University of London Institute in Paris

9-11 rue de Constantine
75007 Paris
France

Seminar series
Being Human Festival

ULIP are delighted to announce this fascinating exhibition and presentation - Missing Persons - Lost and Found in Paris - organised by the Paris Centre of Migrant Writing and Expression as part of the annual Being Human Festival of the Humanities.

The Paris Centre for Migrant Writing and Expression, under the guidance of ULIP’s Director of Research, Dr Anna-Louise Milne, has been working with migrants and asylum seekers in Northern Paris for over five years.

As part of this year’s Being Human Festival of the Humanities, the Centre will be running a series of workshops with a group of asylum seekers and local secondary school pupils to explore the connections and contradictions found within the place names of Paris: their histories, modern resonances, and the diverse meanings that they generate for the migrants making their way to and through these areas.

These workshops will culminate in a public exhibition and presentation reflecting on the challenges and resources that can be deployed for those trying to find themselves in a radically strange and potentially hostile environment.

Join us for an evening of reflection on the results of these workshops and opportunity to view the photographs, signs, images and stories produced by their participants. The evening will be concluded with a drinks reception.

Description

Street names and transport stations are often the first words of a foreign language to find their place in the daily speech of recently arrived migrants. Sometimes these names are familiar and meaningful long prior to arrival. This is the case today for the Parisian districts known as La Chapelle and Stalingrad, key rallying points for people fleeing fear and deprivation all around the world, known for the camps where support may be found, or a compatriot, a missing brother – an anchor in a sea of the unknown.

Workshop One

A guided walk with notebooks and basic photographic means, starting with the coordinates that are essentially functional for displaced people arriving in Paris and opening up their unsuspected significance. This session will explore what is hidden or lost in the names of these districts: why are these places, to which people flood, named in this way, and what other names and lost histories are there to be unlocked in the surrounding streets?

Workshop Two

A reflective session, hosted at ULIP premises, producing alternative names or notices for the streets visited as part of the previous workshop. Using photocopies and stencils we will work towards actual signs for the street. This practical endeavour will offer a thoughtful means to engage with the likely discrepancies between what was sought and what was found in these places by the participants; between what they have lost and what they may perhaps be able to gain from the experience of these sites.

Workshop Three

This session will return to the street and think about where to position these alternative signs and to photograph them within these public spaces in such a way that we rename or double the coordinates of the city. Will these signs name in a mode of affirmation, or call out to individuals or more broadly to a community, expressing particular needs or general loss? And what languages will they use?

Being Human Festival