This training school enables participants to understand the relation between media, migration and governance, through frames of creative knowledge practices and artistic research. Participants will be undertaking public study of migration, media and ecology through theoretical, historical and empirical analyses, along fieldwork visits, artistic and practice-led research, and the production of (counter-)histories and (counter-)narratives.

The program will take place June10-11th, 2020, and is co-organised by the Global Emergent Media (GEM) Lab (Concordia University), Critical Media Lab (Fachhochschule Basel), and the University of Malta, in partnership with MUZA and Spazju Kreattiv within the framework of the COST Action “European Forum for Advanced Practices” (CA18136), by Working Group 1 (Special Interest Group for Contexts) and Working Group 4 (Implementation). Participants will interact with and learn from scholars and practitioners in the fields of art, activism, design, policy, media and critical social theory, and develop collaborative research and creation projects related to political-ecological migratory dynamics.

The program addresses migration through media, aesthetic, cultural, ecological, and practice-led research and methods. It is organized around three interrelated axes:

1. Media

2. Migration

3. Governance

At present, the political, ecological and ideological significance of migration far exceeds the magnitude of migration as an empirical phenomenon. While international migrants number between 200 and 300 million, and internal migrants perhaps another 800 million, this process radically marks all facets of society, culture and natural worlds. At the crux of contemporary discussions of the future of globalization, the migration of peoples, materials and labour have become key to our geopolitical imaginaries, realities, collective identities and survivabilities. At the same time, the dominant models for representing these migratory patterns are deeply embedded in the legacies of colonialism, neo-imperialism, and neoliberal dynamics of global racialized capitalism.

Understanding shifting territories, critical inquiries and altering tools for representation is, therefore, a necessary step towards a multilayered reading of specific forced migration processes. The primary objective of this Summer School, then, is to develop new models for the collaborative and comparative study and creation of counter-narratives and counter-histories to the impressions given and public imaginaries composed by contemporary media regimes, and the infrastructures constitutive of these regimes.

Learning Communities

Media forms and practices do not merely reflect but constitute aspects of global material processes – popular media, from news to movies to memes, are often directly responsible for shaping public expectations and the reception of migration and ecology; an array of sensing, tracking and portable digital media devices are used by people crossing borders, to monitor the environmental and economic circumstances that impel them, and by those controlling and managing these flows; governmental agencies rely on media as both means of informing and training, and also tools for management, logistics and the maintenance of social license.This study programme collaborates with local communities as ‘co-inquirers’, engaging with local institutional and public resources to locally situate the programme and the knowledges and practices arising from our time together(e.g.: Fieldwork tours, lectures from local experts / community leaders who are involved with relevant issues.).

Learning Resources and Outcomes

A collectively compiled a ‘reader’ will be shared with the participants before our shared time in Malta in June. This reader will frame references and projects relevant to the topics of “migration,” “media,” and “ecology.” Participants will also collaboratively produce a collection of ‘open syllabi,’ amongst other outcomes, focused on the idea of experimental and expansive critical migration studies, as an intersection with media and environmental studies.

Learning Outcomes

1. Engage the multi-disciplinary field of migration studies and consider what aesthetic, cultural, and media approaches can contribute current understandings (and vice versa).

2. Develop collaborative counter-narrative projects through workshops, policy and activist research, curation, screenings and artistic and media-making projects.

3. Develop new directions for media-specific study of migration, including questions of representation, environmental concerns, infrastructures, circulatory networks, logistics, and related issues.

4. Understand differences and similarities as well as the complexities of research, in particular also artistic research and advanced practices.

5. Develop competencies in using quality criteria for research, and in particular artistic research and evaluate the research of others (practice-led, literature, peer review, etc.).