Speculative Borders: China Miéville’s The City & the City

Who is it that we choose to see and who is‘unseen’? How can we think and respond differently to the world around us?  In this piece Dom Davies adds to his series of blogs on Refugee Hosts exploring our emotional, political, cultural and social responses to the architecture and geography of border regimes, and to those…

Mobility, Hope and the ‘Appropriation’ of Space: Reflections from a PhotoVoice Project

Typically, photographs of and about displaced peoples focus on individual suffering victims, acts of individualised resilience, or tropes that resonate with the wider genre of humanitarian narratives. As a result, the Refugee Hosts project has adopted what Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh has termed a "Spaces and Places, Not Faces" approach to refugee-photography. As Michelle Lokot explores in…

Psychogeography, Safe Spaces, and LGBTQ Immigrant Experience: Reflections from the “At Home in The Village?” project

How can representations of local communities as particularly ‘hospitable’ and ‘welcoming’ spaces in fact obscure complex realities of exclusion? In this contribution to our Representations of Displacement series, Siobhán McGuirk explores the ways in which NGO and media reports have (mis)represented sexual minority refugees’ arrival in an "inclusive" community in the USA characterised by rainbow flag…

Giving Refugees a Voice? Looking Beyond ‘Refugee Stories’ 

How does UNHCR narrate refugee stories through its official media? In this piece, Leonie Harsch adopts a critical approach, and builds on a number of important arguments put forward by researchers, to argue that the telling of 'refugee stories' by humanitarian organisations can sometimes result in exclusionary outcomes - this is especially the case when individual…

Dehumanizing Refugees: Between Demonization and Idealization

Reflecting on her voluntary/volunteering work with refugees in Greece, in this piece Sarah El Sheikh highlights how people affected by displacement respond to and resist different narratives and policies developed about (and against) refugees. Echoing other contributions to our Representations of Displacement Series [ie. see here and here], Sarah argues that, in response to narratives that demonise…

Protestimony

As part of her research into how humanitarianism has been changed by Calais, Hari Reed and collaborators, under the umbrella of the IMAGINE charity, have curated an exhibition called Protestimony, which was first shown at the Edinburgh Festival in August 2017. Here she showcases some of the images, questions and dilemmas of the show. Protestimony…

The Virtual Reality of the Refugee Experience

Representations of the 'refugee crisis' have ranged from the spectacular to the devastating. In an attempt to engage with this spectacle, some organisations have developed virtual reality 'experiences' that aim to encourage audiences to 'walk in the shoes' of displaced people: to feel compassion for their plight, and to gain an understanding of their everyday…

Hard Infrastructures, Diseased Bodies

In this piece, Dominic Davies (University of Oxford) explores the architecture of the 'global border regime' as a political and en emotional response to representations of migrants and refugees as an 'invasion'. Through an analysis of detention architecture, including through depictions of detention centres by artists and in graphic novels, Davies suggests that visual strategies can highlight…

Paese (Country)

How can poetry, creative writing and translation unearth and represent experiences of displacement?  In this poem - the first of two pieces by Giulia Balestra of REFUNITE which will feature on Refugee Hosts' Representations of Displacement series - Giulia offers a reflection on belonging and positionality, with an English translation sitting alongside the original Italian. Through reflecting…

‘Refugees. Present/Absent.’ Escaping the traps of refugee (mis)representations

In this piece, Dominika Blachnicka-Ciacek explores the problematics of photographic representations of singular suffering refugees and their impact on political discourse in Poland. In a challenge to this, Dominika reflects on her own approach to representations, reflected in her "Refugees. Present/Absent" exhibition, which sought to focus on the materiality of everyday experiences and the refugee journey as a…