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Archives of migration remain often invisible. Hosting objects of memory, letters, diaries or photographs, such collections contain important knowledge of migrants’ histories and the narratives of individuals, families and larger communities about experiences of displacement, movement and arrival. They are resourceful materials with historical and aesthetic dimensions but often they remain unnoticed or unrecognized by a wider public. Many such private or artistic migratory archives are endangered by loss, misuse or destruction by human or non-human agents due to missing institutional infrastructures.

By bringing anthropologists, artists, photographers and historians together, this laboratory aims to provide a productive space to discuss and experiment along concrete case studies and to rethink methodological and theoretical approaches that allow an empirical engagement with such sources. What kind of social spaces and social relations do these archives narrate or create? What images of migrants and migration do they represent and how do they relate to or contradict public discourses about migration in different cultural contexts? How can anthropologists and historians collaborate with the producers and owners of these archives to not only document but also introduce the collections to publics in a way that promotes research and remains considerate of the owner’s narrative? With a particular interest in urban migration studies, we invite scholars to start a comparative discussion. Formats that individual participants choose for the presentation may include photographic or visual essays, blogs, social media groups or posters that encourage an engagement of all laboratory members. This workshop is expected to not only contribute in methodological and theoretical terms to current research but also to open a space for creative ideas on praxis and create networks between publics and resourceful archives of migration.  


Additional information

The workshop is the second of a series of 3 workshops organized by the project Contemporary Photography as a Cultural Practice by Diasporic Iranians in Europe. The project is funded by the Baden-Württemberg Foundation as part of the Elite-PostDoc Program and is hosted at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies. The workshop takes place in cooperation with Fiona Siegenthaler and emerges from our shared interests in the notion of the archive in context of migration. For the second workshop day we cooperate with the group MIGRATION HUB located at the DAI MAKERSPACE Heidelberg.

Then workshop particularly addresses junior/mid-term scholars and artists/photographers and people related to and/or interested in migration and migratory archives.

Please find the program here(PDF).