Stories Across Borders

About the Project

Displacement is the product of numerous systems. While most often captured and disseminated at its critical junctures, such as ports of entry, familial separations, or moments of distress, the reality faced by displaced people is often far more abstract, composed of expansive webs of governmental, geopolitical, and legal structures occurring far before, after and unseen from the public eye. 

As issues of displacement are increasingly viewed through the lens of cycle-based media, meaningful concern toward the root causes of these crises and the governmental and social structures which exacerbate and prolong them are often neglected, forcing migrants, asylum seekers, and their allies to develop their own methods of support, visibility, and influence over policy. 

For 15 years, ART WORKS Projects has highlighted stories beyond the datapoints, providing support for those who wish to share their lived experiences and become advocates for change within their own communities around the world. 

This exhibition is a selection of images and research by veteran ART WORKS Projects collaborators, Bassam Khabieh and his project After Syria, Wil Sands, and Rachel Woolf and her project Deported. Their work comes from three different perspectives, highlighting the immense danger asylum seekers face when escaping violence, the uncertainty of life in limbo between nations, and the continued challenges displaced individuals face once they have reached their destination. While the stories captured in these projects highlight vastly different regions and histories, they point to the universal experience of displacement and the profound ability of storytelling to influence global change.

about the artists

Bassam Khabieh is an internationally recognized Syrian photographer who documented war crimes and other ongoing human rights violations for eight years during the Syrian war while working for Reuters.

Wil Sands is a documentary photographer. Sands was a 2021 recipient of the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting Grant.

Rachel Woolf is a Denver-based independent visual journalist and photographer. Woolf was a 2018 ART WORKS Projects Emerging Lens Fellow.

Public Program

On June 7, 2023, in partnership with the Refugee and Forced Displacement Initiative (RAFDI) at The Wilson Center, AWP hosted “Storytelling that Informs Policy: Addressing Refugees and Forced Displacement,” a symposium and exhibition at the Hague Humanity Hub. Speakers included Bassam Khabieh, Liselot van Zantvoort (Justice & Peace Netherlands), Annemieke De Jong (IKEA Foundation), and John Thon Majok (RAFDI) in a conversation about promoting the lived experiences of refugees to encourage policy change.

“Storytelling that Informs Policy: Addressing Refugees and Forced Displacement” Symposium

bring this exhibit to you

All of our exhibitions are designed to tour and can be adapted to a broad spectrum of venue types and sizes.

We are happy to provide step-by-step support for hosting this exhibit.

Contact us to learn more about bringing this exhibit to your community.

Stories Across Borders at The Hague Humanity Hub

resources & tools


In honor of World Refugee Day on June 20, the IKEA Foundation set up one of their Refugee/Relief Housing Units inside a store in Oslo, Norway in order to raise awareness about this crisis

Wil Sands documented his work along the borders of Ukraine in a photographic essay for Wilson Quarterly, titled Weapons of a Hybrid War.


According to the UNHCR there are an estimated 108.4 million forcibly displaced persons around the world. Of this number,

  • 62.5 million are internally displaced persons
  • 35.3 million are refugees
  • 5.4 million are asylum seekers
  • 5.2 million are in need of international protection
  • 43.3 are children


  • The UNHCR has compiled a resource for ways people can help refugees and other forcibly displaced persons around the world, through donations, volunteer work, advocacy, and more
  • The UNHCR Global Trends Report 2022, published in June 2023, breaks down the increasing refugee and forced displacement crisis and outlines solutions to this global issue
    • John Thon Majok, Director of the Refugee and Forced Displacement Initiative at the Wilson Center discusses the 2022 Global Trends Report and provides context and background information for the global refugee crisis.

support for this project


Stories Across Borders was produced in partnership with: