By: Professor Umut Erel, @UErel
This paper was presented as part of the panel entitled Changing Cultures: Arts and culture as agends and means of change in migration socities (panel #166). Chaired by Jens Schneider, this third session of the panel aimed to analyse collaborative projects between research, arts and culture and their impact.
Migration is a key issue of contemporary political and social concern, yet public debate on the issue does not always link with rich research findings, instead reinforcing polarizations and oversimplifications. What gets lost in these discussions is that migration is a key aspect of making places (cities, institutions, belonging) and making people (identities, communities, political and social structures). Academic, Arts, Activist collaborations are particularly suitable to sidestep entrenched polarised discourses in order to allow for nuanced and complex reflections generated by research. My contribution reflected on collaborations between academics, artists and activists to intervene in these problematic public debates on migration. The presentation focused on how migration researchers can collaborate with others, including pracititioners and research participants in this. It took inspiration from the ethos and values of Participatory Action Research to ensure knowledge is co-produced in a dialogic manner between researchers, participants and practitioners. The paper then reflected on how researchers can choose to mobilise different spaces and formats to allow for complex engagements with a range of non-academic publics on issues of migration