Hostile Environments: The Politics of Un-Belonging: Led by researchers from the Open University, this symposium invites activists, practitioners and academics to address the current hostile environment toward immigrants within and beyond the UK and Europe.
Speakers include: Gabi Kent (The Open University), Leila Sibai (SOAS), Members of the Migration and Asylum Justice Forum, Monish Bhatia (Birkbeck University), Sandhya Sharma (Safety 4 Sisters), and Rachel Humphris (IRIS, Birmingham University), Victoria Canning (The Open University), Umut Erel (The Open University), Abi Brunswick (Project 17), Nira Yuval Davis (Centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging, University of East London).
Migrant Artists Mutual Aid (UK), Cihan Arikan (RFSL, LGBTQ support, Sweden), Marina Vilhelmsson (Photographer, ‘Queering Refugee Resistance’, Sweden), John Speyer (Music in Detention).
Walking without Walls Lunch with Deveron Projects, linking London, Huntly/Scotland and Gaza.
This digitally-driven exchange project Walking Without Walls explores how we can collaborate artistically and socially despite restrictive political situations. Artists May Murad (Gaza) and Rachel Ashton (Huntly) shared their respective landscapes through painting, photographic image and video, which led to two ‘Slow Marathon’ walks in the places they come from.
Lunch will be prepared by the refugee chefs from Welcome Kitchen.
Migrating Proverbs Workshop with Reem Charif (UEL/Febrik) and Catalina Pollak (UCL) focusing on written and spoken language and the processes of cultural exchange and social integration between Syrian refugees and local communities in Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey.
Early-Engagement Conversation with Cultural Spring in collaboration with FODI (Friends of the Drop In for Asylum Seekers and Refugees, Sunderland). Screening of Marcia Chandra’s film Groundwork: Co-Producing with Asylum Seeker Women. Commissioned for Who Are We? this short film looks at the early-stage – often invisible – production work shaping participatory arts and engagement projects.
Presentation and conversation with Claudia Zeiske, Director Deveron Arts. Claudia will present a recent walking project she undertook ‘Home to Home’ walking through Scotland, England, Holland and Germany, the countries Claudia knows best. Her aim was to discover what this diverse continent has to offer…and what ‘home’ means in our current post-Brexit geopolitical situation.
Claudia will also talk about ‘The Walking Institute’ at Deveron Arts, which explores, researches and celebrates the human pace by bringing walking and other journeying activities together with arts and other cultural disciplines and people from all walks of life.
There are two 10 minute talks in Tate Modern Galleries today. One is by Alketa Xhafa Mripa, a member of the Who Are We? alumni who presented Refugees Welcome last year. Alketa is reflecting on the work Who Owns What by Barbara Kruger. The second person speaking and opening up about her own experiences is our Refugee Week Ambassador Jihyan Park, who was inspired by Living Cities, the work of Dayanita Singh.
Afghan Camera Box (Kamra-e-faoree) with Farhad Berahman and b-side Arts, Dorset. A photographic installation commissioned for b-side festival, drawing audiences and participants into gentle conversation around identity, memory, home; alongside thoughts and concerns about displacement, migration and people and place.
Art House Wakefield installation of an evolving ecosystem, with a participatory mural by printmaker, Mohammad Barrangi Fashtani; and the collaborative tailoring of studio holders Hamid Reza Yavari Shoer and Helen O’Sullivan; together with recent studio holders, Wakefield City of Sanctuary; and recent commission, ‘Living Room’, by the artist, Juan delGado.
Are We Data? is an immersive installation produced by AWED, a research team led by Liz McFall and Darren Umney at the Open University, and David Moats (Linkoping University) working collectively with Sapphire Goss and London based software programmer, AV systems designer and musician, Thomas Blackburn. ‘Are We Data?’ questions the relationship between place and place-less ‘big data’ to explore whether digital data can really reveal ‘who we are’.
A Stitch in Time… durational installation combining collective stitching, conversations and film. With artists, Sonia Tuttiett, and makers from East London Textile Arts, filmmaker, Marcia Chandra plus language teachers; and OU researchers Inma Álvarez and Carlos Montoro leading on the AHRC-funded Language Acts and Worldmaking.
Gresham’s Wooden Horse Part 2 a participatory workshop with artist, Isabel Lima, and Isis (Newcastle) focusing on the second stage of a place-based, participatory arts and housing project with residents from the Gresham neighbourhood in Middlesborough (originally commissioned by mima and supported by Counterpoints Arts).
Floor Plans (journeys from there to here) is a collaborative participatory installation focusing on floor plans of homes relating to personal migratory histories, the architecture of memory and the body as a site of memory by artist Natasha Davis, poet & researcher Siobhan Campbell, and researcher Sara de Jong (Open University).
A Guide to the Hostile Environment floor trail mapping the everyday reality of ‘hostile environment’ policies – narrated through the recent Liberty (Civil Liberties and Human Rights) publication.
Are We Data?: A Roundtable Discussion and Live Broadcast Experiment with the AWED collective (Sapphire Goss, Liz McFall, David Moats and Darren Umney); and Emma Bigg (Tate Digital) and Thomas Blackburn (Bigg and Blackburn tbc)
This event probes deeper into the preoccupations driving the Are We Data? installation. At stake are questions about how we can know, represent or ‘draw’ people and the methods we use to do so. By staging an encounter between a film representation of the Netherfield housing state and multiple big data visualisations we aim to provoke debate about the possibilities, purposes and limits of all forms of representation. Netherfield was designed for how people would live in the future and on the basis of assumptions, data and methods about who those people would be. The people who live there now have little in common with those imagined by the planners and architects. Sapphire Goss’ film explores these discordances by juxtaposing how the natural and made environments come together in unpredictable, unstable ways. The second screen presents live ‘dashboard’ data visualisations of who, where and what people are. The use of digital methods to analyse large data sets has aroused both dystopian and utopian visions of the future. Our installation tries to identify a pragmatic space between these visions by demonstrating how what you see always depends on where you are standing. Understanding the space between the sentiments and techniques of representation may be the key to using data to know and engage more diverse audiences.
The discussion will be live broadcast simultaneously to a remote audience using Periscope. This will enable us to gather data on the audience beyond the room and demonstrate how digital technologies reconfigure proximity, altering what is near and what is far, what is present and what is absent. Panel members will talk briefly about the different perspectives they bring to the question of ‘Are We Data?’ before inviting the audience to take part.
Communities of Solidarity: The Story of Pikpa Refugee Camp is a unique book co-created by a collective of photographers, activists and academics who came together as volunteers via Lesvos Solidarity at Pikpa Refugee Camp.
The brilliant photographs of Knut Bry, Yulie Tzirou and young people living in the camp offer an intimate portrayal of everyday life at Pikpa. This rare and beautiful book offers a compelling narrative that invites us to question the ways in which we think about and relate to refugees. It also puts forward a provocative argument about the power and practice of solidarity.
Join us for the launch of our book and to hear more about the extraordinary story of Pikpa refugee camp and the making of this book from those directly involved.