Arts and Refugees: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Vol. 2)

A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2023) | Viewed by 18808

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Director of Centre d’Etudes de l'Ethnicité et des Migrations (CEDEM), Faculty of Social Sciences, Liège University (Belgium), Bâtiment 31 boîte 24 Quartier Agora - Place des orateurs, 3, Sart-Tilman, 4000 Liège, Belgium
Interests: immigrants; ethnic minorities; social mobilization; political participation; arts; music; multiculturalism
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Centre d’Etudes de l'Ethnicité et des Migrations (CEDEM), Faculty of Social Sciences, Liège University, Liege, Belgium
Interests: food and migration; cultural and artistic practices of migrants; gender issues; discrimination; policies and practices of integration of newcomers

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Published in 2019, the first volume of the Special Issue “Arts and Refugees: Multidisciplinary Perspectives” gathered a set of articles exploring the role of arts performed by refugees settled in urban European contexts. More particularly, the articles studied the ways in which artistic practices favour the multidimensional integration process of refugees in the contexts where they live, and how they inform and support solidarity movements and claims processes. The Special Issue adopted a broad conception of refugees—including forced migrants with or without legal status, coming from different countries of origin, having gone through diverse migratory trajectories and life experiences. All shared the performance of arts and gave it specific meanings in their new living contexts. Similarly, the notion of art was understood in a broad sense, including diverse cultural and artistic practices and domains.

The aim of this second volume is twofold: on the one hand, the objective is to deepen some specific crucial questions related with the artistic and cultural performances of refugees; on the other hand, it endeavours to expand the geographical scope of our analysis. This Special Issue will cover the following topics and research questions:

  • Arts and racism/anti-racism. Scholarly literature as well as varied experiences from the field point at racial inequalities in the cultural sectors, functioning in diverse ways and affecting the artistic representation of and by racialized individuals. However, arts and cultural practices may also become a space of resistance to inequalities, challenging the system in place. With a specific focus on refugees, we intend to study the following issues: how do racial inequalities operate in the arts domain? To what extent and in what ways are refugee art practices effective means of combating racism in the arts and beyond? Which strategies are developed by refugees through arts to counter processes of essentialisation and stereotyped representations of migrants and, more generally, how do they cope with these?
  • Challenging cultural hegemonies. Cultural hegemonies are intended as a set of situated and standardised aesthetic norms and values structuring the production and consumption of arts, both resulting from and revealing power imbalances. Norms and values associated with minorities are often excluded from the cultural hegemonies operating in given contexts, leading to structural barriers that prevent their meaningful participation in artistic and cultural life. In this framework, we ask whether and how refugees’ arts practices challenge the cultural hegemonies operating in the countries where they live, i.e., proposing alternative aesthetic norms and values, or questioning those in place? What are the results of the implemented actions?
  • Cultural policies and refugees. In many countries, culture is an object of state—or other government levels—policies targeting different aspects of the cultural life of its population, as well as different rules concerning the production of culture. These policies vary depending on the context, and on the priority given to culture in each society. Specific policies may address the participation of minorities in the cultural sector—both as consumers and producers of culture. Do these policies effectively encourage the participation of refugees? Do they respond to the needs and difficulties they face within the cultural sector and beyond? Do they trigger processes of inclusion of refugees or maintain processes of exclusion? How do refugees interact with the cultural policies that target them—or cultural policies more in general?
  • Gender and intersectionality. The gender dynamics involved in refugees’ experiences with the arts are of different types, including distinct ways of participation depending on one’s gender, as well as different meanings and outcomes associated with these experiences. The intersectional lens allows the study of gender dynamics, as well as the issue of racism, to be expanded upon. In relation to arts and refugees issues, we want to draw attention to the gender and intersectional dynamics that operate in the cultural field, focusing on how they are manifested, experienced, and addressed by the social actors. Moreover, we intend to explore the extent to which a gender and intersectional approach to arts and refugees issues can bring about broader methodological changes to research in this field, as well as new policy challenges.

Our objective is to gather papers that present research conducted in different geographical contexts, to develop a global approach freed from methodological nationalism, as well as to focus on parts of the world where refugees’ artistic practices are less studied than in the European context.

What remains unchanged with regard to our first volume is the broad conception of both the categories of refugees and of arts. Moreover, interdisciplinarity as well as the study of empirical material gathered through mixed and innovative research methodologies will be appreciated, as well as the consideration of ethics and methodological issues concerning research—in particular with vulnerable populations.

Dr. Marco Martiniello
Dr. Elsa Mescoli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • arts
  • refugees
  • racism
  • cultural hegemonies
  • cultural policies
  • gender
  • intersectionality

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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6 pages, 187 KiB  
Editorial
Arts and Refugees: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Vol. 2)
by Marco Martiniello and Elsa Mescoli
Arts 2024, 13(1), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13010040 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1367
Abstract
Published in 2019, the Special Issue entitled “Arts and Refugees: Multidisciplinary Perspectives” gathered together a set of articles exploring the role of art created and performed by refugees settled in urban European contexts [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arts and Refugees: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Vol. 2))

Research

Jump to: Editorial

13 pages, 596 KiB  
Article
Crafting Recognition: Understanding Gendered and Ethnicised Experiences in an Arts-Based Integration Project
by Stella Grace Conard and Elena Horton
Arts 2023, 12(6), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts12060227 - 30 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1518
Abstract
In Denmark, heightened public interest surrounding migration politics has become embodied in the arts, leading to the development of migration-related arts projects. In this study we explore the experiences of women taking part in an arts-based integration project designed for migrant and Danish [...] Read more.
In Denmark, heightened public interest surrounding migration politics has become embodied in the arts, leading to the development of migration-related arts projects. In this study we explore the experiences of women taking part in an arts-based integration project designed for migrant and Danish women to knit, sew, and crochet in female company, with a view to professionalise their handicrafts. Our findings, which are grounded in ethnographic fieldwork as well as interviews with members of the group, demonstrate how handicraft acts as a prism through which categories such as gender, class, and ethnicity are negotiated within the project. We found that group members’ national and cultural backgrounds shaped their different expectations and experiences in the project. The roles they occupied and their self-perception within the group were also shaped by other factors, such as their family status, their state of employment, and whether handicraft was more of a ‘hobby’ or a source of income. The study makes a case for appreciating the importance of social recognition. Understanding how these women perceived their own and each other’s work becomes a magnifier of the socio-political context in which the integration project is situated. Artistic practice both enabled members to respond to an integration and refugee discourse, while simultaneously positioning them within such frameworks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arts and Refugees: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Vol. 2))
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16 pages, 322 KiB  
Article
Between Estrangement at Home and Marginalization by the Host: Tracing Senses of Belonging through Music
by Chrysi Kyratsou
Arts 2023, 12(3), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts12030121 - 8 Jun 2023
Viewed by 4318
Abstract
This article discusses the twofold role of music as a means to manifest border-induced (cultural) difference and simultaneously foster alternative modes of belonging. The author draws on her ethnographic research, consisting of participant observation, desktop research, and interviews, and reflects on her auto-ethnographic [...] Read more.
This article discusses the twofold role of music as a means to manifest border-induced (cultural) difference and simultaneously foster alternative modes of belonging. The author draws on her ethnographic research, consisting of participant observation, desktop research, and interviews, and reflects on her auto-ethnographic recordings of engaging with refugee musicians. The discussion unfolds around vignettes that exemplify moments of musical encounters among refugees and between refugees and people from the host society. The vignettes are narrated from the refugee interlocutors’ point of view, who are engaged in the musicking instances as listeners and musicians. The article discusses how they devise music to cope with their estrangement from home and to articulate narratives of belonging. It illuminates how refugees challenge stereotyped representations of themselves, reinforcing the terms under which they can become “visible” and “audible.” Finally, the article argues that refugees’ narratives suggest understandings of reality as a continuum in ways that challenge the linear reifications produced by nation-state bordering practices and displacement-induced ruptures These understandings are embedded in music’s mobilities and their intersections with human movement, informal networks, and the cultural industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arts and Refugees: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Vol. 2))
21 pages, 3305 KiB  
Article
Violence, Exile, and Homeland in Visual Arts in the Slovenian Diaspora in Argentina
by Jaka Repič
Arts 2023, 12(3), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts12030093 - 5 May 2023
Viewed by 1458
Abstract
This article explores visual arts and literature in the Slovenian diasporic community in Argentina, founded by post-World-War-II refugees who fled Slovenia at the end of the war and the beginning of the communist revolution in Yugoslavia. Based on the ethnographic data collected among [...] Read more.
This article explores visual arts and literature in the Slovenian diasporic community in Argentina, founded by post-World-War-II refugees who fled Slovenia at the end of the war and the beginning of the communist revolution in Yugoslavia. Based on the ethnographic data collected among the Slovenes in Argentina and biographical interviews with selected Slovene artists, the article addresses how art and cultural production in the diaspora, imbued with social memories and themes of war, violence, mass executions in the post-war period, and exile from the homeland is encompassed in three levels of cultural policies: (a) an Argentinean framework of cultural pluralism that integrated migrant communities into the national identity and narrative, allowing them to preserve and express their ethnic and cultural backgrounds and identities; (b) a diasporic level that institutionalized specific themes important for diasporic ideologies, some explicitly related to violence, exile, and mass executions; and (c) a transnational level that facilitated the integration of artists from the diaspora into Slovenian and international “art worlds”. These cultural policies were often contradictory and required artists to shift between inclusion in the Argentinean art domain and the diasporic one, which favored partial social exclusivism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arts and Refugees: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Vol. 2))
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14 pages, 301 KiB  
Article
Playing in the Camps: Performative Practices in the Migrant Camps of Southern Italy
by Rosaria Ruffini
Arts 2023, 12(2), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts12020072 - 4 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1515
Abstract
The article addresses the role of performative practices in the informal camps and shantytowns in southern Italy, where many sub-Saharan migrants live. In these settlements, creation and performative expressions take various forms: an organic and unplanned one, which gives shape to multiple improvised [...] Read more.
The article addresses the role of performative practices in the informal camps and shantytowns in southern Italy, where many sub-Saharan migrants live. In these settlements, creation and performative expressions take various forms: an organic and unplanned one, which gives shape to multiple improvised languages; one supported, sustained, and often directed and managed by associations; and finally, one produced by non-migrant artists who see the camps as a challenging field of research to situate their works. These three forms (of/with/on) bring several critical issues concerning the role played by migrants, the dynamics of appropriation and agency, and the power relations with local associations, professional artists, and political activists, which intersect in complex ways. The article addresses these different artistic experiences, considering strategies of self-representation, artistic legitimacy, and authorship. Finally, it analyses how performative practices become a primary political tool for facing spatial segregation and racial discrimination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arts and Refugees: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Vol. 2))
13 pages, 255 KiB  
Article
Reframing Migrant Narratives through Arts Practice
by Elena Marchevska and Carolyn Defrin
Arts 2023, 12(2), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts12020058 - 17 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2266
Abstract
In this article, we reflect on our collaborative practice-as-research piece Project Finding Home, that arose from our experiences of working and living in the UK as ‘non-British’ citizens. Engaging with other refugee and migrant artists over three years, we worked deliberately as [...] Read more.
In this article, we reflect on our collaborative practice-as-research piece Project Finding Home, that arose from our experiences of working and living in the UK as ‘non-British’ citizens. Engaging with other refugee and migrant artists over three years, we worked deliberately as co-researchers and co-creators in a non-hierarchical dynamic to produce a series of four films reflecting on how we find home when it is so impacted by government policy, social and cultural integration, and intergenerational relationships. This article focuses on two of these films, one made with the participatory theatre company of Sanctuary, PSYCHEdelight, and one made with conceptual artist, Khaled Barakeh. Through observations of their work, we discuss how their respective uses of comedy (in PSYCHEdelight’s show Mohand and Peter) and visual representation (in Barakeh’s installation On the Ropes) resist singular views of migrant narratives. Additionally, we analyse our creative and ethical processes for making films with them about their work. Discussing how their aesthetics informed our processes for showcasing who they are and what they do as artists to a wider audience, we examine how artistic practice, its documentation, and its dissemination can question dominant aesthetic norms and existing migration and cultural policies in the UK and Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arts and Refugees: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Vol. 2))
15 pages, 290 KiB  
Article
Refugees’ Arriving through the Lens of Fiction: Unveiling the Ambivalences of Hegemonic Expectations
by Ana Mijić and Michael Parzer
Arts 2023, 12(2), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts12020055 - 14 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1565
Abstract
In this article, we use fiction as a lens to study processes of refugees’ arriving in Austria. For that purpose, we draw on findings from our transdisciplinary and participatory project “The Art of Arriving—Reframing ‘Refugee Integration’” in which we have created a real-world [...] Read more.
In this article, we use fiction as a lens to study processes of refugees’ arriving in Austria. For that purpose, we draw on findings from our transdisciplinary and participatory project “The Art of Arriving—Reframing ‘Refugee Integration’” in which we have created a real-world laboratory and examined if and how the meaning-making processes involved in creating and interpreting art can foster reframing “refugee integration” concepts and provide alternative views on the arrival of refugees beyond an assimilationist lens. By inviting and accompanying artists from different cultural realms (literature, music, and photography) and with different refugee experiences during the process of jointly creating an artwork as well as by getting access to the recipients’ interpretations of these artworks, we gained insights into the various ways that artistic practices unveil and contest common hegemonic expectations that shape the processes of refugees’ (and other migrants’) arriving. Our analysis of the short story “Außen vor” (“Being [left] out”) written by Hamed Abboud, Anna Baar, and Mascha Dabić—of its creation and reception process—contributes to the ongoing debates on how refugees’ artistic practices can serve as means of cultural and social transformation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arts and Refugees: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Vol. 2))
19 pages, 8104 KiB  
Article
Artistic Methodologies in Forced Migration: Using Body Mapping and Augmented Reality in Syrian Refugees’ Narratives
by Yafa Shanneik and Elisabeth Sobieczky
Arts 2023, 12(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts12020046 - 27 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3104
Abstract
Millions of refugees fleeing war and persecution in Syria have received significant attention in both the public sphere and academic research. This article examines body mapping and augmented reality (AR) as artistic methodological tools that allow refugees to articulate their experiences of forced [...] Read more.
Millions of refugees fleeing war and persecution in Syria have received significant attention in both the public sphere and academic research. This article examines body mapping and augmented reality (AR) as artistic methodological tools that allow refugees to articulate their experiences of forced migration. Body mapping enables the creation of life-sized images which trace the contours of the individual’s body on canvas allowing refugees to express their emotions creatively through their own participation. AR adds another layer to the body map as it animates the artwork and brings it to life. Through body mapping and AR, refugee women from Syria are able to co-create research outcomes and counter gender-biased narratives of vulnerability and victimhood often associated with female Muslim refugees. This project critically engages with the use of art as a sensorialized medium to generate knowledge and examines the impact it shows on viewers during exhibitions. Based on research conducted in the United Kingdom, Germany and Jordan since 2017, this article discusses the use of these new technologies as novel research methodologies in refugee and migration studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arts and Refugees: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Vol. 2))
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