Tag: visual

Methods on the Move: experiencing and imagining borders, risk, and belonging

The subjective realities of migrants are at the centre of Maggie O’Neill’s approach which is articulated through the practice of walking. As part of her Leverhulme Research Fellowship with a specific focus on borders, risk and belonging, the project aims to explore migrants’ journeys, mapping out their pathways to becoming long-term residents of the area. In this project, walking is a platform for sensing the surrounding environment and being in touch with personal emotions and memories. The performative act of walking in space and time is relational and plays a role in the definition of belonging to a place, which is particularly important in the definition of migrants’ identities. Walking is a useful methodology when studying borders, risk, and belonging, as it can involve physically crossing borders, going into areas perceived as ‘risky,’ or, literally walking on a border. The project makes use of participatory action research (PAR) and arts practice (ethno-mimesis) when investigating the sense of belonging negotiated by migrants. Arts practice can include performance and public displays such as maps, whilst ethno-mimesis focuses on imitating the representations of the reality of migrants. The intention of the research is to produce a web resource including maps from the walks, images and sound files.

Researcher: Maggie O’Neill (University of York)

Migrant Child Storytelling

Migrant Child Storytelling acknowledge that every child has a story to tell. Supported by the Rights and Opportunities Foundation, Migrant Child Storytelling gather and share stories submitted by migrant children from all around the world, whether in the form of pictures, photographs, video or text. It is a platform through which the child’s voice, too often ignored, can be heard, and the child’s vision of their world can be seen. The term ‘migrant’ is deliberately used in order to refer to all children who have been forced, or have chosen, to leave their home country for any reason, and who are trying to establish a life in another country. Anyone who is under the age of eighteen is welcome to submit material. If you are working with children under eighteen please encourage them to make use of this site. Guidelines for how to run a workshop with young people to gather materials is available here. The materials must be collected following UNICEF guidelines and with the consent of the child’s parents/caretakers if they are under 16.

 

Constructing multimodal narratives: Exploring life stories in East London and Calais refugee camp

In 2012 and 2016, Cigdem Esin and Corinne Squire, together with a number of colleagues, ran two interconnected projects in East London and Calais refugee camp using multimodal narrative methodology. The aim of these projects was to facilitate the creation of visual, written, verbal and process narratives of participants’ lives, to open up a space for storytellers to explore the interrelations between personal and cultural resources. Similar methods were used in both projects but the processes differentiated in response to the context and group of participants.

The first study was conducted in 2012 with a small group of young British Muslim women in a community school in East London. The study team ran weekly workshops over a few months in which the participants were asked to create visual images about any aspect of their lives. Participants were provided with a range of image making resources such as acrylic paint, coloured pencils, crayons and craft material. The study team facilitated the workshops by engaging in conversations with the group about various aspects of everyday life such as life at school/university, families and friends. The participants were then interviewed about their images, their participation in the workshops and their interaction with other workshop participants/study team. An article by Cigdem Esin analyzing some of the narratives from this study could be viewed here.

The second project was carried out in 2016 with the residents of Calais refugee camp as an impact project. The aim was to use multimodal narrative methodology in order to constitute a space for refugee storytellers to tell their individual and collective life stories with links to their past, to their membership in refugee communities and to broader socio-cultural contexts in which their stories were circulated for various purposes. The project involved visual storytelling workshops in which participants were asked to create visual stories about themselves, their journey or their life in the refugee camp. These were one-off workshops due to the material conditions of the camp. The project team was engaged in conversations with the participants and asked them to produce short narratives about their images where possible. Some of the images from one of the visual storytelling workshops in the camp can be viewed here.

Researchers: Cigdem Esin and Corinne Squire, University of East London, Centre for Narrative Research

Creating Hackney as Home: Five Reflections on a London Borough

Creating Hackney as Home (CHASH) used participatory video production to explore how young people experience a sense of home and belonging under conditions of rapid urban change; how they negotiate and manage these changes in order to maintain their sense of home; and to evaluate the effectiveness of visual research methods in portraying affective relationships within, and with, the city. Facilitated by cultural geographer, Dr Melissa Butcher, a team of five peer researchers from the neighbourhood spent a summer creating short films that captured their experience of living in the east London Borough of Hackney. From journeys through the city came reflections on the impact of gentrification, using fashion to demarcate belonging and being different, growing up and out of space, and managing everyday cultural diversity. Following the completion of filming, the videos were made publically available, via screenings, the website and social media, to invite a wider audience into dialogue on the issues raised. The research also collated ethnographic description of particular sites within the borough and incorporated the research team’s critical reflections recorded on flipcams throughout the project. Key findings included that while demolition of the built environment and existing social networks was evident, there was also an ambivalence expressed towards change. Crucially, young people were found not to be necessarily averse to change in itself but to those changes that they felt left them, and other residents, marginalised. Particular concerns centred on inequality, displacement and the speed of change. The transformation in the physical and socio-economic character of Hackney has led some young people to question whether they fit into the emerging urban landscape. Adapting to this context was for some at times seen as an opportunity but for others it was a more challenging process. Maintaining a sense of home did not necessarily require learning new ways of doing things, but instead required coming to terms with change emotionally.

Researcher: Melissa Butcher, Birkbeck, University of London

Migration, Moral Panics and Meanings: Examining Historical Representations of Immigrants and Their Post-Brexit Impacts in Three Welsh ‘Remain’ Regions

The Brexit vote engendered a sense of fractured nationhood in Wales. Wales voted to leave the European Union, however, the regions of Ceredigion, Cardiff and Gwynedd voted to remain. A key point of persuasion in the media and Brexit campaign was migration. This project explored representations of migration in Wales, both historically and in the current climate, in these three remain regions. There was an analysis of local print press media around migration to examine the positioning of migrants and the dominant competing discourses. Interviews with migrants explored how they felt they were positioned by wider Welsh society and how the temporal shift between pre- and post-Brexit have impacted on their everyday experiences. Interviews involved pre-tasks where participants worked with a pictorial timeline to reflect on these shifts and created a metaphor to represent their experiences. There was also a photo elicitation activity where images from recent media reports leading up to Brexit were introduced and explored. The findings from the study are presented in multi-modal forms, including an animated short film and two posters, to increase their accessibility and address issues of impact and engagement. You can see an animated film reflecting on the project here.

Researchers: Dawn Mannay, Cardiff University; Rhys Dafydd Jones, Aberystwyth University; Gillian Jein, Bangor University; Sioned Pearce, Cardiff University; Angharad Saunders, University of South Wales

Creation-research: New approaches to contemporary migration history in Germany

This Spring 2017 course at Bard College Berlin is a continuation of the Fall seminar In Search of a History: Migration in Germany from World War II to the Present, focusing on students’ individual projects that seek to give visual, verbal, spatial, musical, and general aesthetic and sensory expression to previously collected knowledge of migration history and experience. The projects need not have the ambition of entering the realm or category of “art”: we consider them “notations,” recording our perceptions and thoughts in the modes of articulation that suit us best. First, we will review the historical data, tools, and concepts of migration history that allow us to achieve an analytical distance and conceptualize as well as historicize our material. Subsequently, we will work on a collective visualization project. The major part of the course is dedicated to developing and completing the individual projects and findings solutions for exhibiting them. We will cooperate with a number of renowned artists who will add creative, formal, and practical input and advice to our historical and linguistic framework. The project will be exhibited as part of an international conference on migration history. One panel has been reserved for us to present the projects and to reflect on the relations between migration, research, education, and creativity that we will have uncovered through our work.

Professor: Marion Detjen

Immigrant Mothers As Agents of Change

In the 2013-2017 research project Immigrant Mothers As Agents of Change conducted within the TRANSFORmIG framework at Humboldt University Berlin, I inquired into everyday mothering practices performed in urban contexts and the norms that influence said practices. I investigated how immigrant women do mothering locally and transnationally and how they navigate various nationalized, classed, and gendered ideologies of motherhood. My research in Berlin, Munich, London, and Birmingham centered on everyday encounters, observations, and displays of mothering performed by women who recently moved to these cities from Poland. Aside from semi-structured and narrative interviews and participant observation, I also worked with creative methods and visualizations. In 2015 and 2016, I met individually with Polish mothers of young children living in Birmingham and Munich, respectively. We met in community centers, playgroups, and in private homes. Each conversation started with the
question “How is it for you to be a mother in Birmingham/Munich?” to which each woman responded visually. This creative exercise, conducted with colorful felt-tip pens on white sheets of paper, has yielded most interesting narrations on migration, childrearing, and the urban everyday. You can see the drawings accompanied by excerpts from image elicitation interviews here.

Researcher: Agata Lisiak, Bard College Berlin