CFP: Refugees in Literature, Film, Art, and Media: Perspectives on the Past and Present

Lida Amiri's picture
Call for Papers
May 18, 2018
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Literature, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Social Work, Modern European History / Studies

Submission Deadline: 

Please send a proposal of no more than 300 words together with a brief biographical sketch of no more than 150 words to by March 18th 2018. This event will be held at the Liverpool Guild of Students, University of Liverpool, with support from the STAR society as part of the 2018 Writing on the Wall festival ‘Crossing Borders’ and is sponsored by the AHRC ‘Translating Cultures’. 


This workshop focuses on the profound and challenging issues raised by the contemporary global movement of refugees.

Refugee studies can benefit from an interdisciplinary perspective and in particular from a Humanities focus on the current political and social implications of refugees settling mainly in Europe. This conference aims to highlight the impact of different forms of cultural production and reception that have emerged within recent years. In literature, film and art, the cultural significance of creative production lies in addressing discrimination, perilous life conditions, and the fear of new beginnings.

We welcome researchers at any career stage from any discipline, as well as writers, artists and activists, to participate in a one-day workshop that aims to open up new ways of thinking about refugees and telling the many important, yet untold stories of migration. We also encourage papers that demonstrate new conceptual tools to comprehend refugees’ experience and embrace the heterogeneity of ethnicity and religious beliefs in order to achieve a more nuanced discourse in the media. 

The keynote talk will be delivered by, author and cineaste, Atiq Rahimi

Papers may deal with, but are not limited to: 

  •  Refugee routes and trauma – How is the, at times, dangerous journey from war-torn societies to a country perceived as safe depicted, and to what extent do such representations introduce a new discourse in comparison to refugee movements in the 20th century? Which themes are used to communicate the psychological burden that is collectively shared? How can art serve as a successful form of trauma therapy?
  • International refugee “crisis”? – Does the media follow a certain refugee narrative in the UK? Does a common narrative across Europe exist? How can the study of cultural production help overcome the binary labels of refugees depicted as either ‘victims’ or ‘criminals’?
  • Agency and authenticity in literature – What are the implications for the refugee community, when narratives are co-authored? How can literature improve the relationship between host societies and refugees?
  • Translating and interpreting stories of migration – Can a traumatic memory be translated into a(ny) form of art? How are these stories understood in various translations? Does a reception study of digital or printed media reveal differences across different European cultures?
  •  Cultural production and memory – Do diasporic communities embrace cultural production by refugees and the attention they attract? Is there a successful engagement with the creation of a possibly new collective memory?