Art + Media + Social Justice

Studio REV- is a non-profit art organization that combines sound research and bold ideas to produce creative media to impact the lives of low-wage workers, immigrants, women, and youth.

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Contratados

Like Yelp for migrant workers – with a psychedelic smorgasbord of pocket-sized comics and audio novelas!

Synopsis

Contratados is an art, tech, and social justice initiative that seeks to inform the United States' 90,000 H-2A and H-2B visa-holding migrant workers from Mexico about their rights. The initiative consists of on-the-ground advocacy, a powerful, interactive website that involves workers in mapping the recruitment industry to identify fraudulent or reputable worksites, a series of punchy and artfully designed pocket-sized comics and audio novelas (accessible by radio and any kind of phone), and a series of radio shows broadcast on the Radio Bilingue network. The project's name refers to the process of being contracted — or "contratado" in Spanish — by a U.S. employer to work in agriculture, construction, harvesting crab, seasonal fairs, or other low-paying work that US-born workers typically reject.
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AudioNovelas and Comics

The character-driven audio novelas and illustrated comics feature a colorful bevy including Senorita Sabelotodo (Miss Know-It-All) and Abuelita Buzz-Buzz ("Grandma Buzz Buzz") who, like a busy bee, knows everything about everybody. As these two amble about the market, barber shop, or soccer field, these two engage the migrant workers around them with tips, dispensing tips on how to spot a fraudulent recruiter, understanding the difference between H-2A (agricultural) and H-2B (non-agricultural) visas, overtime wage and more.

Each "audio novela" samples from a variety of traditional Mexican songs and contemporary international electronica to create a psychadelic know-your-rights smorgasmorg. A wheezy lung and pair of hands advise their owner how to avoid being exposed to pesticides. A stove and a truck advise their owner that H-2A (agricultural) workers should receive reimbursements for the cost of living and transportation.

Equally punchy, the illustrated comics contain handy and invaluable resources such as a state-by-state map of wages, a sample time sheet, and a sample pay stub translated into spanish. A comic about retaliation features the sassy Abuelita Buzz Buzz in a chef's hat, brandishing a whisk and rolling pin while reminding her readers that all workers, regardless of their immigration status, have the right to seek legal counsel should their employ punish them for speaking out. Googley-eyed lamps, laundry detergent bottles, and the like punctuate the illustrations with advice that invite their readers to help create an informed movement for migrant-workers' rights.

Context

Over the past thirty years, the United States has sought to enforce immigration by increasing the number of legally-contracted workers with H-2A (agricultural) and H-2B (non-agricultural) visas from 3,300 to 85,692 in 2010. As a legal, temporary, low-wage workforce with few rights, these migrant workers often suffer extensive human rights and labor abuses. With over 90% of H-2A guestworkers and over 73% of H-2B guestworkers of Mexican origin, Contratados seeks to provide those workers with pre-departure resources in Spanish to help them identify and prevent workplace abuse, defend their rights when human and labor rights violations occur, become active contributors to policy debates that affect their lives and their communities, and provide valuable insights into the flaws of current immigration policies to motivate policy makers to implement needed reforms.

Credits

Art Direction: Marisa Jahn, Anjum Asharia
Illustrations: Marisa Jahn, Taehee Wang
Audio: Anjum Asharia, Andalusia Knoll
Voicing Actors and Illustration Models: Alexander Eugenio Granell, Cristina Madero, Rodolfo Velazquez, Martha Zambrano, Felix Gardon, Vero Ramirez, Marisa Ramirez Advocacy: Centro de los Derechos del Migrante
Website: Research Action Design (RAD)
Audio Recording: Mike Hurst
Project Details

COLLABORATORS : Centro de los Derechos del Migrante (CDM), Research Action Design (RAD)

DATE : 2014

TAGS : Design/Communication, Digital Experiences, Toolkit

REVIEWS : Fast Company, The Nation, The Christian Science Monitor, AFL-CIO, the Economy Policy Institute, El Universal

MORE : www.contratados.org