2nd CALL FOR PAPERS: Rights and plight: Cultural counter-narratives of the migrant and refugee experiences

31 March 2017

Conference organised by University of Westminster’s Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI), Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) and Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities

Date: 22-25 June 2017

22 June 2017 – Opening Keynote

23-24 June 2017 – Conference

24-25 June 2017 – Film Festival, Regent Street Cinema

Venue: University of Westminster, Regent Street Campus and Regent Street Cinema, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW


According to UNHCR, globally there are now more than 65 million forcibly displaced persons, including 21 million refugees, who have left their homes as a result of conflict, persecution, famine, and environmental disasters. Meanwhile, migrants have also courageously left their homes of origin behind to voluntarily pursue a better life often motivated by freedom, education, economic opportunities or to reunite with family.

While many are tackling the topical challenges of migration and refugees few, if any, are addressing it from a cultural narrative or cultural rights perspective. The “Rights and Plight” conference, organised by an interdisciplinary group of University of Westminster faculties representing media, art, design and social sciences, emphasises the need to amplify the voices and power of refugee and migrant narrativity while connecting dialogues and discussions to policies and inclusion/exclusion practices of host societies.

This conference offers a meaningful cross-cultural and interdisciplinary engagement with hitherto neglected refugee, migrant and exilic experiences presented through a film festival alongside theory, practice and policy discussions aimed at policymakers, academics and students, as well as to wider publics/citizens. It brings together international filmmakers, musicians, and artists who are involved in capturing and responding to individual stories of struggles and successes of individual migrants and refugees living and working in the UK, from the Georgian period to the present day, with policymakers, practitioners and academics working globally on migration and refugee issues.

“Rights and Plight” encourages discussion of the hidden opportunities and unspoken challenges faced by migrants and refugees. The objective is to unravel little known personal and positive stories of migrants in changing contexts and to detail their agency, including their vital contributions to reshaping cultural landscapes and artistic expression.

We welcome papers internationally from scholars, policymakers, artists, filmmakers and civil society group members that will engage critically with particular aspects of displacement and relocation, communication, media and art. Themes for individual papers and panel proposals may include, but are not limited to the following:

o    Cultural and human rights of migrants and refugees
o    Representative individual and collective refugee and migrant narratives through creative industries including newspapers, television, film, photography on radio and through the arts
o    Representations of refugees and migrants in mainstream media and artistic institutions
o    The role of Art in addressing trauma, bereavement and loss
o    Ethics, policy and the politics of exclusion
o    Doing/making art in the time of war
o    Rethinking cultural policy and cultural relations in the age of global crisis
o    Nationalism, populism and inclusion politics
o    Migrancy, connectivity and cultural production
o    The political economy of othering
o    Refugees, migrants and social media: empowerment and denigration
o    Secularization and securitization of refugee movements
o    Border sorting technologies as techniques of exclusionary control
o    Migrant/refugee experiences using a gender lens



This University of Westminster three-day conference from 22-25 June 2017, will consist of keynotes, an industry panel, parallel panels, plenaries, workshops and a concurrent film festival held at Regent Street Cinema. The fee for registration for all participants, including presenters, will be £40, with a concessionary rate of £20 for students, to cover conference documentation, refreshments and administration costs. Registration will open in April 2017.



The deadline for abstracts and panel proposals is Sunday 9 April 2017. Successful applicants will be notified by Friday 14 April 2017. Abstracts should be 200-words. They must include the presenter’s name, affiliation, and email and postal addresses, together with the title of the paper and a 150-word biographical note on the presenter. Please send all these items together in a single Word file, not as pdf, and entitle the file and message with ‘CRP 2017’ followed by your surname. The file should be sent by email to a.fullman1@westminster.ac.uk.



Participants are responsible to fund their own travel and accommodation expenses.



Selected conference papers will be eligible for a future special edition volume to be published by University of Westminster press.



For more information about the conference or submissions, please contact Aimee Fullman at a.fullman1@westminster.ac.uk.


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