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For Refugee Week 2023, two SIM Project workshops will be held at the London Design Biennale on Friday 23 June.

In a process which combines mapping activities, jewellery making and photography, workshop participants will make their own wearable artwork and explore the ways that smartphone SIM cards give us a portable sense of belonging.

This is also an opportunity to inform the design of a participatory research project about safe and legal pathways for forcibly displaced students and academics. We would greatly value your input on how best to develop the research in a collaborative and inclusive way.

The workshop will be led by artist and anthropologist Liz Hingley and Leonie Ansems de Vries (Reader in International Politics and Chair of the Migration Research Group at King’s College London) with the support of Frank Manger (Centre for Print Research, University of West England) .

The 2 hour workshops will take place at Somerset House on 23 June and will be run at the below times:

Session 1: 11:30-13:30

Session 2: 15:00-17:00


Please note, workshop places are limited. 



The SIM Project

The smartphone SIM card is a universal tool and symbol of connection. The SIM Project uses this minute object of communication as a platform to shape new ways of sharing, valuing and archiving stories of migration. It is inspired by and continues to evolve through conversation and craft with refugees and others affected by displacement.

To date artworks have been created with over 170 participants from countries including Afghanistan, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela, Hong Kong, Senegal and Libya at workshops held in the UK, Greece, Finland, Cyprus and Italy. The SIM artworks tell stories and ask questions about notions of home, identity and how people relate to each other through digital devices.

The SIM Project was developed as part of King’s Artists, a programme by King’s Culture supporting creative collaborative enquiry, new thinking and creative outputs by bringing together artists and King’s researchers.

Zeena Feldman (Department of Digital Humanities) and Liz Hingley developed the project using their shared research around digital culture and belonging, in partnership with jewellery designer Sofie Boons and Frank Menger of the Centre for Print Research, University of the West of England.

The SIM Project was also at Testing Ground, an exhibition at Science Gallery London.

Read more about the collaboration and King’s Artists here.

The broader research project

This workshop will feed into a larger, collaborative and co-creative research project that aims to explore and develop safe and legal pathways to the UK for displaced students and academics from across the globe.

Due to the restrictive nature of the EU and UK border regimes, many people who are forcibly displaced do not have the documents required to formally cross these borders. This pushes people towards more lengthy, costly and dangerous irregular routes. Legal pathways are safe and legal routes for people seeing sanctuary to travel without having to use fake documents, risk their lives or rely on smugglers. University sponsorship is one such pathway that would offer displaced students and academics a safe and legal route to the UK as well as the opportunity to study and/or conduct research at a UK university.

The workshop will help us understand how we can create and use arts-based, collaborative methods to conduct the research, making sure that the people most impacted by the issue of forced displacement play a key part.

At this event

Zeena Feldman

Senior Lecturer in Digital Culture

Event details