Works in progress


dying to be in europe

The Migrant Files is a list of migrants who have been reported dead or missing en route to Europe or after arrival in Europe. "Principal data sources for this effort include United for Intercultural Action, a non-profit whose network comprises over 550 organizations across Europe, and Fortress Europe, founded by the journalist and author Gabriele Del Grande, which also monitors the deaths and disappearances of migrants to Europe. The Migrants' Files’ database also uses data from Puls, a project run by the University of Helsinki, Finland and commissioned by the Joint Research Center of the European Commission." - from

This data is challenging to visualize because it's known to be incomplete, as there are many who went dead or missing and have never been reported. Moreover, what struck me most when I read the raw data wasn't the numbers but the text. For example "Dec 1, 2015 - A 4-year old child was reported drowned as she and 28 fellow passengers tried to swim to the shore of Ro." These tiny snippets of dry reports, each one representing a life and death boiled down to an anonymous sentence of tragedy. Yet, there is report after report after report. Life after life after life - turned into death after death after death. I was also struck by the connection to real life locations: places in Italy, Greece, Space, France, Egypt, Liberia, etc. 

Therefore, I designed my visualization to focus on the text. Each small block of white text resembles a gravestone. On click, each one can be expanded to see the location as a red dot on a small map and to read the story with larger text. There is a sense of numbing endlessness with row after row after row of tiny tragedies. 

This project is incomplete, as I would like to make it more mobile friendly, to add a "mini-map" to the right side to sow the larger context you scroll, and to add some basic text search functionality to highlight words like "drowned" or "car" or "Sudanese."

I'm also not sure what to do with this or if there is an audience for it. It's a heart-breaking topic. Please reach out to me if you know of somewhere this, if completed, might be published to make a difference.