Critically exploring the ways in which displacement is represented is crucial. In this piece Refugee Hosts PI Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh explains why, and outlines our project’s provocation of a ‘Spaces and Places, Not Faces’ approach when researching, recording, photographing and documenting displacement affected communities.
How can audiences engage with displacement? Virtual reality ‘encounters’ are one option, allowing audiences to ‘walk in the shoes’ of refugees, but at the expense of substance, or any meaningful consequence, argues Aikaterini Antonopoulou.
This soundscape of Athens, Greece, offers an evocative and immersive insight into sounds of everyday life in the city, as experienced by refugees and hosts. Soundscape and introduction by Tom Western and his team of collaborators.
The ‘global border regime’ is sustained by structures of violence that are in turn mirrored by the architectural structures that detain refugees and asylum seekers. In this piece, Dom Davies analyses these structures through the work of graphic novelists and artists.
Refugees are often cast as suffering victims, or as masses to be feared. By contrast, more humane depictions are possible, argues Dominika Blachnicka-Ciacek, if the focus shifts from individuals/masses, and toward the ‘materiality’ of displacement.
These poems, by Refugee Hosts Writer in Residence Yousif M. Qasmiyeh, consider the self-representation of refugees, of language, dialect and of encountering the Other. You can read and hear more of Yousif’s poetry in our Creative Archive.
The telling of ‘refugee stories’ by humanitarian organisations can sometimes result in exclusionary outcomes. Instead, by focusing on ‘everyday encounters’, argues Leonie Harsch, can the narrative around displacement begin to improve.
NGO and UN representations of refugee camps would suggest displaced people live in a state of eternal daylight. By contrast, Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh captures the diverse reality of living in a camp at night.
Depicting certain communities as intrinsically more ‘welcoming’ and ‘tolerant’ often obscures diverse of exclusion, argues Siobhán McGuirk. In the case of LGBTQ host communities in the USA, many immigrants and refugees feel unwelcome, despite assuming the community was a ‘safe space’ for them.
This poem, by Refugee Hosts Writer in Residence Yousif M. Qasmiyeh, explores both how a refugee camp comes into representation, and how that representation is shaped by memory, language, resistance and the everyday lives of the displaced.
All photos (c) the authors and/or Refugee Hosts. Not for re-production.
To read other contributions to our Representations of Displacement series, click here.