Southwark Room, 5th Floor of the Switch House at Tate Modern, London
People on the move are often viewed with fear and suspicion on the part of ‘host’ communities. Despite a broad range of political and social responses to the so-called European refugee ‘crisis’, a security-orientated concern with ‘foreigners’ has come to dominate public and political debate. Meanwhile, efforts to construct different ways of talking about the issue appear to have failed to capture public imaginations. For instance, a humanitarian approach has been co-opted by the security agenda and is reproached from various angles as either ‘too soft’ and idealistic, or as victimising people on the move in precarious conditions. This raises the question as to how alternative imaginaries and responses can be forged that are grounded in respect for the dignity of all lives, including those people who are rendered precarious through movement.
Rather than addressing the question of how alternative approaches to migration or mobility can be forged with reference to different narratives and discourses, this symposium sought to explore diverse ways of engaging with precarious movement by focusing on the importance of creative mediums and tools of interaction. Developed out of close engagement with the collaborative installation Dead Reckoning / Crossing the Med, participants considered the effective and conceptual power of artistic creativity, dialogue, and story-sharing in opening up new ways for ‘host’ communities to relate to people on the move in precarious situations. The symposium aimed to bring together diverse constituencies to discuss the significance of re-learning migration or mobility through doing, creating, speaking and sharing and included interventions on the significance of the Dead Reckoning / Crossing the Med installation from academics, artists, faith communities, and community groups.