As the number of migrants dying in their attempt to cross closed borders continues to rise, the depressing tone often seems to be the only one truly appropriate for a discussion about migration. As a result, using humour in a communication campaign on migration is not an easy line to take as it could be seen by many as inappropriate and insensitive. However, in an effort to share the humanity of migrants who arrive in Europe, humour can be both a bold choice and a winning strategy to reach out to a wider audience. On the one hand, irony is an excellent tool for pointing out contradictions in the hate speech you are combating. Ironic overturning can allow what Annamaria Testa (2014), using an analogy between stereotypes and cholesterol, has proposed to call “good counter-stereotypes” to be used against the “bad stereotypes”. On the other hand, light-hearted and funny content is more likely to be shared and to become viral, meaning it has greater capacity to reach a wider audience.

From theory to practice

Include humour in storytelling

Humour shouldn’t be considered simply as a joke, but as a storytelling technique (see also Storytelling section).

See for example United Nations Human Rights Seven key elements on building human-right based narratives on migrants and migration

Stand-up comedy is an outstanding example on how humour can be combined with building powerful counter-narrations. See for example the UK-based collective of refugees and migrants No Direction Home

Communication of Local AuthoRities for INtegration in European Towns


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This project was funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.
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