Mediating 'unimaginable' suffering: Cosmopolitanism in participatory documentary filmmaking

Posted by fp74 at Apr 06, 2016 09:50 AM |
The Refugee Media Project and the Department of Media and Communication are pleased to present a Refugee Media Initiative Research Seminar.

This research seminar is FREE and open to all.

Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Media and Communication, Bankfield House, 132 New Walk, Leicester, LE1 7JA
Time: 4:00pm to 5:30pm Tuesday, 10 May

This paper examines an Italian online audio-visual archive Archivio delle memorie migranti that documents and archives experiences of contemporary migration in Italy. In addition to collecting testimonies the archive has produced documentary films that draw on participatory aesthetics. A documentary film Come un uomo sulla terra/Like a man on earth (2008) and interviews with filmmakers are analyzed using the notions of mediated witness and participatory aesthetics as analytical lenses. The paper examines how the filmmakers negotiate and re-balance the gaps in solidarity: the one between the vulnerable refugee subjects and the Western publics, and the one between the worlds of the refugees and the media professionals. The archive and the film are practices of solidarity through which the activists explore the ways in which ?unimaginable? suffering at European borders can be publicly mediated in an ethical way. Participatory approach therefore extends from production to post-production in a way that is sensitive to diasporic audiences. The moral founding of the archive is cosmopolitan: it treats eyewitness testimonies of suffering beyond national frameworks. In so doing, the archive recognizes transcultural nature of both witnessing and memory. The archive visions future Europe as a society where the descendants of both communities ? of those who sought refuge and of those that either prevented or welcomed refugees ? will live together.

Dr. Karina Horsti is Academy of Finland Research Fellow (2014 - 2019) at the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyv?skyl?, Finland and a visiting fellow at the Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science (2016). Karina?s research interests focus on qualitative and critical media studies in the contexts of migration, race/ethnicity, and humanitarian action. Her current research examines public remembering of forced migration and border related suffering in Europe. She directs a series of Nordic explorative workshops on ?Borderscapes, memory and migration: cultural representations of forced migration?, (Joint Committee of Nordic Research Councils, 2016-2017).

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