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‚Border Crossings: Migration Arts and Arts of Migration’

January 14–16, 2016

Heidelberg Center for Transcultural Studies
Vossstrasse 6, Room 212, 69115 Heidelberg

Cathrine Bublatzky and Prof. Dr. Christiane Brosius organize the workshop ‚Border Crossings: Migration Arts and Arts of Migration’. It will take place at the Heidelberg Center for Transcultural Studies (HCTS) on January 14 – 16, 2016, with the support of the Cluster project ‘Net1 Arts and the Transcultural

The workshop presents the 5th meeting of the interdisciplinary working group ‘Art production and art theory in context of global migration’ after its formation in autumn 2013. The group is affiliated to and supported by the Ulmer Association for Art- and Cultural Sciences and was initiated by the art historians Prof. Dr. Birgit Mersmann (Cologne University) and Prof. Dr. Burcu Dogramaci (LMU, Munich).

Kindly take note that the workshop is only open to group members and invited guests.


The workshop encourages a critical engagement with multiple forms of migration and the artistic practices these movements create, or even enforce. While the meaning of the phrase ‘migration’ changes in relation to the historical, geographical and social circumstances, various other phrases need to be taken into account in order to verify particular movements and existential experiences of those people who are affected by times of crises and insecurity. Lines between exodus, expulsion, exile, or labor migration need to be carefully drawn when research approaches any forms of artistic responses to human movement activities. Artists and their aesthetic ways to engage with times of crisis such as war, natural catastrophes, social or economic upheaval, and political instabilities play thereby various roles as their visual practices might help to express, document, or expose individual and collective experiences of human tragedy, resettlement, and trauma. Because the relation of art practices and contexts matter for investigating ‘migration’, this workshop wishes to foster an interdisciplinary discussion about specific ‘transitory’ spaces (e.g. in art institutions, studios or even border zones) and its agents.

In relation to the subject-related topic of social practices of border crossing and the role of artists and art within the larger context of migration studies, this workshop will critically address the methodological dimension in those studies. Applied to individual research topics, we want to reflect on the analytical usage and qualities of concepts such as ‘transculturality’, ‘transnationality’, ‘translocality’, ‘transaesthetics’ or ‘critical transregionality’ as they seem to facilitate further analytical fine-tuning. Even though each of them takes a different hermeneutic and methodological starting point with respect to the framing of ‘culture', ‘locality' or ‘aesthetics’, they align in considering ‘migration’ and ‘border crossing’ as significant emblem in the field of art and cultural studies. 


Thursday: January 14, 2016

4 pm – 5 pm               Prinzhornsammlung Dubuffets Liste (for early arriving guests, meeting at the main entrance, Voßstraße 2, 69115 Heidelberg)

6:00 pm                      ‘Coming together’ Dinner at Pizzeria Osteria Zafferano

Poststraße 34 69115 Heidelberg


Friday: January 15, 2016

09:00 – 9:30 am         Welcome by Christiane Brosius and Cathrine Bublatzky

09:30 – 10:45 am       Monica Juneja

A way to stay – migration and the dilemma of language.

10:45 – 11:15 am       Coffee & Tea

11:15 – 11:55 am       Birgit Mersmann (Cologne University)

Migratory Aesthetics in Visual Translation. Practices of Displacement in Documentary Photography pf Migration

11:55 - 12:35 pm        Franziska Koch (Heidelberg University)

Exploring the theoretical potential of “transnationality” and “translocality” in a case study on Noh Suntag’s photographic mediation of Korean border issues

12:35 – 1:45 pm         Lunch (HCTS)

1:45 – 2:25                 Kerstin Meincke (Duisburg-Essen University)

Weltkunstgeschichte, postcolonial

2:25 – 3:05                 Danijel Cubelic (Heidelberg University)

Contested Cartographies: Sharjah Biennial and the Politics of Artistic Knowledge Production in the UAE

3:05 – 3:30 pm           Coffee & Tea

3:30 – 5:30 pm           Internal meeting

6:00 – 8:00 pm           Heidelberger Kunstverein ‘Es war einmal ein Land…’

Hauptstraße 97, 69117 Heidelberg

8:00 pm                      Dinner at Café und Weinstube Burkardt

Untere Strasse 27, 69117 Heidelberg


Saturday: January 16, 2016

09:30 am                    Travel to Karlsruhe, meeting at Heidelberg main train station

11:00 am -                  DIE GLOBALE, ZKM

(1 hr guided tour; it will be in German with a focus on Global Games and Armin Linke; afterwards there will be the possibility of having lunch in the museum restaurant as well as an extended visit to the entire exhibition DIE GLOBALE)