Writing about the experience of the migrant worker in A Seventh Man, John Berger and his collaborator, the photographer Jean Mohr observed that
“the migrant is not so much on the margins of modern life, but absolutely central to it”
In his best known work, Ways of Seeing, Berger wrote “[t]he relation between what we see and what we know is never settled” and this insight is equally relevant to what we say and how we talk about “the migrant experience”. In a 1984 interview with Geoff Dyer, Berger spoke of “a gut solidarity with those without power, with the underprivileged” and it is in this spirit that we have decided to focus the inaugural University of York Migration Network conference on the theme of “Ways of Telling: Methods, narratives and solidarities in migration studies”.
Paper proposals are invited that deal with the theme of examining the migrant experience from the often neglected perspective of migrants and refugees themselves, while also drawing on the accounts of researchers, activists and practitioners, together with the work of artists and writers and others with an interest in migration and its representations.
Potential topics for papers might include (but are not restricted to) the following:
- Children and unaccompanied young asylum seekers
- the migrant “crisis” in Europe
- migration and health outcomes
- migration and education
- grass roots movements supporting forced migrants
- migration and “security”
- borders, risk and belonging
- migration, welfare and policy
- migration and development
- migration and humanitarianism
- migrant life writing, biography and autobiography
- representations of migration and exile in the arts and popular culture
The conference will feature key findings from the recently completed ESRC Urgency Call research project “Precarious Trajectories: Understanding the Human Cost of the Migrant Crisis in the Central Mediterranean” led by Dr Simon Parker and the ongoing Leverhulme Trust project “Methods on the Move: experiencing and imagining borders, risk and belonging” led by Professor Maggie O’Neill. The conference will also include a plenary on the “Arts and Migration” by Counterpoints Arts and findings from the ESRC /NCRM funded PASAR: Participatory Arts and Social Action in Research led by Dr Umut Erel.
We particularly welcome proposals for papers that discuss new and innovative methods in migration studies.
Abstracts of not more than 150 words should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Ways of Telling” in the subject line no later than Friday 21st April 2017. A small conference fee of £15 will apply to non-White Rose Network (York, Sheffield and Leeds universities) delegates to cover the cost of registration and refreshments.
Graduate students are also warmly encouraged to send paper proposals to the associated postgraduate conference (with whom we are collaborating): Traversing Boundaries: Interdisciplinary Social Research on Wednesday 25th May 2017 http://store.york.ac.uk/product-catalogue/sociology/postgraduate-conference-2017/traversing-boundaries-interdisciplinary-social-research
Conference registration for the full day, plus lunch and coffee