The Paris Centre for Migrant Writing and Expression has been working with academics, students, asylum seekers and refugees in Paris to investigate varied questions of mobility and displacement, translation, multilingualism, and cultural transfer for over five years.
Collaborating with different academic and cultural institutions in both Paris and London, and involving current undergraduates from several of Paris’ anglophone universities in the work, the centre’s research activities take many different forms. Alongside running regular ‘translation laboratories’ helping migrants to articulate their life stories with a wide variety of linguistic and literary resources, the centre has also been involved in projects looking at multilingualism in local schools, designing an exhibition of extracts of classic literary texts translated by refugees into a range of media, and in holding a number of conferences on subjects from ‘transnational writing’ in Paris to ideologies of home amidst displacement.
The notion of ‘migrant writing’ extends from expressions produced by persons in positions of transcience to the shifting linguistic forms that characterise modern day translation practice. The focus of the Centre’s research this notion is an integral part of the interests of many ULIP faculty, as well as engaging with the most interesting recent developments in Modern Language Studies.
Find out more about our research questions.
Read more about the centre’s work and activities, as well as reflections from our researchers, in our regular blog posts.
- Project Phakama
- Calais is in Paris
- What is in a Name?
- Afternoon Tea Done Differently
- Wonderful Normal Life
From 2017, the Paris Centre for Migrant Writing Expression will be embarking on a new project - Home for Refugee Children. Partnering with colleagues at Queen Mary University of London, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, and the Geffrye Museum of the Home, to look at the different meanings of ‘home’ for child refugees (whether that be the materialities of homes lost and the practicalities of being displaced, homes in refugee camps, or temporary and institutional homes). Since 2008, nearly 200,000 unaccompanied minors have applied for asylum in Europe, including 96,000 in 2015 alone (Save the Children, 2016), meaning that ULIP’s position on the continent will offer valuable insight for this collaborative project. Read more about our launch conference, Calais is in Paris.
These past two years have seen the Centre draw from its regular ‘translation laboratories’ to run two different public events in the Being Human Festival. The first, entitled Here I am, There I go, focused particularly on representations of the Channel crossing as it has been envisaged and evoked through the ages and what those evocations might offer people trying today to flee to England. The second, Missing Persons, Lost and Found in Paris took a more city-focus, developing a topographical approach to forced displacement and the situation of those waiting for a place to live having fled their home countries. Both are examples of the outreach practice being developed at ULIP where the objectives of shared construction of tools for understanding and living enable ULIP students to gain direct experience of the diversity of peoples and languages in Paris while also enabling some of those people not otherwise able to access the university to benefit from exchange and discussion with us.
The Centre also contributes to the organisation of our regular seminar series and one-off study days convened by our faculty and colleagues. Recent such events include:
- Transdiasporic Literature: Vietnam and Beyond with Dr Alex Kurmann (Macquarie University)
- States of Emergency with Leopold Lambert of The Funambulist
- Challenging EU Migration Policies in the Mediterranean with Dr Sarah Wolff (QMUL)
- No Borders with Philippe Bonditte (ESPOL, Lille), Engin Isin (ULIP and QMUL), and Jef Huysmans (QMUL)
- Mobility, Immobility and Membership with Anne McNiven (The New School)
Discover the full list of upcoming events at ULIP.
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