Migration from the Perspective of Migrants
This photo exhibition of daily life in the refugee camp in Calais is the result of the research project Humans of Calais, which gives migrants a voice in order to understand their experiences from their own perspective. Residents of the Calais camp were given disposable cameras to record their daily lives in the camp. These visual snapshots, and the migrants’ narratives that accompany them, offer a unique insight into the ways in which migrants build their lives under difficult and makeshift circumstances, whilst also showing their ideas and dreams.
Researchers: Signe Sofie Hansen, Tara Flores, Ishita Singh and Layla Mohseni, MA Students from the Department of War Studies
This project is part of the Migration Research Group (MRG) which brings together students and staff in the Departments of War Studies and Geography with an interest in the study of migration. It is a student-led initiative, with coordination by Dr Leonie Ansems de Vries.
About The Migration Research Group (MRG)
The MRG was set up in the wake of what has been misnamed the ‘European refugee crisis’ and seeks to facilitatve collaborative research and publication with the aim of challenging prevailing ideas about the ‘crisis’ and developing different perspectives on the issue.
For instance, rather than starting with borders and seeing migration as a ‘problem’, we shift focus to the journeys of migrants, taking seriously their experiences and practices. From this perspective, the ‘crisis’ lies not in the movement of people but in the proliferation of borders, which prevents people from moving and from finding a space of safety in Europe. In addition, we seek to understand the effects of migration management practices on people on the moving. How do bordering practices such as finger-printing, detention, push-backs and the destruction of informal camps affect displaced people’s trajectories to and across Europe?
This also means questioning the depiction of migrants as security threats, passive victims or commodities. Instead, we are interested in the agency of migrants: what are their struggles, histories, skills, experiences and dreams? This focus on migrant practices and experiences implies a move away from the clear distinction between economic migrants and refugees. This is a political distinction that reinforces the idea that some people are victims in need of protection whilst others are not; that some our worth are attention and compassion whilst others are a threat.