Refugees Welcome?: Ethics and Politics of the Performing Arts for Refugees
2017 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Only a year ago images of thousands of people wandering through Europe along railway tracks and roads were relayed to the world. The stream of refugees has now slowed, and Europe may have temporarily “solved” its refugee problem by closing borders, building walls, rigging barbed wire fences, and making dubious political agreements. But the war in Syria has not taken a break. According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 3,000 people were drowned crossing the Mediterranean during the first six months of 2016. At the same time “migrant” has been misappropriated and used as an umbrella term to reduce millions of people to a word filled with negative connotations, rather than making us face the reality that these are desperate human beings fleeing for their lives.
This paper discusses ways in which European cultural institutions have addressed and welcomed newcomers. It is assumed that performing arts practices in the public space may be examined and discussed both ethically and politically. How are performing artists and institutions handling the current refugee crisis? Are models for engagement emerging from this crisis and opening up new ways between performance and political action? As the asylum process is long and time consuming, artistic and cultural activities may play an important part in the first stages of the integration process. The performing arts can be a means of outreach and connection that is not weighed down by the bureaucracy of the asylum process. The performing arts and community-based art practices link creativity and artistic engagement in a way that is pedagogically powerful and makes newcomers feel welcome. Not all performing art forms are dependent on language. They can communicate in other ways that may help those arriving in a strange land to articulate their trauma and sense the promise that awaits them in their new home.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Performance, racism, refugees, solidarity
Performing Art Studies
Research subject Theatre Studies
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-141597OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-141597DiVA: diva2:1087608
Performing Studies International Annual Conference, Hamburg, June 8–11, 2017