Saturday, March 29, 2008

UCL Research Day

Moving Borders: The Aesthetics of Migration
A Postgraduate Research Day at UCL
Monday, 31 March 2008, 9.45am-4pm

I should probably say something about the idea behind this event, that goes back to many months ago, when I started my Post-doctoral fellowship here at UCL and started noticing how many people, PhD students in particular, were actually interested and involved in research on migration. I decided then it would be interesting to bring together some of them, those at least I had the chance to get in touch with, for a work-shop, a research day where we could have the opportunity to share our researches and interests in migration and related issues. My priority was to involve people from different perspectives and disciplines, who were especially interested in the aesthetic dimension of migration, that is the cultural effect that the social phenomenon of migration can bring into a “host” culture. The idea of talking about an aesthetics of migration comes from the recent notion of “migratory aesthetics”, coined by the cultural theorist Mieke Bal, which is also the title of a large international project that brings together a group of British ad Dutch scholars, and that has already produced meetings, exhibitions and a collection of essays just published. The concept of “migratory aesthetics” refers, in Bal’s words, to “the current cultural and aesthetic moment in view of the merging of cultures”, in other words to the cultural inspiration that migration can produce. All this made me think about the possibility of bringing together interesting scholars who in very different ways are working on projects aimed at “moving” the borders of cultural and social constraints. The papers to be presented here will in fact consider a wide range of cultural practices, such as literature, film, performance and, of course, a range of spaces in which migration has produced cultural “clashes”, such as cities, museums, squares, bars, clubs and virtual spaces, such as the Internet.

For further information see UCL Mellon Programme Seminars Series website.