities for economic advancement and career development in the creative industries, along with facilitating their social inclusion through Solomon’s multicultural network.
This is how it works: Solomon is a multi-branched media project and all Cue personnel are drawn from Solomon’s first and introductory branch, Lab. Lab is an educational program which connects a diverse group of refugees and migrants interested in Media and Communications, with local Greek students studying these subjects at university. A four-month collaborative project serves to provide them with foundational media training. The first two months focus on the theoretical aspects and the second two months involve the production of content, along with workshops hosted by Solomon’s media partners and mentors within the field.
There are multiple courses covering Photography & Videography and Journalism and Digital Communication which give applicants the choice to select the category that interests them. Through the Lab course, all team members meet weekly, along with attending the monthly Solomon Social Gatherings, facilitating the development of new relationships in a supportive and creative environment.
Lab graduates then have the opportunity to put their newly-gained skills into practice, through Solomon Magazine -- which is Solomon’s online platform, where a diverse group of contributors express their thoughts and experiences on a variety of topics, igniting conversation around alternative perspectives from within displaced communities.
Here, Journalism, Photography, and Communications students can share their work with an international audience. For the Video graduates, Solomon’s web video channel Solomon Screen gives them a platform to develop their filming techniques and production further -- to ultimately have their work displayed on our respected channels. Magazine, Screen, and Lab placements will be non-paid, but the graduates will receive mentorship, rich experiences, a deep understanding of the media industry, and become part of a buzzing creative and cooperative network.
Finally, after the placements within Magazine and Screen, the graduates who have the richest skillsets, original ways of thinking, and have shown commitment to their new career paths, are invited to join Cue. Here they are able to start creating content across the whole media spectrum, gain an income, develop their careers, and, most importantly, become a part of a diverse professional team originating from more than 10 countries, all connected by their common passion for media.
Cue will ultimately give talented migrants, refugees, and locals the opportunity to build a sustainable career and be rewarded economically for fulfilling their creative ambitions, while becoming part of a socially conscious ‘family’ at the same time.
Although there are thousands of NGOs based in Athens, currently giving all different types of assistance to the refugees and migrants entering Greece, there haven’t been any projects similar to Cue, which allows for jobs in the Media and Communication Industry. The career opportunities for migrants and refugees are usually limited to translation and interpretation -- regardless of their diverse skillsets. Cue exists to discover talent, unleash the potential for career development, and provide stable employment opportunities within the field of Media, while working alongside locals in an organic social inclusion process across all cultures, backgrounds, and countries that the program will be present in.
At this stage, all employees are working on a voluntary basis, yet the experience offered is rich for everyone, due to the relationships and connections that have grown out of the Cue and Solomon family. However, we are currently working on two paid projects with our Cue team, producing promotional video material, and social media content for various NGOs in Greece and Switzerland. Once these projects are completed, the income will be fed back into strengthening Cue and Solomon. As we gain more jobs, build our portfolio, gain exposure, expand our team, and have access to better equipment, Cue will gain more projects, allowing the network to grow, and finally expand into other European countries.
Unfortunately, the reality of setting up a company or let alone an NGO in Greece, is that the country is still suffering the effects of its deep and protracted financial crisis. It’s a risky time for any new project to be founded, as there are constant changes and unknowns on the horizon in the business environment and accounting, legal, and commercial law. Bureaucratic fluctuations are inevitable at this point in time, but by having an informed team we strive to get through this economic crisis and get Cue to where it deserves to be.
Our ultimate goal is to expand the Cue network internationally, giving a platform to migrants, refugees, and local people around the world who have the passion and skillsets to produce high quality and thought-provoking content. There are talented people within the migrant community across the world, who simply need the opportunity to showcase their work and become part of a community in their new country of residence. We will judge our success against the number of people we manage to bring along on this journey with us, but also in the growth of our audience and the attention and prestige won by our channels. We aim to become an agenda-setting and essential source of news, information and culture for anyone with an interest in this field of interest.
Germany and Holland would be the first locations for us to expand in, as they have some of the largest immigrant populations, who would benefit from joining the Cue network. They are also far more financially stable countries, which would ensure that Cue DE and Cue NL would have projects available to work on. Once expansion in these regions has proved successful, Sweden and France would be the next countries we aim to branch into, with the long-term goal of creating a pan-European community for debate and skill development.
Solomon exists to empower the refugee and migrant community with the skills and interpersonal networks crucial to their social inclusion. But our ambitions extend beyond the personal impact for each individual involved. We believe in a future where the power of media allows displaced communities to play an active role in European democracy, ensure their voices are heard and that nobody speaks on their behalf in debates that concern their lives and futures.