The Migrant Institute: Performing (non)belonging and post-Brexit imaginaries

With increasingly polarised narratives of migration – positioning migrants in opposing roles of victims or national security threats – how can we foster better narratives in order to shape better policies? This project focuses on the work of migrant artists in Bristol and the South West to explore new forms of migrant representation.

Feelings of belonging are a vital aspect of wellbeing, generating emotional, social and cultural connectedness, while displacement – a state considerably heightened in the process of migration – can severely disrupt such feelings. Belonging plays a key role in defining identity and self-representation. With migrants under increasing scrutiny in the UK, how can migrant artists remain empowered in performing and presenting their own narratives?

By bringing together first-generation migrant theatre makers and scholars, working in a range of disciplines, The Migrant Institute Project aims to explore how experiences of migration across the UK are shaping new forms of self-representation and performance practice. The team will particularly focus on the theme of (non)belonging in this context, examining identity and memory in performance. The project will create spaces to map, debate and share new perspectives on these issues.

What is being created?

The team will pursue two main activities in their research:

  1. Investigating the context in which migrant artists operate in Bristol and the South West.
  2. An event in Bristol featuring a workshop and roundtable discussions that will enable migrant artists and scholars to meet and exchange ideas on artistic methodologies that deal with migration in the shifting UK climate.

Who are the team and what do they bring?

What's next?

By developing understanding of the research context and fostering partnerships with artists and scholars, this research will serve as the basis for future funding bids.