Representing Migration and Mobility in European Cultures
Dr Rachael Langford (email@example.com) School of European Studies.
Dr Liz Wren-Owens (firstname.lastname@example.org) School of European Studies.
This cross-disciplinary research project focuses on the interrelationship of different forms of visual, textual and/or performed representations of mobility and migration produced by, or with reference to, European cultures.
The project examines how movement between text and image creates ‘liminal spaces’ for a (re)consideration of ‘in-between’ identities and ideologies, and for an analysis of the contexts and conditions for representing and studying transcultural mobility in the global age. It investigates the relationships of complementarity, tension and disjuncture that emerge when different narratives of migration and mobility are juxtaposed or intersect.
The project engages with methodological issues in Humanities research, such as the obstacles to researching representations of migration and mobility by the historical, cultural, generic or aesthetic specificity of the available theoretical models. A key aim of the project is to extend disciplinary and theoretical boundaries and the critical discourses on which they rely. In this respect – and beyond the intrinsic value of investigating questions of geographical (and thus cultural and ideological) mobility – the figure of physical movement offers suggestive spatial metaphors and critical frames by which to extend understanding of the generic and inter-aesthetic mobility inherent in many narratives of travel.
The project will create conceptual bridges between researchers who, although working in cognate areas, tend to rely on distinctive but, as the project aims to show, complementary theoretical frameworks. A primary aim is also to foster an environment where the genuine synergies that exist between researchers in different Schools in the University can be cultivated and flourish to the benefit of the individual researchers and their disciplines.
Staff and postgraduate researchers from a range of Humanities Schools at Cardiff University are currently contributing to the project through their participation in the research workshops that are a primary activity in this first phase of this project. Key participants also include researchers and practitioners external to Cardiff, in particular research staff at the European Centre for Photography Research based at the School of Arts, Media and Design, University of Wales Newport.
Our aim is to create a forum for open intellectual debate, out of which larger-scale outputs and collaboration can develop naturally. Both our initial activities and proposed longer-term projects will also showcase Cardiff’s research within the wider community, notably through our links with non-HEI organisations such as Ffotogallery and the National Museum, Wales. In this respect, the project will, it is hoped, contribute to increasing public understanding of Humanities research at Cardiff and more widely.
Project Activities and Events
This initial project will centre on (April and June 2008) and an Autumn symposium event to identify further research strands and activities for the network of participants.
The two workshops will focus on discussion of 4-5 pre-circulated papers a practitioner presentation. Papers will be open and speculative, applying individual areas of research expertise to overarching questions (methodological, theoretical and ideological) that are germane to the research interests of the group as a whole.
The final structure of the symposium will be shaped by the research commonalities emerging from the workshops. It is envisaged that the event would involve a small number of invited external speakers alongside internal participants, preserving the emphasis on round-table discussion and open intellectual exchange. The event would disseminate work so far, raise the profile of this CHRI-funded initiative within the Humanities community outside Cardiff, and help frame the project’s research questions for 2009-10 and beyond.