In the frame of a wider exploration of the migratory paths of Syrian refugees towards Europe, which has been realised through an ethnographic approach, it has been possible to collect photographic and audiovisual material, mainly produced by refugees during their travel. Although at times this material seems to have been produced with the aim of documenting their travels thanks to the increasingly diffuse endowment of technologies which allow that practice at other times it seems to have a broader meaning. In some cases it is configured as a visual support to the launches of SOS from the sea and to requests for assistance; in other cases it is a tool of witness, concerning the denunciation of violence suffered in border spaces. In attempting to grasp its multiple meanings, the relational environment/context in which each image is placed has a fundamental importance. It is characterised by a multiplicity of institutional and non-institutional actors, which if on the one hand play a still ill-defined role in the (co)production of the audiovisual material, on the other, after its reception, (re)act in an innovative way. The article addresses particular contexts of the production of images by Syrian refugees, such as detention spaces in transit countries, journeys by sea, and first reception spaces. The analysis of audiovisual material will be led by three research questions. Firstly, how did the practice of self-documentation beging? And, what was its aim? Secondly, what is the relational environment of the production of audiovisual material by migrants? And how are these relationships eventually able to direct its content? Thirdly, is it possible to interpret this audiovisual production as a means of self-determination, empowerment and resistance?
Keywords: Refugees; Syria; visual; agency; empowerment; resistance.