Migration, Asylum and Detention in Lampedusa: Discussing Research, Policies and Narratives

 A Symposium sponsored by The University of Manchester & Artsmethods 04 July 2016, Ellen Wilkinson (Conference Room, C.1.18) 10.30-17.30 – Attendance FREE

This symposium has been designed as a discussion-led event which will engage both academia, the general public and refugee participants in a conversation about the disquieting and extremely pressing issues of detention, migration and asylum in the context of Lampedusa, recently identified as a HOTSPOT by the European Commission (See EU Hotspot Approach). The aim is to discuss and investigate the current EU and local policies governing the illegal detention of hundreds of asylum seekers who managed to reach the coast of Lampedusa in southern Italy during the past few months. Planned as a “bottom-up” event aiming to enable refugees into a position of legitimacy, the occasion will provide ample space for refugees to voice their stories about both the crossing and the inhuman conditions of detention in Lampedusa. Their written and oral narratives will function as primary informant source to catalyse conversation.

This full-day event will also gather UK and international scholars from Postcolonial, International, Law and Development Studies, Anthropology and Visual Studies discussing their ongoing research projects in roundtable structures, and will liaise with Lampedusa-based NGOs, activist and charity organizations, a film-director and a playwright who have worked on the field or in collaboration with refugees.

Confirmed speakers are:

  • Dr Vicki Squire (Politics and International Studies – University of Warwick)
  • Dr David Farrier (School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures – University of Edinburgh)
  • Dr Paolo Cuttitta (Faculty of Law – University of Amsterdam)
  • Dr Mariangela Palladino (School of Humanities – Keele University)
  • Dr Federica Mazzara (Modern Languages and Cultures – University of Westminster)

The full programme will be geared around promoting intervention through discussion rather than lecture-led conversation. In order to provide plenty of opportunities for engaging in discussion, a couple of relevant policies and an audio-broadcast will be circulated to attendees two weeks before the event.

The day will include a screening and follow-up discussion of “On the Bride’s Side” (“Io Sto con la Sposa” – 2014), a multi-awarded documentary by film-director and journalist Gabriele del Grande, who recently filmed the journey of five Syrian asylum seekers from Italy to Sweden.

The symposium will host a Q&A session with Gabriele del Grande, whose recent documentary forces us to think about the dire and direct consequences resulting from ineffective governmental politics and policies on migration.

The longer-term aim of this event is the establishing of a collaborative and cross-institutional research network (which would include a Research Blog on shared refugee experiences) on postcolonial asylum, migration and detention politics in the context of Lampedusa, reaching out to current theory and practice re-negotiating the core terms of migration policies and legislation as well as cultural representation. Some of this project’s key concerns intersect with current postcolonial debates about migration, language, diversity and culture and aim at developing new methodologies for researching diversity through its vital and planned interaction with communities, practitioners and policymakers.

This event is free to all and postgraduates are particularly welcomed to join, as they will be offered the context in which to consider how their research contributes to non-academic discourses and practices on questions of cross-cultural impact.

For further queries about this event please contact the organiser, Dr Letizia Alterno at letizia.alterno@manchester.ac.uk.

Note: Registration for the event through EVENTBRITE  has now closed.

READ THE SYMPOSIUM REPORT HERE.