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The Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement


Coordinated by Study Group - Borders, Colonialism and Migration


Title: The illegalisation of movement across the Mediterranean –-‘fortress Europe’

Led by: Caroline Breeden, PhD candidate, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge,

Abstract: The illegalisation of movement across the Mediterranean towards what has come to be known as ‘fortress Europe’, must be placed within a continuum of anti-blackness and racism (Danewid 2017). Therefore, it is necessary that the framing of the ‘illegal migrant’ and subsequent ‘ungreivability’ of these lives (Butler 2010) is set within an entangled history of empire and colonialism. The aesthetic arena can provide powerful ways to highlight this relationship. In this context, this session provides a set of critical reflections on the ethics of visual representation and framing of contemporary migration. Using artworks and visual prompts to aid discussion, it will invite a conversation on the spectacle and aestheticization of suffering and atrocity, difficulties in navigating and linking the historical landscape of the trans-Atlantic slave trade to the contemporary moment of migration in the Mediterranean, the paradoxes inherent in representations often projected through the Western gaze (Wood 2000) and the extent to which a counter-discourse to dominant representations can be created in effective, politically moving ways.

Suggested reading (see attached too): 


Thursday, 15 February, 2024 - 16:30 to 18:00
Event location: