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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  Research  /  Research Centres  /  Migration Research Unit  /  Research  /  Refuge in a Moving World  /  RiMW Activities: 2015-2016

RiMW Activities: 2015-2016

Refuge in a Moving World Activities in 2015-2016

This UCL-wide research network was launched in November 2015 with a Refuge in a Moving World Roundtable which drew together 4 leading academics from across UCL with wide-ranging expertise relating to conflict, crisis and (forced) migration in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, to explore questions relating to the wellbeing of individuals and communities affected by conflict and displacement; the implications of mass migration for the socio-economic dynamics of sending and receiving states and communities alike; and the politics and ethics underpinning local, national, regional and international responses to and representations of overlapping processes of (forced) migration in the contemporary world.

Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the research network, the Roundtable was followed in December 2015, by a high profile Refuge in a Moving World Public Conversation between the renowned authors Eva Hoffman and Jonny Steinbeck chaired by IAS Director, Tamar Garb; together, they reflected on issues including migration and narration, personal and political investments in the question of refuge, African and European stories of displacement and exile, the ethical and moral imperatives that the current refugee crisis has provoked and the role of writing in recounting and relaying personal tales and testimonies.

Between January and April 2016, the Refuge in a Moving World:  Interdisciplinary Conversations Seminar Series brought together a total of 21 UCL experts from across disciplines as wide-ranging as Global Health, Childhood Studies, Architecture, Anthropology, Politics, Early Modern History, Literature and Geography, to critically discuss the nature and implications of, and representations and responses to, conflict and displacement in and from different historical and geographical situations.

These Seminars were accompanied by a series of Discussion Workshops, which focused on close readings of Hannah Arendt’s We Refugees, and Julia Kristeva’s Foreign Body, and a Special Event led by IAS Visiting Research Fellow, Professor Evthiomios Papataxiarchis, who discussed the unfolding of the ongoing refugee crisis, and the politics of hospitality and solidarity with refugees in Skala Sykamnias in Greece.

Over 100 people attended the Hospitality and Hostility in a Moving World Conference in May 2016, which included 24 papers and presentations by academics, humanitarian practitioners and leading artists across four interdisciplinary panels on Journeys through Hospitality and Hostility; Negotiating Reception, Mediation and Rejection; Hospitality and Hostility in Global Spaces; and The Politics of Solidarity and Exclusion. The Conference started and ended with two dynamic Plenary Sessions, the first by Michaël Neumann of Medecins Sans Frontiers/Centre de réflexion sur l'action et les savoirs humanitaires, who offered a critical reflection on Medecins Sans Frontier’s experience of responding to the ‘migration crisis’ in Europe in 2015-2016. The Conference’s final plenary session entitled Art in a Moving World, interwove leading artist Zineb Sidera’s critical reflections on the aesthetics and politics of representing different forms of migration, mobility and conflict, with screenings of her feted artworks.

Podcasts of selected seminars and conference papers can be listened to here. Follow us on @RefugeMvingWorld.

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