Representing Mobility and Migration in European Cultures
Representing Mobility and Migration in European Cultures (RMMEC) investigates visual and textual representations of mobility and migration, as well as their interrelationships, within European cultures and their diasporas, aiming to create a truly interdisciplinary forum for conceptual and theoretical debate. Recognizing the duality of meaning that lies within the notion of ‘representation’, it engages with the perspectives of academics and practitioners working in the fields of history, sociology, cultural geography, visual culture, textual criticism, politics, journalism, post-colonialism, and mobility studies.
Investigation into questions of migration and mobility has by definition been cross-disciplinary in its scope, and this project has provided a springboard from which to open dialogue between cultural practitioners and academic research, exploring the representation of migration and mobility from inside and outside migrant communities, and the role of insider and outsider cultures in the identitarian dynamics of migrant cultures. The project actively involves partners outside Cardiff University in HEIs and non HEIs, and a focus on the representation of migration and mobility in national and international public infrastructures such as museums, archives and galleries.
RMMEC explores the centrality of notions of travel, nomadism, and home/belonging to European visual and written cultures, seeing these as linked and simultaneous cultural traffic and transactions rather than as fixed tropes. It explores the relationships of complementarity, tension and disjuncture that emerge when visual and textual narratives of migration and mobility are juxtaposed or intersect, interrogating the contexts and conditions for representing and studying transcultural mobility in the global age. In this, it encompasses a range of social, cultural, professional and political contexts which engage with the ideological dynamics of travel between cultures and with the related debates on multiculturalism, integration, exile, diaspora and alterity.
A key aim of the project is to extend disciplinary and theoretical boundaries and the critical discourses on which they rely. It is thus engaged with methodological questions in Humanities and Social Sciences research, such as the obstacles to investigating textual and visual representations of migration and mobility by the historical, cultural, generic or aesthetic specificity of the available theoretical models. Here, the figure of physical movement offers suggestive spatial metaphors and critical frames by which to extend understanding of the generic, inter-aesthetic mobility inherent in many narratives of travel and transcultural movement.
News & Events
From January 2009 to December 2010, we are delighted to have Professor Mieke Bal as Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow for the network. Mieke Bal, a cultural theorist and critic, is Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences Professor (KNAW). She is based at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), University of Amsterdam. Her areas of interest range from biblical and classical antiquity to 17th century and contemporary art and modern literature, feminism and migratory culture. Her many books include Reading Rembrandt (1991), The Mottled Screen: Reading Proust Visually (1997), Travelling Concepts in the Humanities (2002) and Narratology (3rd edition forthcoming in February 2009). Mieke Bal is also a video-artist; her experimental documentaries on migration include A Thousand and One Days, Colony and the installation Nothing is Missing (www.miekebal.org).
Selected RMMEC activities
- Re-Imagined Communities: Benedict Anderson in the Twenty-First Century,symposium (May 2012)
- Within and Without: Representing Diasporas in Europe (May 2011)
- A Foot in Both Countries: Anita Arcari's Wales and Italy(May 2011)
- Colloquium on ‘Travel Literature and Paratexts’ (Autumn 2010)
- Workshop on ‘Migration and Identification’ with Mieke Bal (Spring 2010)
- Workshop on ‘Cultural Translation’ with Mieke Bal (December 2009)
- Development of an online portal on textual and photographic representations of migration (2009)
- Special issue of Migration and Identities (Liverpool University Press) on ‘Migrating Identities in European Textual and Visual Culture’ (in progress)
- ‘Affect as Medium’ lecture by Professor Mieke Bal (January 2009)
- Workshops on ‘Engaging with the Contact Zone’ (April and June 2008)
- Cultural Translation conference - call for papers
- Innovative, interdisciplinary seminar series
We warmly welcome the participation of interested researchers and practitioners, whether HEI staff or postgraduates, or cultural professionals and curators.