Frontline Update: A Tale of Two Speeches


A few weeks ago (what feels like a different epoch now), people came together at events across the country to stand in solidarity with migrants and celebrate Refugee Week. Such is the demand around this time of year for experts-by-experience who feel ready, able and willing to speak out, Freed Voices are often very busy. Step forward Fred, who gallantly agreed to speak out about detention at two different events in one day.

The first, in the morning, to an audience of the regional co-ordinators of the International Detention Coalition (IDC), alongside long-time member, Joe. The second, a special panel event at Birkbeck University as part of a conference entitled ‘Placeless People: What Can History Tell Us About Today’s Refugee Crises?’, alongside one of the group’s newest members, Amir.

Joe and Fred from Freed Voices address IDC delegates at the Open Society Foundation, Millbank.

Joe and Fred from Freed Voices address IDC delegates at the Open Society Foundation, Millbank.

Below are extracts of an audio-interview, in which another Freed Voices member, William, asks Fred to reflect on what it was like to give two speeches about campaigning for detention reform in one day. In doing so, Fred highlights, among other things, the importance of mutual-aid when speaking-out; why ‘play’ is a vital part of how Freed Voices work; how he and other members prepare and feedback to eachother; and what it feels like to tell your story to a stunned audience.

(Apologies for the occasional interfering background sound).

Firstly, William grills Fred on what it was like to speak to international representatives of the IDC, at Millbank:

When Eiri Ohtani, European Regional Coordinator and the organiser of the event, asked participants at the end of the IDC conference what they had inspired them most, Freed Voices clearly made an impact:


Next stop, Fred headed east towards Birkbeck, where he met up with Amir, who was speaking-out as a Freed Voices member for the first time.

You can listen to both their speeches here:

And lastly, William returns for Fred’s reflections on the second speech and an overview on what it means to speak-out more generally: