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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  2016  /  May 2016  /  Hospitality and Hostility in a Moving World

Hospitality and Hostility in a Moving World

Migration Research Unit convenes UCL conference

Hospitality and Hostility in a Moving World

There were more than 90 participants in a major conference on ‘Hospitality and Hostility in a Moving World’, held on 12 May at UCL’s Institute of Advanced Studies’ (UCLIAS). It was convened by the UCL Geography Migration Research Unit’s co-directors, Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Dr Claire Dwyer.

A keynote presentation by Michaël Neuman of Médecins Sans Frontiers, critically examined the challenges faced by humanitarian organisations as they have attempted to respond to the refugee crisis in Europe since 2015.

Over 20 presentations in four panel sessions by researchers, artists and humanitarian practitioners, then reflected on how displaced people from overlapping crises of protection have met a combination of hospitality and welcome, hostility and violence, across different stages of their journeys.

Who has been rendered (hyper)visible and invisible, audible and silenced, through various representations of these crises? How have both refugees and civil societies responded to different and, at times, overlapping processes of hospitality and hostility?

Presentations also explored how these different responses are related to aesthetics, ethics and politics - how ‘art’ has generated a space to express alternative forms of knowledge, or sites of affective response to the movement and immobility of peoples.

A final plenary session on Art in a Moving World was based on a conversation between the artist, Zineb Sedira and Tamar Garb (UCL IAS), and the meeting concluded with a series of reflections by the keynote speaker and conference conveners.

The Conference was part of a broader series of events coordinated in 2015-2016 by the interdisciplinary Refuge in a Moving World research network. This UCL-wide network, coordinated by Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, is an initiative of the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies in collaboration with the UCL Institute of Global Prosperity. The Conference was supported with funding from UCL’s Grand Challenges of Intercultural Interaction programme and the UCLIAS.

The conference programme (including paper abstracts and presenters’ biographies) is available to download here.

Podcasts of the day’s proceedings will soon be available to download online.


Michaël Neuman and Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh